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Set $JAVA_HOME environment variable

Apple recommends to set the $JAVA_HOME variable to /usr/libexec/java_home, so to set $JAVA_HOME environment variable we basically need to add export JAVA_HOME=$(/usr/libexec/java_home) as a new line into ~/.bash_profile and then apply changes with source ~/.bash_profile. After that, the variable will be set:

$ echo $JAVA_HOME

We use /usr/libexec/java_home as it returns the Java version we have specified in our Java Preferences. We can use same command with an additional -V to see all JVMs in our machine and the one that will be chosen by default:

$ /usr/libexec/java_home -V
Matching Java Virtual Machines (3):
    1.8.0_161, x86_64:	"Java SE 8"	/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.8.0_161.jdk/Contents/Home
    1.8.0_102, x86_64:	"Java SE 8"	/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.8.0_102.jdk/Contents/Home
    1.7.0_72, x86_64:	"Java SE 7"	/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.7.0_72.jdk/Contents/Home


Finally, if we are interested in some specific version, we can pick it manually:

$ /usr/libexec/java_home -v 1.7