Apple Mac: Legacy Java SE 6 Runtime and Java Command-Line Tool JDK Alert Messages

Update 30 August 2017

After three years working with various scenarios, a pattern of success is emerging. Today, on a computer running OS X 10.11 El Capitan, the above error message was appearing when trying to run SPSS. After installing Java SE 6 Runtime, SPSS ran without a problem. So, that simple installation seemed to resolve the problem and may work to resolve the issue for other software and other versions of OS X. You can get the Java SE 6 Runtime installation file here.

Background

In 2009, we reported on a problem with Java on Apple Mac computers. Similar Java problems continued over the years, and we reported again in 2012, 2014, and 2015. The problem we reported and posted about back in 2014, that continued to 2015, still exists in macOS Sierra in 2016. There doesn’t seem to be a simple removal tool or utility to fix the problem. Since the problem hasn’t changed much from our previous articles, we’ll offer an update here of what we’ve learned.

Overview

You may get an error similar to the ones shown below. This indicates that you have an older software program on your computer that is trying to run on a version of Java that Apple has since removed for security reasons.

20161027th1244-apple-mac-java-open-need-to-instal-the-legacy-java-se-6-runtime

20161027th1252-apple-mac-java-command-line-tool-need-jdk

These messages look similar, but notice the first one refers to a specific application and the second one generally refers to the java command-line tool. In either case, there is software trying to launch at startup and at other times which is requiring Java.

What You Need to Do

By removing the old software you can get rid of these messages. Software like Clean My Mac can help in removing programs along with the many system and configuration files that are not removed by dragging the application icon to the trash.

Or, you can try to manually find left over application files if you’ve already removed the older software. For example, if you right click on the Finder icon (usually found in the lower left corner on a Mac) you can use the Go to Folder option to go to ~/Library/LaunchAgents and look for files that may have been used by the older software, but be careful because you could also negatively impact currently installed software.

In the case of Adobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4) and Creative Suite 5 (CS5) you should consider upgrading to the latest Adobe Creative Cloud products and plans. An installation of the latest software would presumably remove the older software. If not, use the Clean My Mac utility software mentioned above to remove the old Adobe configuration files.

If you’re committed to running the older software on your computer, you could try (at your own risk) some of the options below to install legacy versions of Java.

Oracle is essentially saying it’s not their fault you have older software installed on your computer and that you need to contact Apple for support. Apple is stating that they are not able to support Java and programs that depend on it so they are sending people to Oracle for support.

Oracle Suggests Contacting Apple

According to Oracle, the developers of Java, the error message is due to an older software program installed on your Apple computer. Their website states:

This is most commonly because an application requires the legacy Java 6 provided by Apple. For the solution to this issue, see http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1572.

 

So, Oracle is sending people to Apple

Apple Suggests Contacting Oracle

If you follow the link to Apple’s website you’ll see the following notice.

Java for OS X 2015-001 installs the legacy Java 6 runtime for OS X 10.11 El Capitan, OS X 10.10 Yosemite, OS X 10.9 Mavericks, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, and OS X 10.7 Lion.

This package is exclusively intended for support of legacy software and installs the same deprecated version of Java 6 included in the 2014-001 and 2013-005 releases.

Quit any Java applications before installing this update.

See http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6133  for more details about this update.

See http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222 for information about the security content of this update.

Keep your software up to date. If you need Java, download the latest version of Java for OS X directly from Oracle https://www.java.com

NOTE: Older versions may be found at:  http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1829

If you follow that last link to the older versions, you’ll arrive at a page with this information.

Java for OS X 2014-001 includes installation improvements, and supersedes all previous versions of Java for OS X. This package installs the same version of Java 6 included in Java for OS X 2013-005.

Please quit any Java applications before installing this update.

See http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6133  for more details about this update.

See http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222 for information about the security content of this update.

Keep your software up to date. If you need Java, download the latest version of Java for OS X directly from Oracle https://www.java.com

So, essentially, that last suggestion is that ultimately you should “If you need Java, download the latest version of Java for OS X directly from Oracle.”

If you follow those last two knowledge base articles above, the first link takes you to a page that states:

This article is about older, unsupported Java software. Download the latest version of Java for OS X directly from Oracle.

The second link takes you to a generic Apple page on security, which when searched does not contain the word Java on the entire page.

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