How to Run .jar Files on Mac

Trying to figure out how to run .jar files on Mac?

JAR files allow for efficient distribution as it is a package file format that contains Java class files, associated metadata, and other resources in a single file. Being a frequent internet user, you must have come across JAR files at one point or found yourself in need to run them on your computer.

Unfortunately, decompressing .jar files is not as simple, especially because most OS do not incorporate built-in tools that are required to execute such files. While its fairly easy to Run Jar Files on Windows 11, things get a bit more tricky if you’re using a Mac.

Unlike the Zip files, double-clicking on the JAR file will be of no use. But lucky for you, we have concluded this file to guide you through the whole process of how to run .jar files on Mac.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get straight to it!

1. Check If You Have Java On Your Mac.

JAR files cannot run on any device that does not have Java pre-installed. The compatible platform required for this is either JRE or JDK. JRE stands for Java Runtime Environment, which is mandatory for creating Java virtual machines and executing programs written in Javascript.

On the other hand, JDK or Java Development Kit includes essential files and components for building Java-scripted programs from scratch. You can download and install either of the two softwares to run .jar files on Mac.

To check if you have Java on your Mac or to find out its version, follow these steps:

  1. Begin by clicking on the Spotlight search icon located in the upper right corner of your screen.
  2. In the Search bar, type ‘terminal’ and choose the first option from the results.
launch Terminal on Mac
  1. When the command line window opens, run the following command:
java -version
  1. If you don’t already have Java installed, you will get the No Java runtime present, requesting install message. Click on the OK button in the pop-up box.
java version Terminal

Then, continue to the next step to learn how to install Java on your Mac. However, if you do have the program installed, Terminal will display its version instead.

2. Download Java on Your Mac.

If you want to run .jar files on Mac and don’t have Java installed yet, you’ll need to download it immediately. This is the first step in executing JAR files on your system to extract and view the compiled content.

If you already have the program installed, you can skip this step. Otherwise, you’ll have to follow the instructions mentioned below:

  1. To get started, launch Safari on your Mac.
  2. Then, visit the official webpage of Oracle.
  3. The link will automatically take you to the latest version of Java available. Scroll down, and you’ll see the different packages available for various operating systems. Click on the macOS tab since you want to install Java on your Mac.
Run .jar Files on Mac
  1. Next, click on the .dmg Installer link under the Download column.
  2. After that, check the box for I reviewed and accept the Oracle Technology Network License Agreement for Oracle Java SE, then click on the Download button below.
download java for Mac
  1. On the pop-up box, choose the Save File option and click on OK.
Run .jar Files on Mac
  1. The file is a bit huge, so it will take some time to download. You can view the process by clicking on the Downward arrow icon at the top.

3. Install The Java File on Your Mac.

Now, after you download the .dmg file, you’ll need to install it to run .jar files on Mac. But before that step, let’s look at how your Mac will need to give permissions for a non-Apple file in order to install Java, as you’ll receive a warning every time you try to run the application file.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Firstly, click on OK if you received a warning for running a non-Apple file from an unidentified developer.
  2. Then, click on the Apple menu and choose System Preferences.
Mac System Preferences
  1. From there, go to Security & Privacy.
Security & Privacy System Preferences
  1. In the General tab, click on the Lock icon at the bottom left corner by entering your password.
  2. Then, click on Open Anyway.
Run .jar Files on Mac
  1. Again click on Open for confirmation of your action.

Now, you can install the Java setup file on your Mac without any hindrance. Here’s how:

  1. To install, either click on the file from Safari Downloads or navigate to the Downloads folder, then double-click on it.
  2. It will show you a box saying Opening before displaying a folder with a Java .pkg file. Double-click on it.
Run .jar Files on Mac
  1. Now the installation wizard will open. Simply click on Continue.
Install Java on Mac
  1. Next, click on the Install button.
  2. Enter your password for confirmation and click on Install Software to begin the process.
Run .jar Files on Mac
  1. When finished, you will come across a screen saying Install Succeeded. Click Close
  2. In the next prompt, select Move to Trash as the program is already installed on your Mac.
delete Java on Mac

After that, you can easily run .jar files on Mac. Just continue to the next step.

4. Run .jar Files on Mac.

Now that you have all the necessary steps performed, you can easily run .jar files on Mac. You can do so by either navigating to the folder that contains the JAR file or via Terminal. 

If you want to follow the first method, below are the steps:

  1. To start, launch the folder where you have the .jar file stored that needs to be extracted.
  2. Right-click on the file and click Open from the context menu.
Run .jar Files on Mac
  1. If prompted, click on Open again to overcome Apple’s restrictions when opening a file from an unidentified developer.

To use Terminal to run .jar files on Mac, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Begin by clicking on Finder from the Dock.
  2. Click on the Applications tab from the left pane.
  3. Select Utilities and then Terminal.
Open Terminal on Mac
  1. When the prompt opens, run the following command. Remember to replace FILENAME with the name of the JAR file.
java -jar FILENAME.jar

5.  Update Java.

If, for some reason, you’re facing difficulty while trying to run .jar files on Mac, it may be because of an outdated version of Java. In that case, you’ll need to update the application immediately.

Follow the steps below to do so:

  1. First, click on the Apple menu then select System Preferences.
  2. Once it opens, go to Java.
Launch Java Mac
  1. Next, click on the Update tab.
  2. Then, click on the Update Now button.
Update Java Mac version
  1. In the next prompt, click on the Install Update button.
  2. The download will take some time to finish. When done, you’ll be prompted to enter your password. After doing so, click on Install Helper.
Run .jar Files on Mac
  1. Finally, click Close and then OK.

After that, double-click on the .jar file to run it. If it fails this time, make sure you downloaded an executable JAR file. If you downloaded it over the internet, verify that it’s the Mac version.

This concludes our guide on how to run .jar files on Mac. Carefully follow all the steps explained to extract all data from the JAR files successfully. For further queries, head to the comment section below. We’ll respond to you as soon as possible.

If this guide helped you, please share it. 🙂


  • Aimen Choudhry

    Aimen Choudhry is an architecture student who has always been fascinated by science. She now finds her therapy researching and writing about the latest technology and the issues that come alongside. Otherwise, you’ll find her playing video games, listening to music, or watching fantasy/sci-fi movies.

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