How to Install Java in OS X El Capitan

Oct 17, 2015 - 43 Comments

Get Java in OS X El Capitan

Some Mac users require installing Java in OS X El Capitan, perhaps for compatibility with a particular web site or application, or because they’re a java developer. But Apple has becoming increasingly strict with Java, and by default it is no longer installed with a OS X 10.11 clean install, and you’ll find that after updating a Mac a prior version of JRE or JDK may no longer function.

Additionally, when trying to use some particular applications or web content, you may come across a “This application requires the legacy Java SE 6 runtime which is unavailable for this version of OS X.” error message, which means if you want to run that app you’re going to need to use an older version of Java.

Whatever the case, if you need Java JRE or Java JDK in OS X 10.11 or later, here’s how you can install it.

To be clear, if you do not need Java, you should not install Java. And if you’re not sure whether you need Java or not, that means you probably do not need Java at all, and you can also avoid installing java.

Mac users may need to disable rootless SIP protection in OS X before being able to successfully install Java, but you can enable it again after it has been installed. If you get stuck on “verifying…” during the installation process of Java, it’s because of rootless.

Install Java SE 6 in OS X El Capitan from Apple

You can install legacy versions of Java in OS X El Capitan by using the Java for OS X 2015-001 installer, which includes Java 6. To be clear, Java 6 is a version from 2013, it is outdated and no longer supported by Oracle, it has various known security holes, and is therefore inappropriate for most Mac users to install without a compelling reason. So, unless you have a need for Java 6 specifically, you’d likely want to get a newer version, or if you don’t need Java at all, just don’t install it.

That will download an installer that you can use for OS X El Capitan (and Yosemite and Mavericks for that matter).

If you run into errors on installation, it’s because you skimmed through the introduction and did not disable SIP / rootless on the Mac. Do that first and Java will install just fine.

Install Java 8 in OS X EL Capitan from Oracle

The other option is to get the most recently available version of Java from Oracle. You can start this in one of two ways:

Install java in OS X El Capitan

Again, you will likely need to disable SIP protection on the Mac before being allowed to complete the installation.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Broumbroum says:

    Whilest the 17th version of JDK gave error on MacOS El Capitan when running java -version
    Error: dl failure on line 560
    Error: failed /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk-17.jdk/Contents/Home/lib/server/libjvm.dylib, because dlopen(/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk-17.jdk/Contents/Home/lib/server/libjvm.dylib, 10): Symbol not found: _clock_gettime
    Referenced from: /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk-17.jdk/Contents/Home/lib/server/libjvm.dylib (which was built for Mac OS X 10.12)
    Expected in: /usr/lib/libSystem.B.dylib
    in /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk-17.jdk/Contents/Home/lib/server/libjvm.dylib

    El Capitan’s older but can support older archived release of Java

    The version 11 of OpenJDK works well on 10.11

  2. Jerry says:

    oracle page isn’t work. :-(
    So,please give me java installer file, if you have.
    Thank you :-)

  3. imacconvert says:

    Spare time for s new boy.

    Had an update msg to update 8 91 to 8 101 on the iMac and it D/L’s the file. After opening the file detect Third party offer and net next. The Oracle window with 3 Billion users opens, removes existing bar ends and the box disappears and nothing more happens.
    Tried D/L from oracle site, same file, same result.
    Might be due to new iMac, new Apple update, TBH unsure.
    There is something stopping it following through.

    If I disable SIP and go ahead with Java instal and update etc. Might it work? Is it a case of enabling again?
    Any further updates and follow the same process?
    Spent hours researching and unable to see a reason for this. New iMac, OSX updated a week ago.
    I seem to feel this may not be the way forward on getting Java, so asking for help … please.
    A lot to learn.

    • imacconvert says:

      An update on my post-post.
      Called Apple support, no help or idea.
      Contact Chat Apple support, same, suggested uninstall.
      I did and still no good.
      Continued to read and research continually trying to update to 8-101.
      Followed the disable of SIP and tried again. Same.

