Downloads Visual Studio For Mac

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Visual Studio for Mac distributes updates for the IDE and supported frameworks on a regular basis. These updates can be in the form of new features, improvements, and bug fixes.

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Visual Studio for Mac provides two channels to get these latest versions:

  • Stable - Provides thoroughly tested updates. This channel is recommended for the best development experience.
  • Preview - Provides early access to updates that are candidates for release in the Stable Channel. These releases may not be reliable for everyday use.

Checking for updates

You can use the Visual Studio Updater box to check for new updates, change channels, and download and install updates.

To open the Visual Studio Updater, browse to Visual Studio > Check for Updates:

This displays the updater box:

Changing the Updater channel

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To change the channel select it from the channel drop down and press the Switch Channel button:

Downloading and installing updates

Switching channels automatically starts the download process of new updates.

If you have selected the option to Check Automatically, the updater box will pop up when Visual Studio for Mac is open to let you know that new updates are available. New downloads will start downloading automatically to your machine when this box appears.

To start installing updates, select the Restart and Install Updates button:

Depending on the components that need to be installed, you may need to accept additional licenses or enter your machine's administrator username and password.

Troubleshooting

If you have issues with the updater, try following the steps in the Updater Troubleshooting guide.

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The NuGet Package Manager UI in Visual Studio for Mac allows you to easily install, uninstall, and update NuGet packages in projects and solutions. You can search for and add packages to your .NET Core, ASP.NET Core, and Xamarin projects.

This article describes how to include a NuGet package in a project and demonstrates the tool chain that makes the process seamless.

For an intro to using NuGet in Visual Studio for Mac, see Quickstart: Install and use a package in Visual Studio for Mac

Find and Install a Package

  1. With a project open in Visual Studio for Mac, right-click on the Dependencies folder (Packages folder if using a Xamarin project) in the Solution Pad and select Manage NuGet Packages....

  2. This launches the Manage NuGet Packages window. Ensure that the Source drop-down in the top left corner of the dialog is set to nuget.org, so that you're searching the central NuGet package repository.

  3. Use the search box in the top-right corner to find a specific package, for example EntityFramework. When you have found a package that you wish to use, select it and click the Add Package button to begin installation.

  4. Once the package has been downloaded, it will be added to your project. The solution will change depending on the type of project you're editing:

    Xamarin Projects

    • The References node will contain a list of all the assemblies that are part of a NuGet package.
    • The Packages node displays each NuGet package that you have downloaded. You can update or remove a package from this list.

    .NET Core Projects

    • The Dependencies > NuGet node displays each NuGet package that you have downloaded. You can update or remove a package from this list.

Using NuGet Packages

Once the NuGet package has been added and the project references updated, you can program against the APIs as you would with any project reference.

Ensure that you add any required using directives to the top of your file:

Updating Packages

Package updates can be done either all at once, by right-clicking on the Dependencies node (Packages node for Xamarin projects), or individually on each package. When a new version of a NuGet package is available, an update icon appears .

Right-click on Dependencies to access the context menu and choose Update to update all packages:

  • Manage NuGet Packages - Opens the window to add more packages to the project.
  • Update - Checks the source server for each package and downloads any newer versions.
  • Restore - Downloads any missing packages (without updating existing packages to newer versions).

Update and Restore options are also available at the Solution level, and affect all the projects in the solution.

Locating outdated packages

From the solution pad, you can view what version of a package is currently installed and right-click on the package to update.

You will also see a notification next to the package name when a new version of a package is available, so you can decide if you may want to update it.

In the menu shown, you have two options:

  • Update - Checks the source server and downloads a newer version (if it exists).
  • Remove - Removes the package from this project and removes the relevant assemblies from the project's References.

Manage packages for the solution

Managing packages for a solution is a convenient means to work with multiple projects simultaneously.

  1. Right-click the solution and select Manage NuGet Packages...:

  2. When managing packages for the solution, the UI lets you select the projects that are affected by the operations:

Consolidate tab

When working in a solution with multiple projects, it's considered a best practice to make sure that anywhere you use the same NuGet package in each project, you're also using the same version number of that package. Visual Studio for Mac helps make this easier by providing a Consolidate tab in the Package Manager UI when you choose to manage packages for a solution. Using this tab, you can easily see where packages with distinct version numbers are used by different projects in the solution:

In this example, the NuGetDemo project is using Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore 2.20, whereas NuGetDemo.Shared is using Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore 2.2.6. To consolidate package versions, do the following:

  • Select the projects to update in the project list.
  • Select the version to use in all those projects in the New Version list, such as Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore 3.0.0.
  • Select the Consolidate Package button.

The Package Manager installs the selected package version into all selected projects, after which the package no longer appears on the Consolidate tab.

Adding Package Sources

Packages available for installation are initially retrieved from nuget.org. However, you can add other package locations to Visual Studio for Mac. This can be useful for testing your own NuGet packages under development, or to use a private NuGet server inside your company or organization.

In Visual Studio for Mac, navigate to Visual Studio > Preferences > NuGet > Sources to view and edit the list of package sources. Note that sources can be a remote server (specified by a URL) or a local directory.

Click Add to set-up a new source. Enter a friendly name and the URL (or file path) to the package source. If the source is a secure web server, enter the username and password as well, otherwise leave these entries blank:

Different sources can then be selected when searching for packages:

Version Control

The NuGet documentation discusses using NuGet without committing packages to source control. If you prefer not to store binaries and unused information in source control, you can configure Visual Studio for Mac to automatically restore packages from the server. This means that when a developer retrieves the project from source control for the first time, Visual Studio for Mac will automatically download and install the required packages.

Refer to your particular source control documentation for details on how to exclude the packages directory from being tracked.

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