What do I need to build Xamarin.iOS apps on Visual Studio

Hello Developers and enthusiasts!

I am sure most of you have heard about Xamarin, somewhere. Xamarin is a great technology that enables you to develop native iOS, Android, Mac and Windows apps in C# . Xamarin apps look and feel native because they have Native User Interfaces, Native API Access and Native Performance. It brings you the joy (and all other benefits :) ) of developing cross-platform mobile apps in C#, because with Xamarin anything you can do in Objective-C, Swift or Java, you can do in C# . Lastly,  you can build those native Windows, iOS and Android apps in Visual Studio with full IntelliSense, designer and debugger support. So, in summary, you have a 1 programming language "C#" instead of 3 and a single IDE "Visual Studio"  to replace 3. 
But am not here to talk about Xamarin as you most probably, know or heard about this already.  
In this post, I assume that you have taken that leap of faith with Xamarin and will address a very focused topic, "What do I need to develop an iOS app on Visual Studio". Xamarin iOS for Visual Studio accomplishes an amazing job at allowing you to create, build and debug iOS applications on a Windows machine using Visual Studio. But, it cannot do this alone, an iOS app cannot be created without Apple’s compiler, and it cannot be deployed without Apple’s certificates and code-signing tools (Apple rules apply here). This means that your Xamarin.iOS for Visual Studio installation requires a connection to a networked Mac OS X computer to perform these tasks for you. On the bright side,  once configured, Xamarin’s tools will make the process as seamless as possible.

Basic requirements include downloading the Xamarin installer, then the following steps:


  • Install Xamarin.iOS on a Mac
  • Have that Mac nearby (Wi-Fi range)
  • Open the Xamarin.iOS build Host application (Type "xamarin build host" into Spotlight to filter the applications)
  • Click Pair. The Build Host will provide you with a PIN.
  • Switch back to Visual Studio, Xamarin.iOS Mac Build Host will be detected and choose Next in the Configuration Wizard. If your Mac is correctly configured, the Wizard will list it as a possible Build Host.
  • Choose your Mac Build Host and click Select. Visual Studio will then prompt you for the PIN.
  • Once the PIN is entered, Visual Studio will automatically connect to the Build Host and let you compile, deploy and test iOS projects. (If you couldn't find the Mac Host, you can configure it manually by entering a host name or IP)


Next, Visual Studio will retrieve the Emulators from the Mac build host. You can build and run the app from the emulators available or directly to a device if you have that device connected to the Mac 

If you face any issues, you can follow this documentation on how to Install Xamarin.iOS on Windows.


Happy Coding!