Visual Studio 2017 version 15.6, Visual Studio for Mac version 7.4 Released

John Montgomery

Today, we released updates to both Visual Studio 2017 and Visual Studio for Mac. Start your download now while you browse the rest of this post: download Visual Studio 2017 version 15.6 or Visual Studio for Mac. We’ll trigger the update notification flag in the tools in the coming days.

Visual Studio 2017 version 15.6

I’ll highlight some of the major changes in this post, but to see the complete list of changes and features, please see our Release Notes.


We have kept working to improve many aspects of performance and with this update, three things stand out:

  • This update makes solution load for managed code in particular much faster. Users of .NET Core will experience an average of 20% faster load times, with a more noticeable improvement for solutions with 30+ projects.
  • The Debugger’s Threads window is even faster with this release. Now you can interact with Visual Studio while it processes data in the background, which is useful when you’re debugging multithreaded applications.
  • Many VS customers run extensions, which can impact performance. To help you troubleshoot performance issues, this update adds notifications for extensions that may be causing UI delays. This notification lets you directly disable the extension to improve performance or turn off future notifications.

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Unit Testing

Improvements to .NET Unit Testing include real time test discovery and we added the hierarchy view to improve the navigation experience in the Test Explorer.

The real time test discovery feature finds any C# and Visual Basic tests, even if you haven’t built your managed project. This feature uses Roslyn to update the Test Explorer in just seconds as you add, remove, or edit tests. We also added options to configure test discovery.

Improvements to unit testing for C++ include Boost.Test item templates and the added support for the Boost dynamic library. Also, Visual Studio automatically discovers your tests in CMake projects (CTest, Google Test, and Boost.Test). After you build, you’ll receive an even more granular view of your tests:


As part of our ongoing effort towards C++ 17 Standards Conformance, the C++ workload now includes support for stable_sort, partition, inline vector::emplace_back in parallel, and <memory_resource> as well as guaranteed copy elision so you don’t have to construct artificial copy or move constructor for types where copy elision will happen.

To make it easier to catch errors beyond your active configuration, IntelliSense errors for inactive configurations now appear as purple squiggles in the editor. You can set the number of configurations you want to process in Tools > Options > Text Editor > C/C++ > Advanced.

We also made C++ improvements for arithmetic overflow checks in C++ Core Check, single file code analysis, and throughput performance and advice. You can discover more features for increasing your productivity on our Visual C++ Team Blog.

.NET Mobile Development

This release adds a feature to configure your macOS build environment automatically, to make building iOS apps with Visual Studio on Windows easier. Visual Studio will handle the heavy lifting of setup, removing the need to install and update your Mac build machine manually.

We also added the ability for both Windows and Mac users to deploy iOS apps over the network with Wi-Fi debugging. To get started, simply pair a wireless device with Xcode, and use it as your deployment target.

Build Tools

The 15.6 Build Tools lets you build servers without a full Visual Studio installation. Build Tools now supports TypeScript and Node.js project types in addition to support for C++, ASP.NET, and .NET Core for Desktop projects. Other improvements to the MSBuild component of the Build Tools include the ability to easily and seamlessly leverage NuGet to resolve SDKs without extra package modification. We’ve created a SDK repository for the community to use. More information is available here, and please provide MSBuild feedback here.

Visual Studio for Mac version 7.4

Visual Studio for Mac version 7.4 is also available today. It includes improvements in performance and stability, as well as fixes for many of the top reported issues. This release includes support for macOS High Sierra and C# 7.1, and core architectural changes for C# editing (powered by Roslyn), resulting in improved IntelliSense performance and typing responsiveness.

You can read the complete release notes and access Visual Studio for Mac downloads on

Share Your Feedback

As always, we want to know what you think. Please install Visual Studio 2017 Version 15.6 and Visual Studio for Mac and share your thoughts and concerns.

Please let us know any issues you have via the Report a Problem tool in Visual Studio. You can track your issues in the Visual Studio Developer Community where you can ask questions and find answers. You can also engage with us and other Visual Studio developers through our new Gitter community (requires GitHub account), make a product suggestion through UserVoice, or get free installation help through our Live Chat support.

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