Change Java version on Mac OS


I’m currently working with JDK 6, 7 and 8 on my MacBook and it’s really a pain to switch between this Java version by shell. Because of that I created a tool that can do all the work for you:


The tool shows all Java version that are currently installed on your system and you can switch between them just by a mouse click. The new version will work in any new shell and for every application that is started after switching the version. If you switch to JDK 8 and start Eclipse after that, the IDE will use JDK 8 as default JDK. If you need JDK 7 you have to restart Eclipse after switching the version. To set a new version the root password is needed because the tool will edit your “/env/launchd.conf” file.

You can download the tool as runnable JAR here or build it by your own. The sources are hosted at github.

How does the tool work

As you can read here the “/usr/libexec/java_home -V” command will show you all installed Java versions. The tool executes the command and parses the output. All found versions are displayed in a JTable. When setting a new version the tool will update the “/env/launchd.conf” file and sets the JAVA_HOME environment in this file. Any old JAVA_HOME environment will be removed. Then the tool calls a shell command that will update the OS environment by using the launchd.conf. You can read more about this function here. The root password is needed because “sudo” is needed to edit the “launchd.conf” file.

I hope the tool will be for be as useful as it is currently for me. If you have any problems, bugs or feature requests please fill a issue at github or write me a mail.

Hendrik Ebbers

Hendrik Ebbers is the founder of Open Elements. He is a Java champion, a member of JSR expert groups and a JavaOne rockstar. Hendrik is a member of the Eclipse JakartaEE working group (WG) and the Eclipse Adoptium WG. In addition, Hendrik Ebbers is a member of the Board of Directors of the Eclipse Foundation.

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