Setting $JAVA_HOME Environment Variable in macOS

Setting JAVA_HOME on macOS

In this article, we will take a look at how to set the $JAVA_HOME environment variable on the Mac running macOS (or Mac OS X for older versions),

What is $JAVA_HOME?

JAVA_HOME is an Environment Variable that is set on the Operating System (be it Linux, Ubuntu, macOS, or Microsoft Windows) to set the Java JDK (Java Development Environment) or JRE (Java Runtime Environment) and provide the location where the JDK/JRE is installed.

What is the use of JAVA_HOME?

JAVA_HOME is used by the programs that make use of Java or require Java runtime in order to run. Such programs example Eclipse, Tomcat, GlassFish, Oracle SQL Client, Gradle, Maven, Jenkins, Android Studio, etc.

Also if you want to run Java from the command line using the javac and java commands, you would need to set the Java home path in your environment variable.

What is set $JAVA_HOME on macOS (earlier known as Mac OS X)?

If you are using Zsh shell:
  • Open Terminal App,
  • Find out where Java is installed on your Mac device:
  • Now open .zshrc profile file from home directory,
    nano ~/.zshrc

    Add the below line in the file (note you Java installation might be different,

    export JAVA_HOME="/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/zulu-11.jdk/Contents/Home"

    Save file file by pressing Control + X and typing Y to save.

  • Apply the changes by excuting the command: source ~/.zshrc

To validate if JAVA_HOME is set or not, type command,

% echo $JAVA_HOME

If you are using Bash shell:

If you are using the Bash terminal then the above steps remain the same, just instead of .zshrc file you will use .bashrc file.

How to find macOS version?

To find your macOS (or Mac OS X) version you can make use of the command sw_vers, you will have one of these,

macOS Monterey (Latest): 12.2.1
macOS Big Sur: 11.6.4
macOS Catalina: 10.15.7
macOS Mojave: 10.14.6
macOS High Sierra: 10.13.6
macOS Sierra: 10.12.6
OS X El Capitan: 10.11.6
OS X Yosemite: 10.10.5
OS X Mavericks: 10.9.5
OS X Mountain Lion: 10.8.5
OS X Lion: 10.7.5
Mac OS X Snow Leopard: 10.6.8
Mac OS X Leopard: 10.5.8
Mac OS X Tiger: 10.4.11
Mac OS X Panther: 10.3.9
Mac OS X Jaguar: 10.2.8
Mac OS X Puma: 10.1.5
Mac OS X Cheetah: 10.0.4
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