How to install Java on Mac OS

This article shows you how to install Java on Mac OSX, and also how to do Java/JDK version switching.

Tested with

  • Mac OS 10.15.3
  • JDK 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 (AdoptOpenJDK)

On Mac OSX, Java should installed in this folder; it is Mac’s standard.


We will show you two ways to install Java JDK on Mac, via the popular Homebrew package manager and manually installation.

1. Homebrew

1.1 Install Homebrew and update it.

$ brew update

1.2 Add adoptopenjdk/openjdk.

$ brew tap adoptopenjdk/openjdk

1.3 Find all available JDK.

$ brew search jdk

The output may vary.

==> Casks
adoptopenjdk                             adoptopenjdk12                           adoptopenjdk13-openj9                    adoptopenjdk8-openj9-jre
adoptopenjdk10                           adoptopenjdk12-jre                       adoptopenjdk13-openj9-jre                adoptopenjdk8-openj9-jre-large
adoptopenjdk11                           adoptopenjdk12-openj9                    adoptopenjdk13-openj9-jre-large          adoptopenjdk8-openj9-large
adoptopenjdk11-jre                       adoptopenjdk12-openj9-jre                adoptopenjdk13-openj9-large              adoptopenjdk9
adoptopenjdk11-openj9                    adoptopenjdk12-openj9-jre-large          adoptopenjdk8                         oracle-jdk
adoptopenjdk11-openj9-jre                adoptopenjdk12-openj9-large              adoptopenjdk8                          oracle-jdk-javadoc
adoptopenjdk11-openj9-jre-large          adoptopenjdk13                           adoptopenjdk8-jre                        sapmachine-jdk
adoptopenjdk11-openj9-large              adoptopenjdk13-jre                       adoptopenjdk8-openj9

1.4 Java 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, choose one to install.

brew cask install adoptopenjdk8
brew cask install adoptopenjdk9
brew cask install adoptopenjdk10
brew cask install adoptopenjdk11
brew cask install adoptopenjdk12
brew cask install adoptopenjdk13

This example will install Java 8 and 11 for testing.

$ brew cask install adoptopenjdk8
$ brew cask install adoptopenjdk11

1.5 Where Java is installed? /usr/libexec/java_home -V

$ /usr/libexec/java_home -V

Matching Java Virtual Machines (2):
    11.0.6, x86_64:	"AdoptOpenJDK 11"	/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/adoptopenjdk-11.jdk/Contents/Home
    1.8.0_242, x86_64:	"AdoptOpenJDK 8"	/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/adoptopenjdk-8.jdk/Contents/Home

Homebrew will install the JDK at folder /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/, and this folder is Mac’s standard folder for Java installs.

1.6 Test it, by default, Mac takes the highest version.

$ java -version

openjdk version "11.0.6" 2020-01-14
OpenJDK Runtime Environment AdoptOpenJDK (build 11.0.6+10)
OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM AdoptOpenJDK (build 11.0.6+10, mixed mode)

1.7 How to do version switching? Refer to below 3. version switching

2. Manual installation

The example shows you how to download the early access JDK 14 and install it on Mac OSX.


  • Download JDK.
  • Puts the JDK folder at /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines.
  • Export JAVA_HOME.

2.1 Download the early access JDK 14 from the OpenJDK website.

2.2 Extracts tar file to /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines

$ cd /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines

$ sudo cp ~/Downloads/openjdk-14_osx-x64_bin.tar.gz /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines

$ pwd

$ sudo tar xzf openjdk-14_osx-x64_bin.tar.gz

$ sudo rm openjdk-14_osx-x64_bin.tar.gz

2.3 Export JAVA_HOME.

Find out where is JDK 14.

$ /usr/libexec/java_home -v14


Create or edit the existing ~/.bash_profile with a text editor.

$ vim ~/.bash_profile

Export JAVA_HOME, save and exit.


export JAVA_HOME=/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk-14.jdk/Contents/Home

Reflect the changes

$ source ~/.bash_profile

2.4 Test it.

$ java -version

openjdk version "14" 2020-03-17
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (build 14+36-1461)
OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM (build 14+36-1461, mixed mode, sharing)

$ echo $JAVA_HOME

3. Version Switching

In this tutorial, we installed the Java 8 and Java 11 via Homebrew (Step 1), and Java 14 manually (Step 2), so this Mac has three versions now. And the Mac is using the JDK 14.

$ /usr/libexec/java_home -V
Matching Java Virtual Machines (3):
    14, x86_64:	"OpenJDK 14"	/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk-14.jdk/Contents/Home
    11.0.6, x86_64:	"AdoptOpenJDK 11"	/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/adoptopenjdk-11.jdk/Contents/Home
    1.8.0_242, x86_64:	"AdoptOpenJDK 8"	/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/adoptopenjdk-8.jdk/Contents/Home


There are tools like jEnv to manage the Java version switching, but I prefer to manage with export JAVA_HOME manually, it’s simple and easy to understand, no black box magic.

3.1 Create or edit the existing ~/.bash_profile with a text editor like vim or nano, export JAVA_HOME to the specified JDK we want to use on Mac.

$ vim ~/.bash_profile

export JAVA_HOME_8=$(/usr/libexec/java_home -v1.8)
export JAVA_HOME_11=$(/usr/libexec/java_home -v11)
export JAVA_HOME_14=$(/usr/libexec/java_home -v14)

# Java 8

# Java 11
# export JAVA_HOME=$JAVA_HOME_11

The above changes will make JAVA_HOME point to JAVA 8.

3.2 Reflect the changes.

$ source ~/.bash_profile

$ java -version

openjdk version "1.8.0_242"
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (AdoptOpenJDK)(build 1.8.0_242-b08)
OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM (AdoptOpenJDK)(build 25.242-b08, mixed mode)


If we want to switch JDK version again, update the ~/.bash_profile and export JAVA_HOME to other JDK version.


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newest oldest most voted

I guess the best method for a Linux/MacOS machine to install Java + other goodies and to switch to different versions, is to use sdkman (


I fully support! Entering this article, I expected to see it sdkman!

Arpan Chakraborty
Arpan Chakraborty

How do i switch from openjdk version “11.0.2” to openjdk version “11.0.7”


Very useful
If you have problems with brew because AdoptOpenJDKXX is present in both casks, use
“brew cask install adoptopenjdk/openjdk/adoptopenjdkXX”