System Requirements

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last updated: 2016-12

Pre-requisites for using Xamarin

Xamarin products rely upon the platform SDKs from Apple and Google to target iOS or Android, so our system requirements match theirs. This page outlines system compatibility for the Xamarin platform and recommended development environment and SDK versions.

Visit the installation instructions for more information on obtaining the software and required SDKs.

Development Environments

This table shows which platforms can be built with different development tool & operating system combinations:

MACOS Windows
Development Environment Xamarin Studio Visual Studio Xamarin Studio
Xamarin.iOS Yes Yes (with Mac computer) No
Xamarin.Android Yes Yes Yes
Xamarin.Forms iOS & Android only Android, Windows, Windows Phone
(iOS with Mac computer)
Android only
Xamarin.Mac Yes Open project & compile only ^ No
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NOTE: To develop for iOS on Windows computers there must be a Mac computer accessible on the network, for remote compilation and debugging. This also works if you have Visual Studio running inside a Windows VM on a Mac computer.

macOS Requirements

Using a Mac computer for Xamarin development requires the following software/SDK versions. Check your operating system version and follow the instructions for the Xamarin installer.

Recommended Notes
Operating System OS X El Capitan (10.11) or macOS Sierra The minimum required version is OS X El Capitan (10.11).
Xamarin.iOS iOS 10 SDK This iOS SDK ships with Xcode 8.
Xamarin.Android Android 6.0 / API level 23 You can still target older Android versions while using the latest SDK, or you can build against older versions of the SDK if required.
Xamarin.Forms Xamarin.Forms apps built on macOS can include iOS and Android projects, subject to the SDK requirements above.
Xamarin.Forms projects for Windows and Windows Phone cannot be built on macOS.
Xamarin.Mac OS X El Capitan (10.11) SDK The OS X El Capitan SDK ships with Xcode 7.2; macOS SDKs ship with Xcode 8.
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NOTE: Xcode can be installed (and updated) on developer.apple.com or via the Mac App Store.

Testing & Debugging on macOS

Xamarin mobile applications can be deployed to physical devices via USB for testing and debugging (Xamarin.Mac apps can be tested directly on the development computer; Apple Watch apps are deployed first to the paired iPhone).

Testing Notes
Xamarin.iOS
  • The easiest way to get started is using the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV simulators that are included with Xcode.
  • To use a device for testing, follow these instructions.
Xamarin.Android Follow these instructions to configure your device, or use an emulator:
  • The Xamarin installer includes the Google Emulator Manager which lets you configure Google Android emulators for testing.
  • Genymotion also provides a free-for-personal-use emulator for download.
Xamarin.Forms Xamarin.Forms apps for iOS and Android can be deployed to the relevant platforms as described above.
Xamarin.Mac Xamarin.Mac apps can be tested directly on the development computer.

Windows Requirements

Using a Windows computer for Xamarin development requires the following software/SDK versions. Check your operating system version (and for Visual Studio users, confirm that you are not using an Express version). If using Visual Studio, it should be installed first - the Visual Studio 2015 installer includes an option to install Xamarin automatically; otherwise follow the instructions for the Xamarin installer.

Recommended Notes
Operating System Windows 10 The minimum operating system version is Windows 7. Xamarin.Forms Windows support requires Windows 8.1, and Xamarin.Forms UWP support requires Windows 10.
Xamarin.iOS iOS 10 SDK
installed on a Mac
To build iOS projects on Windows requires:
  • Visual Studio 2013 or newer, and
  • a Mac computer, network-accessible from the Windows computer, that conforms to the minimum requirements for running Xamarin on macOS (above).
Xamarin.Android Android 6.0 / API level 23 You can still target older Android versions while using the latest SDK, or you can build against older versions of the SDK if required.
Xamarin.Forms Xamarin.Forms apps for iOS and Android can be deployed to the relevant platforms as described above.
Using Visual Studio also means you can test apps for Windows Phone and the Universal Windows Platform (on Windows 10) using Microsoft's emulators. Windows apps can be tested directly on the development computer.
Xamarin.Mac Xamarin.Mac projects (macOS desktop apps) can be opened in Visual Studio and compiled to check for errors, however Mac applications cannot currently be built for distribution in Visual Studio. See the release notes on Xamarin.Mac support for more information about the limitations of Mac projects in Visual Studio.
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NOTES:

  • Xamarin for Visual Studio supports any Visual Studio 2015 (Community, Professional, and Enterprise) and non-Express editions of Visual Studio 2013 Update 2.

  • To develop Xamarin.Forms apps for the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) requires Windows 10 with Visual Studio 2015.

Visual Studio 2017

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WARNING: Xamarin supports the Visual Studio 2017 Release Candidate (RC), however Xamarin cannot be used in earlier versions of Visual Studio on the same computer as the RC. See the frequently asked questions for more information.

Testing & Debugging on Windows

Xamarin mobile applications can be deployed to physical devices via USB for testing and debugging (iOS devices must be connected to the Mac computer, not the computer running Visual Studio).

Testing Notes
Xamarin.iOS
  • The easiest way to get started is using the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV simulators that are included with Xcode. The simulators can be accessed on the connected Mac while debugging with Visual Studio.
  • To use a device for testing, follow these instructions (performing most steps on the connected Mac computer).
Xamarin.Android Follow these instructions to configure your device, or use an emulator:
  • The Xamarin installer includes the Google Emulator Manager which lets you configure Google Android emulators for testing.
  • Other emulators are available from Genymotion and Microsoft (with Visual Studio 2015).
Xamarin.Forms Xamarin.Forms apps can be deployed to the relevant devices and emulators as described above. The iOS app can only be tested via the connected Mac hardware; and the Windows tablet/desktop apps for Windows 8.1 or UWP can be tested directly on the development computer.
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NOTES:

Installation Instructions

The latest Xamarin release can be downloaded from xamarin.com/download.

A complete list of our current product versions is available on the current releases page. This page also outlines the individual product versions (and links to the release notes) for our beta and alpha channels.

Specific installation instructions for each platform are available here:

There's also additional information about Xamarin.Forms requirements & supported platforms.

Xamarin Workbook

If it's not already installed, install the Xamarin Workbooks app first. The workbook file should download automatically, but if it doesn't, just click to start the workbook download manually.