How to manage multiple Java JDK versions on macOS X

How to manage multiple Java JDK versions on macOS X using homebrew.

Marc Stammerjohann Marc Stammerjohann
Published at

Here is a quick tip on how to install multiple Java JDK versions (8, ..., 11, ..., 14 etc.) on macOS X and how to switch between them for your applications.

Installing Java JDK via Homebrew

Install multiple Java JDK versions using Homebrew. To install Homebrew run:

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"

Now install the Java JDK version 11 or above using brew cask:

brew cask install java<version>

# latest version
brew cask install java
JDK versions **8**, **9**, **10** and **11** are no longer supported.

AdoptOpenJDK provides older Java versions. To install the Java JDKs from AdoptOpenJDK:

# install from third party repository
brew tap adoptopenjdk/openjdk

brew cask install adoptopenjdk<version>

# Java 8
brew cask install adoptopenjdk8

# Java 9
brew cask install adoptopenjdk9

# Java 10
brew cask install adoptopenjdk10

# Java 11
brew cask install adoptopenjdk11

Switch Java JDK via alias

Setup your JAVA_HOME path in your .zshrc or .bash_profile for your primary Java version and add an export for each installed Java version.

export JAVA_HOME=$(/usr/libexec/java_home -v14)

export JAVA_8_HOME=$(/usr/libexec/java_home -v1.8)
export JAVA_11_HOME=$(/usr/libexec/java_home -v11)
export JAVA_14_HOME=$(/usr/libexec/java_home -v14)

To check the default Java version and installation path:

java -version # 14

Add an alias to your .zshrc or .bash_profile for each installed Java version. The alias exports JAVA_HOME with the selected JAVA_VERSION_HOME.

alias java8='export JAVA_HOME=$JAVA_8_HOME'
alias java11='export JAVA_HOME=$JAVA_11_HOME'
alias java14='export JAVA_HOME=$JAVA_14_HOME'

Now, to switch between the Java versions, enter an alias java8 in your terminal. Execute java -version to verify that you are now using the correct Java version.

Alias **only** changes the Java version in the used terminal instance

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