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June 21, 2010

[Tutorials] How to Downgrade Java on a Mac

Update (Jan 31, 2013): This post has always been popular but today it got slammed. I won't point fingers (*applecoughoracle*) but I will say...what a cluster!@#$. So if you're here because your Java apps aren't running today, head on over to this Servoy forum thread where many people are doing a brilliant job of putting out information and fixes.

Why would you want to do this? Theoretically, never. Unfortunately, the latest Java update introduced a bug where the delete key removes two characters for the price of one. Hopefully they will release an update soon but since it has been a month or so now....

Instructions for v10.5.8 and v10.6.4

1 Recommend making a bootable backup before starting

2 Locate the required Java installers

     - Leopard: download update 5
     - Snow Leopard: grab your install DVD

3 Remove current installed java stuff (warning: no going back from this point on!). In terminal:

     sudo rm -R /Applications/Utilities/Java\ Preferences.app/
     sudo rm -R /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/
     sudo rm -R /System/Library/Java/
     sudo rm -R /System/Library/CoreServices/Jar\ Launcher.app
     sudo rm -R /System/Library/CoreServices/Java\ Web\ Start.app/
     sudo rm -R /System/Library/CoreServices/JavaVersion.plist
     sudo rm -R /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/JavaApplicationLauncher.framework/
     sudo rm -R /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaEmbedding.framework/
     sudo rm -R /System/Library/CFMSupport/StubLibraries/JavaEmbeddingLib/

4.1 Reinstall java: Leopard

     - run the installer that you downloaded in step 1
     - restart

4.2 Reinstall java: Snow Leopard (haven't tested yet! but should work)

     - insert installer DVD
     - run terminal commands (change the paths in each command as necessary for both the OS X Install disc and your system hard drive):
          installer -verbose -pkg "/Volumes/Mac OS X Install Disk/System/Installation/Packages/Java.pkg -target /Volumes/Macintosh HD"
          installer -verbose -pkg "/Volumes/Mac OS X Install Disk/System/Installation/Packages/JavaTools.pkg -target /Volumes/Macintosh HD"
     - (alternately you can use a tool like Pacifist to browse for and run the Java.pkg and JavaTools.pkg installers located in the main .pkg installer)
     - restart

Note: we have confirmed this works for Leopard but haven't verified for Snow Leopard yet.

| Posted by David Workman on June 21, 2010 at 10:45 AM in Tutorials | Permalink


Thanks for sharing, David.

Posted by: Ben Savignac | Jun 25, 2010 8:06:33 AM

Hi David,

thanks for posting, was exactly what I needed. However, re-installation of the old Java doesn't seem to work on Snow Leo. After the removal and re-installation, I run into the error (in terminal when typing "java -version":

Error occurred during initialization of VM
Unable to load native library: libjava.jnilib

Only way to get recovered is by re-applying the Java 6 update 2 from Apple, which apparently defeats the purpose. Any hints?

Posted by: Manuel Weiss | Jul 19, 2010 5:54:17 AM

Did you check your DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable? A quick search pulled up:


So much for hoping someone would confirm the Snow Leopard instructions, sorry about that. If you figure it out, please post!

Posted by: David Workman | Jul 19, 2010 10:46:45 AM

http://lists.apple.com/archives/Java-dev/2010/Jul/msg00066.html for news on this from Apple.

Posted by: David Workman | Jul 22, 2010 4:22:56 AM

I have run into the same problem and my son has suggested this link: http://mike.crute.org/blog/java-woes-on-snow-leopard-10-6. I plan to try it out myself over the weekend but, as always, use at your own risk!

Posted by: Ben Savignac | Jul 28, 2010 8:12:47 AM

This seems to work on osx Lion:

Posted by: David Moshal | Sep 12, 2011 1:59:10 PM

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