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[Mac] How to change JVM version IntelliJ IDEA runs under and where to tweak JVM options


Created on: Jan 26, 2006 3:44 AM by Serge Baranov - Last Modified:  Dec 11, 2012 9:57 PM by Serge Baranov

You can change it by editing Info.plist file which is by default located under /Applications/IntelliJ IDEA directory (Choose Show Contents in Finder, X.X is the IntelliJ IDEA version number).


Quick way to open this file is to type the following in the Terminal:


open -e /Applications/IntelliJ\ IDEA\


Note that spaces should be escaped with backslashes.


To change JVM version, find the following section in this file:





Change the version number depending on your needs. Note that IntelliJ IDEA doesn't run well on JDK 1.6 on Mac because of multiple Apple bugs.

You can check the effective JDK version used by IntelliJ IDEA in Help | About dialog.


Heap size and other JVM options are changed via the following section:


<string>-Xms16m -Xmx192m -Xbootclasspath/p:../lib/boot.jar -ea</string>



For IntelliJ IDEA 12 please refer to this answer.

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Gary Nunes Gary Nunes  says:

I noticed in your FAQ that you recommended against Mac's JDK 1.6.


However, since the FAQ was last modified in Nov 2008, I was wondering if that caveat was still in force, i.e., does the latest version of IDEA run any better under the latest version of Mac's 1.6 (which was recently updated)?


Thanks for the help.



    Gary Nunes

Serge Baranov Serge Baranov  says in response to Gary Nunes:

The problem is not with IDEA, but with Mac JDK 1.6. You can try it on your own risk. If it works fine for you, keep using it, if not, switch back to 1.5.

Paul van Berlo Paul van Berlo  says:

Is this still an issue? Mac OSX Snow Leopard comes with JDK 1.6 only, and I'm seeing severe performance issues with recent Maia builds. Strange enough I don't see these with IDEA 8.1.3 (or so it appears).

Serge Baranov Serge Baranov  says in response to Paul van Berlo:

This issue may be unrelated to the JDK, please upload a snapshot, see .

Paul van Berlo Paul van Berlo  says in response to Serge Baranov:

Actually, I did some more testing and when I force the latest EAP of Maia to run in 32-bit mode (and thus on the 32-bit version of the 1.6 JDK), I've not seen the performance issues on Snow Leopard. I'll do some more testing, but even large files work properly now.