Java is one of the most confusing and frustrating add-ons for Mac and here we show you the easiest way to uninstall Java from El Capitan, Sierra and High Sierra. The truth is, there’s actually no way to fully remove Java from Mac but you can easily completely disable it. The instructions provided here show how to disable Java from El Capitan OS X 10.11, macOS 10.12 Sierra and macOS 10.13 High Sierra but it works for all versions of OS X including OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, OS X 10.7 Lion, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, OS X 10.9 Mavericks and OS X 10.10 Yosemite. If you’ve got here because you keep getting a Java SDK error message in El Capitan or macos Sierra, there is probably an application installed on your Mac that requires Java or a website or game (such as Minecraft) that you’re trying to access that requires it. You can find instructions here how to install Java on El Capitan & Sierra or you can simply uninstall the application that keeps prompting you to use Java if you don’t need it anymore. Once you’ve identified the application or websites that keep demanding Java, you can use the following instructions to rid your Mac of Java for good.

How To Uninstall Java From El Capitan, Sierra & High Sierra

The annoying fact is that there is no way to 100% remove Java from your Mac. Once you’ve installed it, it installs deep inside OS X and it’s there for good so the best advice is don’t install Java on your Mac unless you 100% need it! However, the good news is that you can completely disable it in just one move so that it can’t cause any further problems on your Mac. Note that the official Java uninstall instructions for Mac from Oracle only disable Java – they do not actually remove Java from your Mac. They are also a bit complicated to follow if you’re new to Macs as it requires using Terminal commands in OS X.

First we start with a quick and easy way to disable Java in El Capitan, Sierra & High Sierra. Then we show you how to use Terminal to remove as much of Java as possible from your Mac.

Follow these instructions to uninstall Java from El Capitan & Sierra.

  1. Go to the root Library folder in Library/Internet Plug-Ins and delete everything related to Java. To access your root Library folder, open Finder and click on the “Go” menu at the top. Hold down the “Alt” key (also known as the “Option” key) and you will see the Library folder appear:
    How to find Library folder Mac
  2. Once you’re in the Library folder, delete absolutely everything related to Java. If you also had the JDK (Java Development Kit) installed, you also need to navigate to /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/ and delete anything that you see. Then go back to your Mac desktop and click on your Macintosh HD and go to your /System/Library folder and delete everything related to Java there too. 

This instantly disables Java on your Mac and prevents it from infecting your Mac in any way via Java applets in websites or apps. Note that you should quit and restart any browsers you had open and you can surf safe in the knowledge that Java can’t do any harm to your Mac.

How To Uninstall Java Using Terminal

If you’re confident using Terminal on your Mac or the above method doesn’t work for some reason, you can remove more traces of Java with a few simple commands. However, first you need to disable a new layer of protection to OS X 10.11 that Apple has added called “Rootless SIP”.

Here’s how to uninstall Java from El Capitan & Sierra using Terminal in OS X.

  1. Firstly you need to disable Rootless SIP in OS X. Restart your Mac when the screen turns black hold down ⌘R until the Apple logo appears.
  2. Select the “Utilities” menu and then “Terminal”. In Terminal type: csrutil disable
  3. Hit Return and then restart OS X. Your Mac will then restart with SIP disabled and you can try installing Java again.
  4. You can then use Terminal to remove Java by typing the following in Terminal:

sudo rm -fr /Library/Internet\ Plug-Ins/JavaAppletPlugin.plugin and press Enter
sudo rm -fr /Library/PreferencePanes/JavaControlPanel.prefpane and press Enter

You can also remove the Java JDK by typing:

sudo rm -fr /System/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/1 .6.0.jdk and press Enter

If this doesn’t work, you can try:

cd /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines and press Enter
ls and press Enter
sudo rm -rf jdk1.8.0_25.jdk and press Enter

Note: The 1.8.0_25.jdk part should be replaced by whatever Java version you have installed if you have a different version to 1.8. To check which version of Java you have installed simply type:  java -version in Terminal:install java el capitan - check java installation

When you’ve done all this, it’s a good idea to re-enable Rootless SIP protection on El Capitan & Sierra. All you have to do is follow the same instructions as for disabling it except instead of csrutil disable you type: csrutil enable

Even after this, there will be traces of Java files on your Mac in other locations (such as /usr/bin) but you really don’t need to worry about them as removing them can mess up OS X. You can double check whether Java still exists in your system by typing java -version in Terminal and it will show you exactly which version of Java you have installed. Note that Java version numbers are a bit confusing because what are installed on your system as Java 1.6, 1.7 and 1.8 are known more commonly as Java 6, Java 7 and Java 8 respectively.

