How to get Eclipse working on OS X 10.10 Yosemite

After downloading Eclipse (Luna 4.4.2) on Max OS X 10.10.3 Yosemite it failed to start-up. It gave the highly misleading error message To open “eclipse” you need to install the legacy Java SE 6 runtime.

OSX Eclipse asking for Java 6 to be installed.

Installing Java 6 isn’t a good idea. It’s out of support and now has a number of serious security issues. Common sense says there has to be a better solution.

Try going to the OS X Command line and enter the command java -version

In my case then displayed the message, To use the “java” command-line tool you need to install a JDK.

OSX prompt to install the Java JDK


Note that it’s asking you to install a JDK. I knew I had the latest version of Java runtime (JRE) installed so had expected the Java -version command to display Java 8. Clicking on More info will take you through to the Oracle Java download site.

Oracle Java JDK download page


From here download the Mac OS X 64 bit JDK and then when the download has completed click on the dmg file in the download loads directory and follow the install instructions.

Once complete try the Java -version command again from the command line to prove the install has been successful.  In my case this came back with:

java -version

java version “1.8.0_45”

Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.8.0_45-b14)

Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 25.45-b02, mixed mode)

Now clicking on the Eclipse icon will successfully launch Eclipse.

Eclipse OSX About Box

To prove it here’s the Eclipse About box to show Eclipse Luna 4.4.2 successfully running on OS X 10.10.3.

Update: June 19th 2016:

A recent update broke the above solution. I hadn’t used Eclipse on the affected Mac for a few weeks so I’m not sure if it was broken by a Java update, an OSX update or even an Eclipse update. Anyway the solution was a simple extension of the above steps.

Find your and CTRL right click on it, you will then see a ‘Show Package Contents’ option

Edit eclipse package contents to change Java Runtime version

Now navigate to the eclipse.ini shown below:

eclipse.ini change JRE Java version setting

Now edit eclipse.ini and look for the highlighted line:

OS X eclipse.ini vm setting for Java

Shown above is the correct setting for my Mac that now works.  I’ve seen this incorrectly set to either the wrong location or even to a specific Java patch level. If you’ve got a different location  under -vm make a note or backup and then try changing it to this more standard value.


If you have any problems or follow-up questions do please leave a comment below.

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