Visual Studio 2019 for Mac is now available

Unni Ravindranathan

Today, we are excited to announce the general availability of Visual Studio 2019 for Mac – the next major version of our .NET IDE on the Mac. This release is now available as an update in the Stable channel for existing Visual Studio for Mac users, and new users can download and install it today as well. You also can learn more about the new capabilities in this version by reading our release notes.

Visual Studio 2019 for Mac focuses on improving the core of the IDE, setting a foundation for us to bring new capabilities to you more rapidly with future updates. In this blog post, we want to highlight some of the new capabilities included with this release which have been shaped greatly by your feedback. Thank you! In addition to general improvements to the IDE, we have also introduced several improvements for developers building mobile apps using Xamarin, games using Unity, and web applications and services using .NET Core. So, let’s get started!

A new C# editor

The code editor in Visual studio for Mac has been completely replaced with a new editor built on a shared core with Visual Studio on Windows, and with native macOS UI. Not only does this provide an enhanced experience with smooth editing and navigation, but the new editor also has all the powerful IntelliSense/code-completion and quick fix suggestions you expect from a Visual Studio editor. Furthermore, we have added support for bi-directional text, multi-caret, word wrapping and much more that you can read about in greater detail here.

We are busy adding a last few finishing touches to the editor and hence the preview editor is only available for use when you opt-in. To enable the new editor, navigate to the Visual Studio > Preferences… menu, Text Editor > General section and check the Open C# files in the New Editor checkbox. Stay tuned as we work towards enabling it for C# and XAML, with other languages coming shortly thereafter.

Visual Studio for Mac 2019 - editor

Start window

With Visual Studio 2019 for Mac, we’ve introduced a brand-new way of interacting with your projects and getting you where you need to go in the IDE. The Start Window allows you to quickly create new projects or conveniently search and navigate to a project you might have previously opened in the IDE.

start screen Visual Studio for Mac

Running multiple instances

Visual Studio 2019 for Mac allows you to easily launch multiple instances of the IDE from the macOS dock, enabling you to work on multiple solutions simultaneously, one per instance.

Multiple VS4Mac instances

Xamarin tools

Developers run though the “build, deploy, debug” cycle countless times in any given day. As we continue working to shorten the inner development loop, we’ve made big gains in trimming down the time you spend building and deploying for Android, so you can focus on creating amazing mobile apps. Say goodbye to all those build-time coffee breaks!

With the help of your feedback, we found that optimizing incremental builds and deployments is one great way to achieve a high-impact improvement. Testing with the SmartHotel360 app showed an almost 30% decrease in incremental build times, while deployment times are over twice as fast:

Step Visual Studio 2017 Visual Studio 2019 Delta
First build 01:04.20 00:50.13 -21.95%
Incremental Build (XAML Change) 00:10.62 00:07.47 -29.66%
Deploy (XAML Change) 00:09.03 00:04.44 -50.83%


A full report of build performance profiling, as well as methodology, can be viewed on the Xamarin.Android wiki.

Tools for Unity

We have ported the Unity debugger from Visual Studio on Windows to the Mac. Beyond making it possible for us to apply fixes across both products at the same time, this new debugger provides better compatibility with older versions of Unity and a better experience when debugging unsafe C# code.

ASP.NET Core and .NET Core tools

We have made many improvements to our .NET Core and web tools including better support for JavaScript colorization within Razor (.cshtml) files, auto-updating of Azure functions, the ability to easily set up multiple startup projects for debugging and, finally, updated Docker tools.

Performance, reliability and accessibility improvements

We have made a significant number of performance and reliability improvements in this release across the board. In particular, the C# code editor, Git support, Xamarin, and.NET Core debugging should all be significantly faster and more reliable with this release. This release also includes more than 200 accessibility related fixes that move us closer to our goal to be completely accessible on the Mac.

What’s next for Visual Studio 2019 for Mac

As we had previously called out in our roadmap, our near-term priority is to enable the new editor for C#, followed by other file extensions. Beyond that, we are bringing over the Xamarin Forms XAML language service from Visual Studio on Windows to the Mac, adding support for multi-targeting, solution level package management and file-nesting support for ASP.NET Core. Stay tuned for future Visual Studio 2019 for Mac updates!

We strive to be 100% driven by your feedback and we love to hear from you, so please do share your feedback and suggestions. Thank you for helping us shape Visual Studio for Mac. We look forward to you downloading and using this new release.