      Decided to try and go for the JDK 8-102 dmg and while in disable mode unpacked and it installed without any issue.
      Checked and installation is confirmed.

      Will now enable the SIP, but TBH unsure if that helped with the JDK or not. One thing is sure, I could not upgrade JRE 8-101 anyway at all.

  4. stickybeats says:

    Hot damn! I’ve been tackling this issue for an app that mysteriously wouldn’t run and I didn’t realize that “upgrading” my OS to El Cap would cause Java not to run or even appear to be installed. After following the info posted here I was able to successfully install the Java SDK and my app runs once again. Thank you very much for the info, it was a huge help.

  5. Eve says:

    It worked. Thanks!!!

  6. Mr Coffee says:

    After I upgraded to El Capitan, I ignorantly followed the prompt to install or update Java (I don’t remember which) and now I get this popup every few hours:

    To use the “java” command-line tool you need to install a JDK. Click “More Info…” to visit the Java Developer Kit download website. More Info…/OK.

    And when I click on More Info, it tells me Chrome doesn’t support the Java plug-in. How do I make the popup stop?

  7. vikas027 says:

    The question is if one really needs Java. If yes, identify which version do you need. For me I had just one application which required Java 6 so the link on this page just made by day without any restarts and disabling rootless SIP.

  8. Rob Lewis says:

    A few things I’ve discovered:
    The Runtime Edition (for running Java applets on web pages, for example), apparently needs to be installed in /Library/Internet Plug-ins. On my El Capitan system, it’s called “JavaAppletPlugin.plugin” and it’s 178MB.

    The Java Development Kit, needed for developing Java applications, goes in /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines.

    It’s unfortunate that Apple requires this “dual installation”. Still, I don’t quite understand the whole anti-Java jihad. Sure, it has some problems with security. Show me a major software system that doesn’t. Java remains by most accounts the most-used language for business applications, and it seems to me to be an admirably complete environment that does its best to keep you from shooting yourself in the foot. By contrast, the C++ I’ve lately been studying seems rather old-fashioned in some ways.

  9. Homer Simpson says:

    This article doesn’t describe *which* of the Java selections on Oracle’s download page you need to choose.

    Choose the JDK, the first one you’re presented with. Choosing the JRE (which _should_ be adequate, but isn’t) won’t work.

    So you’re running Java, huh? God help you.

  10. Mr Half Dome says:

    I installed java but my computer keeps asking me stating “to use the java command-line tool you need to install a JDK” : any thoughts about what this is all about ? Many thanks

  11. Patrick M. says:

    If a website or application is requiring you to install Java, reach out to the owner/administrator of said website or application, and ask them to fix it. Nobody should ever need to install Java, the risks far outweigh the benefits.

    • Pit says:

      > Nobody should ever need to install Java,
      > the risks far outweigh the benefits.

      That’s a bit harsh. I’m sure you don’t know what you are taking about. Java is neither less nor more secure than other programming languages (in some ways it is still even way more secure than Obj-C or Swift).

      If you refer to the Java Browser plugin: yes, this one should not be installed (or disabled) if possible. The same is true for any other browser plugin (i. e. flash, silverlight, ..).

      There are still mayor applications build with Java. It’s better to have a single, system wide, regularly updated Java than to force developers to package their own JRE with the application and which then gets outdated and insecure over time.

    • Harry says:

      That is hilarious. Please keep your advice to yourself until you have a clue. The vast majority of webapps today are built on Java. Only a script kiddie would say somethng as stupid as that.

      • Orangutangle says:

        “The vast majority of webapps today are built on Java”

        No. Most modern webapps (Gmail, Facebook etc.) are built in Javascript, not Java. The two languages are completely unrelated.

  12. exacerbater says:

    I installed Java 6 for my son, so that he can run Minecraft. Is there a way to restrict it to being used by Minecraft and not by Safari?

