Making Java work in browsers on Mac OSX Lion

So I updated to OSX Lion 10.7. Very cool, espe­cially with the easy gestures.

Biggest prob­lem: my bank web­site, which uses Java applets for secure logins, stopped work­ing. In the area where the login form should have been I saw a mes­sage that said: "Inac­tive Plug-in". Same prob­lem across Fire­fox, Safari, Chrome — all updated to their lat­est versions.

I installed the lat­est Java for OSX Lion from the Apple web­site. In hind­sight, this was not nec­es­sary as the "Soft­ware Update" from the Apple menu, as usual, takes care of every­thing includ­ing updat­ing the lat­est Java.

So the prob­lem was clearly not with the browsers. The list­ing of plu­g­ins in Fire­fox showed me that "Java Applet Plu­gin" is in fact active.

The prob­lem was annoy­ingly sim­ple: the update to OSX Lion 10.7 and above often (not always, appar­ently) dis­ables Java inside browsers for some odd secu­rity reason.

All I had to do was go into "Java Pref­er­ences" and enable this back again. Apple hasn't made it easy, but it's a sim­ple com­mand in Terminal:

/Applications/Utilities/Java\\ Preferences

This will bring up a win­dow as in the screen­shot below. Just enable the bit that says to allow applets in browsers, and you're all set. (It will work when you restart your browser.)

Java Preferences on Mac OSX Lion

(Edit: You can also search in Spot­light for "Java Preferences".)

  • Ted


    i tried what you men­tioned but it still didn't work. still got the applet not work­ing prop­erly message.…

    i tried restart­ing safari and still didn't work.

  • / Shanx

    Hi. Did you install the lat­est Java? Just in case.

    All browsers worked when I changed the Java Pref­er­ences. Clear the Safari cache (reset from FILE menu) and test this link:

  • Pet­ter

    Hi — thanks for the post. It worked per­fect for me.


  • Michael

    Thanks this fixed it for Fire­fox but for some rea­son Safari still not cooperating.

  • / Shanx

    Hi Michael. Try to clear Safari cache, then restart it. Should work.

  • Javier

    GREAT!! THANKS!! worked per­fectly, seems nobody knows what's going on with this update of OSX and JAVA.

  • Vin­cent

    Many thanks. This worked for me. It took me hours to find a solu­tion but it could have taken me many more hours but for your help.

    Thanks again,


  • Anony­mous

    I fixed it — the tog­gle was already on — I just turned it off and back on again, reloaded the Safari page and it worked.

  • CB

    That set­ting was already enabled for me. Will try tog­gling off and on an another use men­tioned as cur­rently hav­ing now luck.

    This ini­tial hur­dle will most likely being a stum­bling block for a lot of users.

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  • Ben Frain

    Thanks — this was dri­ving me up the wall!

  • ben­bland

    Woo hoo!

  • PearlOBrien

    Thank you! 

  • GenghisKahn

    Thank you very much!!!!!!!!!!

  • mar­ket­ing

    yeah thanks works much better…i just search for java pref­er­ences to get to that screen btw

  • Matti

    I've got the same prob­lem as Michael plus I can't find the "Java pref­er­ences" panel, instead I found "Java Con­trol Panel" from Sys­tem Pref­er­ences. What gives?

  • Tadej Maligoj

    can't find it either. Any clue?

  • Hay­den

    Java pref­er­ences has been removed with the most recent Java update. How do I get to this screen now??

  • Learn­ing­So­lu­tions

    Must be hav­ing the same issue as Hay­den. Can't get to this screen. Spot­light finds nothing.

  • laura

    Huh i did it but minecraft still doesnt work-.-

  • frafa


    If you want to rein­stall Java to use it (from /Applications/Utilites):

    The 10.8 dmg has it under /Packages/JavaEssentials.pkg

    I googled around and found a link:‑4540/6JfG7McpmBmS2nbCWvJXX9GQmYhYQ8dWQJ/JavaEssentials.pkg

    After the install you find your Java in its old place,
    allow­ing you to switch between all installed JAVA ver­sions and allow­ing
    your Browsers to use applets again.

    Yet another bar­rier for JAVA bro­ken down.

  • Chris B

    If any one is hav­ing prob­lems upload­ing videos to YouTube using 64bit Lion Mac OSX, there's a quick fix– go to Appli­ca­tions and Get Info on any browsers that sup­ports 32bit mode (Fire­fox does) Then just tick the 32 bit mode. Restart Fire­fox (or what­ever browser you change to 32bit mode) and you should be able to upload no prob­lem. The prob­lem is that YouTube uses Java but Java doesn't appear to sup­port 64 bit at least within a browser at this time– 10th Jan 2013

  • JTR

    Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!

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  • cinedig­i­tal

    Thanks for the tip about 32bit mode!

    I was able to **finally** access the java app web inter­face of my QLogic 5600 Fibre Chan­nel switch switch from Moun­tain Lion using Java 7 and Fire­fox v16 — this is the last ver­sion sup­ported under 10.5 (32bit Intel) and is avail­able to down­loaded from

  • Yongna

    I tried this but I found that my java is already enabled. It still shows a screen that says Inac­tive plu­gin. Help please!! ><

  • Kristy

    I did all of this, Java is enabled and updated, and it still won't work!! Some­one please help.

  • Isa­iah

    Same prob­lem here.. I did all of this.. Restarted my Mac sev­eral times but still isn't doing me any good.. HELP!!!


    samez xox

  • ia not really good at this kind of stuff