Java – Mac OS X and multiple Java versions

homebrew-caskjavajenvmacosmultiple versions

How can I install an additional java on MacOS? I installed jdk8 and that works fine. But now I need a jdk7 installation for development purposes. When trying to install the old version via DMG file, i get a warning, that there is already a newer version of java installed and the installer quits.

    /usr/libexec/java_home -verbose
    Matching Java Virtual Machines (1):
        1.8.0_20, x86_64:   "Java SE 8" /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.8.0_20.jdk/Contents/Home

       /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.8.0_20.jdk/Contents/Home

How to install jdk7 in addition to this one?

Best Answer

The cleanest way to manage multiple java versions on Mac is to use Homebrew.

And within Homebrew, use:

  • homebrew-cask to install the versions of java
  • jenv to manage the installed versions of java

As seen on http://hanxue-it.blogspot.ch/2014/05/installing-java-8-managing-multiple.html , these are the steps to follow.

  1. install homebrew
  2. install homebrew jenv
  3. install homebrew-cask
  4. install a specific java version using cask (see "homebrew-cask versions" paragraph below)
  5. add this version for jenv to manage it
  6. check the version is correctly managed by jenv
  7. repeat steps 4 to 6 for each version of java you need

homebrew-cask versions

Add the homebrew/cask-versions tap to homebrew using:

brew tap homebrew/cask-versions

Then you can look at all the versions available:

brew search java

Then you can install the version(s) you like:

brew cask install java7
brew cask install java6

And add them to be managed by jenv as usual.

jenv add <javaVersionPathHere>

I think this is the cleanest & simplest way to go about it.


Another important thing to note, as mentioned in Mac OS X 10.6.7 Java Path Current JDK confusing :

For different types of JDKs or installations, you will have different paths

You can check the paths of the versions installed using /usr/libexec/java_home -V, see How do I check if the Java JDK is installed on Mac?

On Mac OS X Mavericks, I found as following:

1) Built-in JRE default: /Library/Internet\ Plug-Ins/JavaAppletPlugin.plugin/Contents/Home

2) JDKs downloaded from Apple: /System/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/1.6.0.jdk/Contents/Home/

3) JDKs downloaded from Oracle: /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.8.0_11.jdk/Contents/Home


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