Note that if you’re trying to install Java 6 on Mac (called Java 1.6 by Oracle) and you keep getting the error message:

A newer version of Java is already installed

Make sure that you are downloading the correct version of Java 6 from the Apple website which currently is Java for OS X 2015-001.

If you have any questions or problems disabling Java on your Mac this way, let us know in the comments below. If you found this tutorial helpful, you may also find our guide on how to uninstall Office 2016 for Mac useful too.

About The Author

Author

MacHow2 is devoted to helping you get the most of of your Mac. We’re passionate about all things Mac and OS X whether it’s helping users with software recommendations or solving technical problems on Mac. If you’ve got any comments about this article, get involved by leaving a comment below. You can also contact us directly using the contact form at the top of the site. Please note that in the interests of transparency, MacHow2 may sometimes receive compensation from link clicks or vendors.

34 Responses

  1. Jeremy Slater

    OK, did everything you suggested, including the SDK. Went to install an earlier version of Java (which was the point of removing the new version), and even though java -version triggers a pop-up window telling me there’s no java, the earlier java version won’t begin the installation because the system still believes a newer version of Java is already installed.

    Reply
  2. greener

    I’ve done everything you suggested (a couple times), however when I type java -version into the terminal, it still says the same thing:
    java version “1.6.0_65”
    Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0_65-b14-468-11M4833)
    Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 20.65-b04-468, mixed mode)

    I am running OS 10.11.2. I see no folders or files related to Java in my Library folder.
    I tried these steps on my computer running OS 10.10 and it seemed to work fine.

    Reply
  3. CF

    Hi there,
    I’m running El Capitan 10.11.1 + I needed to install Java 1.6 for an application (Cycling ’74’s Max 7.1).
    I installed the recommended version (Apple’s legacy Java 6 OSX 2015-001 update) + the Max 7.1 application now works.
    Since I need Java, I don’t really want to uninstall it, but given that I was loathe to install it in the first place, I stepped through the instructions above out of curiosity (in anticipation of eventually getting rid of it in the future) + my Library folder has nothing in it that mentions Java + my Library/Internet Plug-Ins folder is totally empty. Can you please comment on this…is that unusual?
    Also, I believe Apple has done some security hardening of that particular Java package, but is there anything further I can do disable Java in Safari, harden the OS, etc, since I’m stuck with this Java package for a little while? Now I’m paranoid about surfing exploits, etc. + I’d like to do everything I can to limit Java except insofar as I need it for that one app. Thanks.

    Reply
    • MacHow2

      It sounds like you don’t have anything to worry about. If there’s nothing appearing in your plug-ins folder, it means that Java isn’t activated in Safari, meaning you’re not vulnerable to security exploits. At the moment, Java will only be used by the application that you’ve installed it for i.e. Max 7.1.

      Reply
  4. Josh Duke

    Running OS 10.11.4 and cannot install Java 1.6 because no matter what I do, I am told that the newer version of Java still exists.

    I absolutely have to use Java 1.6 in order to run an application that is essential to my job. I am about to revert back to Yosemite, as I had no issues with it.

    This is the first time I have had this much trouble with a Mac OS.

    Reply
  5. David Colin

    Hi. In El Capitan, I was unable to remove Java from System/Library/Java as a window stated ‘Java cannot be modified or removed because it is required by OS X.’ I only installed Java runtime 6 in order to get my Logitech Harmony (remote control) software to function. Thanks for your post above, I’m comfortable understanding that Java will only be used by the app I installed it for. Thanks again.

