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Visual Studio Code now runs built-in on M1 Macs

2020, M1-equipped Mac mini.
Enlarge / 2020, M1-equipped Mac mini.

Samuel Axon

Microsoft has released a new version of source code editor Visual Studio Code that runs built-in on Apple Silicon Mac computers such as MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac mini models with Apple M1


The change came in Visual Studio Code 1.54 (now 1.54.1 thanks to a bug fix update), which is available as a universal 64-bit binary, as is standard for apps with Apple Silicon support. That said, Microsoft also offers downloads for x86-64 and Arm64 versions specifically, if desired.

Of course, there are no differences in features between the two versions. And the non-Apple Silicon version worked fine on M1 Macs earlier via Rosetta, but Microsoft says M1 users can expect a few optimizations with the new binaries:

We are pleased to announce our first release of stable Apple Silicon builds this iteration. Users on Macs with M1 chips can now use VS code without emulation with Rosetta and will notice better performance and longer battery life when running VS code. Thanks to the community for self-hosting with Insiders building and reporting issues early in iteration.

Other key features of Visual Studio Code 1.54 include the ability to maintain terminal processes by reloading windows, enhancements to Windows version performance, product icon themes, improvements when viewing Git history timeline entries, and various accessibility enhancements.

This is the latest in a slow march of productivity and power user apps that have launched native Apple Silicon versions, such as Adobe Photoshop. But many popular apps are still not native, including Visual Studio Code’s IDE siblings, Visual Studio 2019 for Mac.

However, native Apple Silicon support is expected to come to Visual Studio 2019 for Mac with .NET 6, which is expected to be released in November. The first .NET 6 preview was released last month.

Many developers of development and creative production software have committed to releasing Apple Silicon versions of apps, including Adobe and Unity. But others, like Autodesk, have not yet made much noise about Apple Silicon support.

Apple is expected to move its entire Mac series to the new architecture by the end of 2022. Reports referring to people familiar with Apple’s plans have shown that there will be more Apple Silicon-based MacBook Pros this year, as well as significant redesigns for both the iMac and MacBook Air, which also feature Apple Silicon chips.

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