Matlab 2019b not working mac OS Catalina - Start desktop error

43 views (last 30 days)
Hi everyone,
Has anyone managed to use 2019b version with the new Catalina OS Mac update ?
I get an error message "error starting desktop" pointing towards what seems to be a java issue.
Matlab was working perfectly before the update to Catalina.
Thank you very much.
Matlab error.png

Answers (10)

Riccardo Moretti
Riccardo Moretti on 19 Dec 2019
I solved the issue!
I went in preferences -> security and privacy -> file and folder -> then I check all the three boxes under Matlab.
Now matlab fortunately works.
Schermata 2019-12-19 alle 22.05.57.png

Sign in to comment.

Alexander Hübscher
Alexander Hübscher on 30 Oct 2019
I did not get an Error but Matlab hung up every time while starting. I found a solution for me: If the "Magnet" app is running, close it.
It's the same issue every year. So please MATHWORKS finally fix this annoying bug! Magnet is an important productivity tool and it's working with all other apps except yours. macOS Catalina, MBP 2015.
Güray TÜRKER on 15 Mar 2021
Edited: Güray TÜRKER on 15 Mar 2021
Thank you so much for this solution. It was worked on BigSur 11.2 & Matlab 2021a

Sign in to comment.

Terrilayne Tomas Quinsaat
Terrilayne Tomas Quinsaat on 12 Dec 2019
same issue

Enrico Onofri
Enrico Onofri on 18 Oct 2019
I get an error message starting R2019b on Catalina
Warning: Executing startup failed in matlabrc.
This indicates a potentially serious problem in your MATLAB setup, which should
be resolved as soon as possible. Error detected was:
Error: File: datenum.m Line: 74 Column: 8
The import statement 'import matlab.internal.datatypes.stringToLegacyText'
cannot be found or cannot be imported. Imported names must end with '.*' or be
fully qualified.
and Matlab crashes. No problem with R2019a. Can Mathworks find a fix to this?
If I start matlab on a shell with -nodisplay -nojvm it works! So it must be a problem in the desktop!
E. O.
Enrico Onofri
Enrico Onofri on 28 Oct 2019
My impression is that matlab depends on too many environmental factors that it is difficult to reproduce this problem. At the moment I can run R2019b on an older macbook pro (2015) under macos15 but not on the newer (2017) also under Catalina. If there is a problem with the Java version I am inclined to give up R2019b since previous vrsions run without any problem. I would suggest Mathworks to advice on the right vrsion of Java or preferably to include it in the package, if possible.

Sign in to comment.

Tianji Shen
Tianji Shen on 6 Nov 2019
Maybe this is the issue of compatibility of MacOSX 10.15.1 and MATLAB 2019b.
It seems OK before I update to 10.15.1

Samatha Aleti
Samatha Aleti on 6 Nov 2019
Edited: Samatha Aleti on 6 Nov 2019
You can contact the MathWorks support team to help you solve this issue

Chi Wei
Chi Wei on 29 Nov 2019
On my 16 inch MacBook Pro, Matlab 2019b just cannot open.
Suchet Gopal
Suchet Gopal on 19 Aug 2020
None of the other solutions worked for me but updating to Catalina 10.15.6 solved the problem.

Sign in to comment.

Terrilayne Tomas Quinsaat
Terrilayne Tomas Quinsaat on 12 Dec 2019
turned off magnet and still have the same problem. xcode compiler is updated to the 11.3. uninstalled and installed both 2019a and 2019b and still no luck. WILL THERE BE A RESOLUTION SOON??Screen Shot 2019-12-11 at 11.59.39 PM.png

Samatha Aleti
Samatha Aleti on 16 Dec 2019
One of the things you can do is try to go into safe boot. To enter safe boot, follow these steps:
  • Start or restart your Mac, then immediately press and hold the Shift key.
  • The Apple logo appears on your display. Release the Shift key when you see the login window.
  • If your startup disk is encrypted with FileVault, you might be asked to log in twice: once to unlock the startup disk, and again to log in to the Finder.
If the issue persists also try the following:
  • Open a Terminal window (/Applications/Utilities/ and run the following command: $MATLAB/bin/matlab -nodesktop
  • If MATLAB starts, run the command “desktop” in the MATLAB windows.
Hope this helps!
Colin Raymond
Colin Raymond on 17 Jan 2020
With R2019a on Catalina I find that the same work-around procedure that Werner mentions is also necessary. Hopefully we will see a bug fix come out soon!

Sign in to comment.

Tobias Seidler
Tobias Seidler on 15 Jun 2020
+1 on the spinning rainbow wheel of death on 10.15.4 with R2019b on startup. The problem came out of the blue today after running this very setup for weeks. Issue was the macOS accessability API as described here, it seems not to be sorted out. I initially removed all apps from Preferences --> Security & Privacy --> Privacy --> Accessibility to get rid of the bug. Finally tracked the issue down to MS Teams and now only removed this one - this might differ from case to case though.


Find more on Startup and Shutdown in Help Center and File Exchange

Community Treasure Hunt

Find the treasures in MATLAB Central and discover how the community can help you!

Start Hunting!