How to Install Java on Mac

July 21, 2022


Java is an object-oriented programming language that takes a platform-independent approach to application development by using virtual machines. Java apps are compiled to run on Java Virtual Machines (JVM) regardless of the underlying OS.

Java-based apps and applets are created using a software development environment (SDE) known as the Java Development Kit (JDK). The JDK comes with the Standard Edition of the Java API and a collection of components for running Java applications called the Java Runtime Environment (JRE).

This article shows you how to install the Java Development Kit (JDK) and the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) on macOS.

How to install Java on macOS.


  • A system running macOS 10.7.3 and above.
  • Administrative access to the system.

Install Java on Mac

Multiple Java Development Kit builds are available for download and installation. Oracle maintains the original, closed source Oracle JDK, but the company also helps develop the open source version of the environment called OpenJDK.

The differences between Oracle JDK and OpenJDK are primarily in licensing, and this tutorial shows you how to install both versions on macOS.

Note: Since OpenJDK is open source, multiple developers produce versions of this SDE, including Microsoft, Azul, Red Hat, etc.

Option 1: Install Oracle JDK

Oracle JDK is available for download on Oracle's website. Follow the steps below to download and install it on Mac.

1. Browse to Oracle's Java Downloads page.

2. Select the macOS tab and download the DMG installer for your processor architecture.

  • If you have an M1 or M2 Mac, choose the Arm 64 installer.
  • Intel-based Mac owners should choose the x64 installer.
Choosing a JDK installer that corresponds to a specific processor architecture.

3. Open the downloaded DMG file and run the PKG file inside.

Running a PKG file containing a JDK installer.

4. Select Continue on the installer's introductory screen.

The introductory screen of the JDK installer.

5. Select Install in the window that appears.

Starting the JDK installation process.

6. Provide your administrative credentials to start the JDK installation.

7. Wait for the installer to finish copying the files, then select Close.

Finishing the JDK installation and closing the installer.

8. Confirm JDK was installed successfully by running java -version in the terminal:

java -version
The java version command shows that the JDK was installed successfully.

Option 2: Install OpenJDK

The alternative option is to install OpenJDK with Homebrew. OpenJDK is open-source, production-ready, and offers the same features as Oracle's commercial implementation.

Install OpenJDK with Homebrew by following the steps below:

1. Update the Homebrew formulae by typing:

brew update

2. Use the following command to install OpenJDK:

brew install openjdk@[version]

For [version], specify the version you wish to install. For example, to install OpenJDK 18, type:

brew install openjdk@18
Installing OpenJDK with Homebrew.

Option 3: Install JRE on Mac

The Java Runtime Environment (JRE) is a part of the JDK installation. If you only want install JRE without the entire development kit, follow the steps below:

1. Browse to the Java website.

2. Click the Download Java button.

The Download Java button location on Java's main page.

3. On the next page, click the Download Java button and wait for the DMG installer to download.

Location of the Download Java button for starting the installer download.

4. Open the DMG file and double-click the file inside.

Running a PKG file containing a JRE installer.

5. Select Install and authenticate to start the installation process.

The introductory dialogue of the JRE installer and the location of the Install button.

6. Select Close to finish the installation.

Finishing the JRE installation and exiting the installer.

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How to Set Java Path on Mac

The Homebrew installation of OpenJDK requires exporting the JAVA_HOME variable and adding the Java installation to the path.

1. To permanently export the JAVA_HOME variable, add it to the .zshenv file by typing:

echo "export JAVA_HOME=/opt/homebrew/opt/openjdk" >> ~/.zshenv

2. To permanently add the Java installation to the PATH variable, run:

echo "export PATH="/opt/homebrew/opt/openjdk/bin:$PATH"" >> ~/.zshenv

3. Use the source command to apply the changes to the current session.

source ~/.zshenv

4. Confirm the success of the operation by checking the Java version:

java -version
The output of the java version command showing the successful export of the OpenJDK path variables.

Note: For further information, follow our guide on how to set environment variables in macOS.

How to Uninstall Java on Mac

To uninstall Oracle JDK, follow the steps below:

1. In a terminal window, navigate to the JavaVirtualMachines directory:

cd /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines

2. List the contents of the directory:


The directory contains JDK installations. The example below shows a system with JDK 18.0.2 installed.

Contents of the JavaVirtualMachines directory on Mac.

3. Delete an installation by typing its version number. For example, to uninstall JDK 18.0.2, type:

sudo rm -rf jdk-18.0.2.jdk

Note: If you installed OpenJDK using Homebrew, you can uninstall it with the following command:

brew uninstall openjdk@[version-number]


This tutorial provided installation instructions for installing the Java Development Kit and Java Runtime Environment on macOS. If you are interested in Java development, check out our pick of the best Java IDEs.

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Marko Aleksic
Marko Aleksić is a Technical Writer at phoenixNAP. His innate curiosity regarding all things IT, combined with over a decade long background in writing, teaching and working in IT-related fields, led him to technical writing, where he has an opportunity to employ his skills and make technology less daunting to everyone.
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