  13. FM says:

    I have updated to El Capitain, and then downloaded Java (it asked me to do so, and I didn’t think too much about it). Now it gets regularly stuck, I can’t turn off my mac in a regular way, and it keeps on popping up on my dock. Uninstalling does not seem to work, neither does updating / downgrading it. “Geniuses” do no have any answer for this, and I can’t find a good fix online. Suggestions?

  14. thomas says:

    How is it you write an article on how to install java (you get it from oracle, just as we always have) but make no mention/warning of the adware they may try to install?

  15. billybobby says:

    New OS releases are NEVER ready for primetime. Nobody should EVER load a new OS release before a couple updates or a year has gone by.

    Of course, I’ve always updated my OS same day and had no significant issues.


  16. Ashraf says:

    On my freshly installed El Capitan, I installed latest version of jdk (from Oracle) this evening without any problem. Not really sure what this article about!!

  17. Bobby Herbeck says:

    My two cents on this and a host of other apps that don’t work
    with El Capitan … is DO NOT SWITCH OVER TO CAPITAN.
    It is not ready for prime time. I have been dealing with a tech at Apple for two weeks to just get my email to work. Guess what. The Mac engineer’s do not have a fix for this yet. What is Tim Cook doing on his watch? No pun intended. Jobs would never have let this horse out of the barn until it was ready to run properly. Save your time and energy.

    • LOL Some Guy says:

      Thanks for the instructions on how to install Java, I will stay on topic and appreciate this advice for Mac OS X!

  18. James Katt says:

    Note that some prominent Apps such as Apple’s FileMaker Pro need Java installed. So you simply can’t say it isn’t necessary.

  19. James Katt says:

    The problem is that once you turn SIP back on you cannot update JAVA. So JAVA updates are going to be more awkward to do. That is the price of having more security. It is worth it. The average Mac User won’t be able to compromise their Mac. This makes Macs even more secure.

  20. cashxx says:

    Sadly, Adobe CS6 is another reason you would need Java 6 installed!

  21. Burque photophile says:

    The Oracle website gives instructions that I used in Yosemite:

    • coffee says:

      Uninstalling Java is not installing Java.

      If you don’t need Java, and most don’t, don’t install it in the first place.

  22. Graig says:

    Can someone provide instructions on the correct way to uninstall Java from a prior OS X such as Mavericks or Yosemite before upgrading to El Capitan?

  23. InTheory says:

    How dangerous is it to leave SIP disabled?

    • Serge says:


      If you’re really cautious and never got any malware before El Capitan, you can leave SIP disabled. But do it if you absolutely need to. Like, for instance, if some of your applications (Default Folder, XtraFinder, etc.) do not work with SIP enabled. Otherwise, it’s better to leave it enabled.

    • jamie damin says:

      It’s not too big of a deal to leave SIP disabled if you’re somewhat cautious about what you install, Remember SIP wasn’t around before OS X El Capitan so it basically means you’ll have the same security level of prior releases of Mac OS.

      • Serge says:

        @jamie damin

        Yes and no. When Mac OS X was first launched in 2001, you could sleep quietly knowing that nothing could harm your Mac. As OS X grown more and more popular, it slowly became a target for malwares. OS X is still a solid UNIX based system, but the potential dangers shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you can take benefit of an additional protection, why not doing it ?

    • thomas says:

      about as dangerous as running yosemite

  24. The Skeptic says:

    @49ers Unfortunately some government agencies (e.g Australian Tax Office) require Java to be installed in order to perform identity verification.

    Ironically, this means that they require you to install an insecure tool, in order to perform secure identity verification.

  25. 49ers says:

    Most of the time you don’t need Java, if you don’t need Java, don’t install Java. Kind of like Flash.

    • Barbara Bushell says:

      I don’t need Java and I don’t want to install it, but every few minutes I get a pop up reminding me to install JDK. How can I get rid of that?? I’ve tried all of the tips online. I do not have “Java” in my preferences, so I can’t disable the old version and I don’t want to keep getting pop ups.

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