    Reply
      • Olivier

        Hi,
        I have exactly the same problem as Josh Duke. I am Running 10.11.14, just bought my new mac, and absolutely need Java 6. I’ve done everything you suggested at least 10 times but when I try to run the install package of ‘javaforOSX2014001’ I’m said that an earlier version is already installed…. Could you please help here ? Thanks

  6. opercu@yahoo.fr

    It works!!! Thank you so much MacHow2. You made my day! Best. O

    Reply
  7. Tim Blackmore

    I used the legacy install to make Britannica work (it won’t), and now Safari and Adobe (two programs) won’t load or install. Would it be simpler for me to format the drive and wipe everything, given the obvious difficulty I see here? New iMac, El Capitan.

    Reply
    • MacHow2

      In your case trying to run Britannica, you’re probably better to do a clean install. You’ll probably spend less time doing that than trying to get to the root of the problem.

      Reply
  8. Katalin Lovas

    We have El Capitan. Firstly I downloaded the Java from Oracle, but it was not running, so I find your above article…so, I have uninstalled successfully,and reinstalled again from the link what you recommended above…but the Java is not running and I received the following message
    ExitException[ 3]com.sun.deploy.net.FailedDownloadException: Unable to load resource: https://java.com/ga/applet/verify/JavaDetection.jar
    at sun.plugin2.applet.JNLP2Manager.downloadResources(Unknown Source)
    at sun.plugin2.applet.JNLP2Manager.prepareLaunchFile(Unknown Source)
    at sun.plugin2.applet.JNLP2Manager.loadJarFiles(Unknown Source)
    at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2Manager$AppletExecutionRunnable.run(Unknown Source)
    at java.lang.Thread.run(Thread.java:745)

    What is the problem?
    Thanks for your help in advance!

    Reply
  9. David Van Nuys

    I’m using Sierra and keep getting this nag to install JDK. I tried above and just can’t seem to get rid of the popup nag coming up periodically. Arggghhhhh

    Reply
    • MacHow2

      This problem is probably because something on your Mac is demanding Java – either in your browser or an application installed on your Mac. Some Facebook apps or Adobe products for example may prompt your Mac for Java. You should try and figure out which application or web page requires Java and then decide whether you really want to install Java or not. Installing Java 7 or Java 8 should fix it. However, if it’s an old application or website that hasn’t been updated to run the latest version of Java, your Mac will need the 32-bit version which is only available in Java 6. As stated in the article above, it’s not clear whether Sierra officially supports Java 6 but if all else fails and you desperately need the application or access to the website that’s asking for it, you’ll have to install it and hope for the best.

      Reply
      • David Van Nuys

        Thanks for your input above. I think I’ve finally succeeded in ridding myself of that Java nag. First, I trashed all the Adobe apps on my iMac. They were all pretty old. I also searched for every Adobe and Java thing I could find in my system files and trashed those. Then I installed Apple Java which I found at https://support.apple.com/kb/dl1572?locale=en_US. This combination of actions seems to have solved my problem Whew!!!

      • MacHow2

        Thanks for sharing your solution. It’s likely it was the old Adobe Apps that were requesting the 32 bit version of Java 6. You may find that since you’ve removed those apps, you don’t need Java at all now and can remove Java 6 too.

  10. Helen Bradley

    Thank you so much. Your post didn’t help me (I’d removed all I needed to remove) but an answer to a question solved my problem – I was trying to install the wrong java version for El Capitan – I have now downloaded and installed the correct one and OpenOffice Database now appears to work just fine.

    Reply
  11. Sean

    Thanks for the tips. On Sierra, I was able to search “Java” and delete the main folder(s). Went back to the legacy link and works fine. I have CS4 (no need for update as I am a light user).

    Reply
  12. veronica

    I am running sierra I deleted the java folder but it still seems to pup up

    Reply
  13. A Person

    I tried everything. Then I used the command “/usr/libexec/java_home –verbose” and then it tells me that I have Java SE 6 installed twice! Please help me! I want to use Eclipse, but I can’t, because it tells me that version 1.7 or higher is required, but I installed version 1.8! Everything is all messed up!

    Reply
  14. Robert K

    I am running 10.13.1 High Sierra Beta, and I cannot remove the java. I keep getting a newer version is installed on my machine warning.
    Are there different approaches in High Sierra compared to Sierra, etc? I tried the Terminal solutions, and tried remove all the Java stuff from Library. No luck.
    I need the older version because of a program that I have to run for work.
    Thanks

    Reply

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