How to re-enable Apple's Web plugin after updating Java

If you still need Java 6 for Web applets after installing Apple's latest updates, there is a way to restore it and override Apple's preference for the use of Oracle's Java 7.

Topher Kessler MacFixIt Editor
Topher, an avid Mac user for the past 15 years, has been a contributing author to MacFixIt since the spring of 2008. One of his passions is troubleshooting Mac problems and making the best use of Macs and Apple hardware at home and in the workplace.
Topher Kessler
2 min read

Apple's latest Java updates supply the most recent security fixes for version 6 of the runtime; however, they also implement Apple's effort to push users toward the Oracle-supported Java 7 runtime, especially for running Web-based applets. When you install Apple's Java updates, for systems that support Java 7, the updater will remove Apple's Java Web plug-in and direct you to the Oracle Java Web site for downloading the latest version of Java 7.

While this is arguably the safest and preferred approach for most users, there are some who may still need the Java 6 runtime for specific Web content, and will find that content not working properly even after installing Java 7.

For these people, Apple has offered instructions for disabling the Java 7 runtime and re-enabling the Apple-provided Java SE 6 plug-in.

To do this, you will need to move the Java 7 plugin to a custom disabled plugins folder, and then provide a link to the Java 6 plugin that is embedded in Apple's Java framework. These can be done using the following commands in the OS X Terminal (in the Applications > Utilities folder):

  1. Create the folder for the disabled plugin:

    sudo mkdir -p /Library/Internet\ Plug-Ins/disabled

  2. Move the current plugin to the disabled folder (copy and paste both lines):

    sudo mv /Library/Internet\ Plug-Ins/JavaAppletPlugin.plugin /Library/I\
    nternet\ Plug-Ins/disabled

  3. Create a link to the embedded Java SE 6 Web plugin (copy and paste both lines):

    sudo ln -sf /System/Library/Java/Support/Deploy.bundle/Contents/Resource\
    s/JavaPlugin2_NPAPI.plugin /Library/Internet\ Plug-Ins/JavaAppletPlugin.plugin

When finished you should only need to relaunch your Web browsers for the change to take place. If you need to re-enable Apple's Java Web Start feature for your uses, then you can also do this by creating a link to the web start program that is embedded in the JavaVM framework. Running the following command in the Terminal will do this:

sudo ln -sf /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Commands/javaws /usr/bin/javaws

Note that these commands make use of the "sudo" command, which requires you be logged in as an administrator. When run, the first "sudo" command will prompt you for your admin password (which will not show even though it is being entered), but subsequent uses of the "sudo" command run within 10 minutes of each other will not prompt for a password.

Even though Apple is moving away from supporting Java, it likely will provide additional Java updates that will again disable the Java SE 6 plugin. After these updates you may have to run this procedure again to restore Java functionality.

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