Installing rJava on macOS

rJava is often needed for tasks like reading Excel files or connecting to databases. However, installation via install.packages('rJava') on macOS often leads to the following problems when trying to use it:

Error: package or namespace load failed for rJava:
 .onLoad failed in loadNamespace() for 'rJava', details:
  call: dyn.load(file, DLLpath = DLLpath, ...)
  error: unable to load shared object '/Library/Frameworks/R.framework/Versions/3.4/Resources/library/rJava/libs/':
  dlopen(/Library/Frameworks/R.framework/Versions/3.4/Resources/library/rJava/libs/, 6): Library not loaded: @rpath/libjvm.dylib
  Referenced from: /Library/Frameworks/R.framework/Versions/3.4/Resources/library/rJava/libs/
  Reason: image not found

rJava works in R but not RStudio

In this case, try the following code in RStudio:

> dyn.load('/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.8.0_162.jdk/Contents/Home/jre/lib/server/libjvm.dylib')

Note that you need to confirm the version of your JVM first. You can do this by running the following in terminal:

~$ ls /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/

Mine gives me the following output because I have both Java 8 and 9:

jdk-9.0.1.jdk    jdk1.8.0_162.jdk

After running dyn.load() in RStudio, trying loading rJava and it should work now. If not, try the following steps.

Installing Java, jenv, and rJava from scratch

The following steps may help to resolve this if you do not have Java installed. The final solution is inspired by @tractatus’s answer to this issue.

  1. Open the terminal

  2. Install Homebrew if you haven’t. Run the following in terminal:
    ~$ /usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

    It will ask you to enter your password to the computer. Nothing will show up when you type for security reasons. After you enter the password, just hit enter to continue. After installation, run the following to install a compiler system gcc:

    ~$ brew install gcc
  3. Run java -version to check Java version. It will produce results similar to the following:
    ~$ java -version
    java version "1.8.0_162"
    Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.8.0_162-b12)
    Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 25.162-b12, mixed mode)

    If Java version is above 8 (e.g., 9 or 10), I recommmend installing Java 8 and Java environment management tool jenv via brew:

    ~$ brew tap caskroom/versions
    ~$ brew cask install java8
    ~$ brew install jenv
    ~$ echo 'export PATH="$HOME/.jenv/bin:$PATH"' >> ~/.bash_profile
    ~$ echo 'eval "$(jenv init -)"' >> ~/.bash_profile
    ~$ source ~/.bash_profile

    The next thing we need to do is to use Java 8. Here we will set Java 8 gloablly so that the Java home (or path) will be pointing to the one we just installed via brew. Suppose your path to Java 8 is located at /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.8.0_162.jdk/ (you can just check your own and edit the version here) and do:

    ~$ jenv add /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.8.0_162.jdk/Contents/Home
    oracle64-1.8.0_162 added
    ~$ jenv global oracle64-1.8.0_162

    Finally, check Java version again in terminal by java -version to make sure we set it correctly.

  4. Now we change the compiler that R uses:
    ~$ mkdir .R
    ~$ cd .R
    ~$ touch Makevars
    ~$ open Makevars

    TextEdit will pop up. Copy the following contents and save:


    Note that you may need to change the version from 7.2.0 to something else depending on what your gcc version is. You can check this by running ls /usr/local/Cellar/gcc/ in terminal (this may not be the best way but it works :eyes:).

  5. Now we will install rJava in R. Before that, run R CMD javareconf in terminal. If it asks you to enter y/n, just type y and hit enter. Now go to R/RStudio, run install.packages('rJava', type='source'). The installation should run smoothly.

  6. Finally, we can test if it works. A simple way here (in R/RStudio) NOT terminal :
    > library(rJava)
    > .jinit()
  7. If this only works in R but not RStudio, try to run the command dyn.load as mentioned above.

If the error mentioned above does not show up, then we are good!

Zhiya Zuo

Zhiya Zuo

Filet-O-Fish 🍔 is the BEST!

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