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Why am I unable to start MATLAB on macOS 10.10 Yosemite or later?

After installing macOS 10.10 or later (such as macOS 10.11) I am no longer able to launch MATLAB (for any release version). This support article also applies to customers who have successfully installed MATLAB R2014a in macOS 10.10, but are now unable to launch MATLAB.

10 Answers

Answer by MathWorks Support Team on 9 Mar 2017
Edited by MathWorks Support Team on 9 Mar 2017
 Accepted Answer

MATLAB R2014b is supported on macOS 10.10 (Yosemite) and later. R2014b works without any modifications. Earlier versions may require a patch, or a legacy version of Java, or both.
MATLAB R2012a through R2014a
When launching MATLAB, you will see a Java exception and abrupt exit upon startup. This patch should fix this error:
Even after applying the patch you may see this error message when launching MATLAB:
 
"You can't use this version of the application".
This issue can be resolved by following the steps in the Bug Report linked below:
MATLAB R2008b through R2010b
These releases of of MATLAB require Apple's legacy Java 6 to run:
You will also need to install XQuartz, an open source implementation of X11, to run these releases:
Note that R2011a through R2013a require legacy Java 6, XQuartz, and the above patch to run.
MATLAB R2008a and earlier
MathWorks is not aware of a way to make R2008a or earlier run on OS X 10.10 or later. If you discover a workaround for this configuration, please contact MathWorks support:

  9 Comments

I cannot find a patch to R2011b. The patches given in link above start with R2012a. Can you show which patch I should work with?
Abhijith, which OS-X are you using? I will try to set up a clean install and record the steps I need. (I have not happened to try to install R2011b on OS-X, it appears.)
Is there a patch to R2011b? I cannot find it since the links start with R2012a as Abhijith pointed out back in 2016.

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Answer by Josh Brinks on 24 Mar 2015

I installed the patch for 2011a, and it is still not working.

  1 Comment

Upon examining the error log that was being sent to our friends at apple, I found that problem was the X11 library has been moved from /usr/X11 to /opt/X11. This is solved by simply creating a symbolic link.
> sudo ln -s /opt/X11 /usr/X11
For those of you who are interested, the error message was: dyld: Library not loaded: /usr/X11/lib/libXt.6.dylib. Yaayy google searches.

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Answer by Ryan
on 6 Nov 2014

I successfully downloaded and patched 2012a but my 2012a_student version still won't open and gives me this error

  2 Comments

You should try reinstalling XQuartz if the patch isn't working and you have Core Services Application Configuration Data 10.10" installed meaning you followed links 1 and 2 from Mathworks support team it might be that X11 isnt configured, since when you installed Yosemite you have to reinstall XQuartz the link is http://xquartz.macosforge.org/landing/
10.39 update (waited about 24h) + java patch (link in MathWorks' response), followed by reinstall of X11 (link above), followed by install of java 6 ( http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1572 ) = MATLAB_R2012a_Student working again!

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Answer by Rachid Log on 7 Nov 2014

Apple already solved the problem. Click on the link below then download the Java that apple provide: http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1572

  1 Comment

Please note that this is only an installer for Java 6 for OS X.
You will still need to apply the bug-report fix as described in the accepted answer above, for MATLAB versions R2011a through R2014a in OS X 10.10. If you do not apply the patch as described in the bug report above, you will still receive an 'Error starting desktop' message. Simply installing Java 6 will not resolve that problem.
-Shawn
MathWorks Support

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Answer by Nicolas
on 21 Mar 2015

I recently purchased a new MacBook Pro running OS 10.10.2 and am unable to install the R2013a version of Matlab that I currently own. The InstallForMacOSX.app crashes immediately after opening without an error message.
The directions for installing the patch seem to imply that Matlab already be installed.
I would greatly appreciate some help / advice in getting Matlab up and running again.
Cheers, N

  3 Comments

Hi Nicolas,
Since R2013a used Java 6 and Yosemite only supports Java 8 and higher, to install MATLAB R2013a on Yosemite you must install Java 6 and force the MATLAB installer to use Java 6. Instructions for this are available here:
Please note that MATLAB R2013a is not officially supported on Yosemite and still may not launch or function properly on Yosemite even after it is installed using these instructions. And of course, once the installation is complete you will still need to apply the patch linked above.
For official Yosemite compatibility, please upgrade to MATLAB R2015a, which is fully supported. R2015a also includes partial support for retina displays.
-Scott Nicholas
MathWorks Installation & Licensing Support
I Have IMac
MAC OS X
Version 10.7.5
I am not able to download my new purchased MARLAB software. and got message saying that :
You can't use this version of the application MATLAB_R2015b with this version of MAC OS X. You have Mac OS X 10.7.5. The application requires MAC OS X 10.9 or later.
Can you help me , what to do? Do I need to upgrade my OS X 10.7.5 to be OS X 10.9? HOw and where?
Ali, OS-X 10.7.5 ("Lion") was only supported on Intel based systems, so we know you must have an Intel based iMac. There is a narrow window of about 20 months from January 2006 to August 2007 where iMac were made with Intel chips, and those ones are not supported by the latest OS-X El Capitan . The aluminum iMac and later, as of August 2007, are all supported on El Capitan. As a further hint, OS-X 10.7 was not included with any iMac before the aluminum one, so if you have never upgraded your OS before then you do have one of the iMac that is supported in the latest version of OS-X.
If you have the plastic iMac then even though it is Intel based, you have a problem: the last operating system supported for those was the one you have, OS-X 10.7 Lion. All following operating systems OS-X 10.8 and later, including the 10.9 that MATLAB R2015b needs, require the August 2007 or later Aluminum iMac.
If you do have a sufficiently new iMac, then you should
  1. make sure you have disk space
  2. make sure you have a backup of everything, preferably a Time Machine backup; and then
  3. visit http://www.apple.com/osx/how-to-upgrade/#hardware-requirements and click on "Upgrade Now"
The upgrade to OS-X El Capitan is free.

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Answer by Jeremy Slater on 23 Mar 2015

I'm in the same boat as Nicolas. The patch doesn't help if Matlab (in my case, trying to install the 2012a MCR) doesn't install in the first place. My 2015a version runs flawlessly, but unfortunately I have programs that need 2012a.
Cheers also,
Jeremy

  1 Comment

Hi Jeremy,
You should be able to adapt these instructions to install MCR R2012a on Yosemite:
If you're having trouble, please contact MathWorks installation support for assistance. We can be reached at 508-647-7000 option 3 then 4, Mon - Fri between 8:30 AM - 8 PM EST.
-Scott Nicholas
MathWorks Installation & Licensing Support

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Answer by Matt87
on 24 Mar 2015

I did it and it's working! I hope it helps.
Matt

  0 Comments

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Answer by Qi Mei
on 25 Jun 2015

it is the first time i install matlab 2015a on my mac. and the icon cant be used. the system version is yosemite 10.10.3

  1 Comment

Did you get this to work? I have the same issue

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Answer by Meltem Gölgeli on 9 Jul 2015

I could not solve the problem about installing Matlab R2015a with Yosemite 10.10. I also tried to force the installer to use Java 6 as mentioned by MathWorks Support Team on 6 Apr 2015 above.
I got the attached bug report. Could you please give some suggestions?

  0 Comments

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Answer by Shrenik Shah on 16 Dec 2015

Follow steps in this video. Once i did this I could run Matlab 2012a on OS X 10.11 El Capitan
https://youtu.be/f0zKj3SBaeA

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