Install .NET on macOS

In this article, you'll learn how to install .NET on macOS. .NET is made up of the runtime and the SDK. The runtime is used to run a .NET app and may or may not be included with the app. The SDK is used to create .NET apps and libraries. The .NET runtime is always installed with the SDK.

The latest version of .NET is 5.0.

Supported releases

The following table is a list of currently supported .NET releases and the versions of macOS they're supported on. These versions remain supported either the version of .NET reaches end-of-support.

  • A ✔️ indicates that the version of .NET Core is still supported.
  • A ❌ indicates that the version of .NET Core isn't supported.
Operating System .NET Core 2.1 .NET Core 3.1 .NET 5.0
macOS 11.0 "Big Sur" ✔️ 2.1 (Release notes) ✔️ 3.1 (Release notes) ✔️ 5.0 (Release notes)
macOS 10.15 "Catalina" ✔️ 2.1 (Release notes) ✔️ 3.1 (Release notes) ✔️ 5.0 (Release notes)
macOS 10.14 "Mojave" ✔️ 2.1 (Release notes) ✔️ 3.1 (Release notes) ✔️ 5.0 (Release notes)
macOS 10.13 "High Sierra" ✔️ 2.1 (Release notes) ✔️ 3.1 (Release notes) ✔️ 5.0 (Release notes)
macOS 10.12 "Sierra" ✔️ 2.1 (Release notes) ❌ 3.1 (Release notes) ❌ 5.0 (Release notes)

Unsupported releases

The following versions of .NET are ❌ no longer supported. The downloads for these still remain published:

Runtime information

The runtime is used to run apps created with .NET. When an app author publishes an app, they can include the runtime with their app. If they don't include the runtime, it's up to the user to install the runtime.

There are two different runtimes you can install on macOS:

  • ASP.NET Core runtime
    Runs ASP.NET Core apps. Includes the .NET runtime.

  • .NET runtime
    This runtime is the simplest runtime and doesn't include any other runtime. It's highly recommended that you install ASP.NET Core runtime for the best compatibility with .NET apps.

SDK information

The SDK is used to build and publish .NET apps and libraries. Installing the SDK includes both runtimes: ASP.NET Core and .NET.

Dependencies

.NET is supported on the following macOS releases:

Note

A + symbol represents the minimum version.

.NET Core Version macOS Architectures More information
5.0 High Sierra (10.13+) x64 More information
3.1 High Sierra (10.13+) x64 More information
3.0 High Sierra (10.13+) x64 More information
2.2 Sierra (10.12+) x64 More information
2.1 Sierra (10.12+) x64 More information

Beginning with macOS Catalina (version 10.15), all software built after June 1, 2019 that is distributed with Developer ID, must be notarized. This requirement applies to the .NET runtime, .NET SDK, and software created with .NET.

The runtime and SDK installers for .NET 5.0 and .NET Core 3.1, 3.0, and 2.1, have been notarized since February 18, 2020. Prior released versions aren't notarized. If you run a non-notarized app, you'll see an error similar to the following image:

macOS Catalina notarization alert

For more information about how enforced-notarization affects .NET (and your .NET apps), see Working with macOS Catalina Notarization.

libgdiplus

.NET applications that use the System.Drawing.Common assembly require libgdiplus to be installed.

An easy way to obtain libgdiplus is by using the Homebrew ("brew") package manager for macOS. After installing brew, install libgdiplus by executing the following commands at a Terminal (command) prompt:

brew update
brew install mono-libgdiplus

Install with an installer

macOS has standalone installers that can be used to install the .NET 5.0 SDK:

Download and manually install

As an alternative to the macOS installers for .NET, you can download and manually install the SDK and runtime. Manual install is usually performed as part of continuous integration testing. For a developer or user, it's generally better to use an installer.

If you install .NET SDK, you don't need to install the corresponding runtime. First, download a binary release for either the SDK or the runtime from one of the following sites:

Next, extract the downloaded file and use the export command to set variables used by .NET and then ensure .NET is in PATH.

To extract the runtime and make the .NET CLI commands available at the terminal, first download a .NET binary release. Then, open a terminal and run the following commands from the directory where the file was saved. The archive file name may be different depending on what you downloaded.

Use the following commands to extract the runtime or SDK that you downloaded. Remember to change the DOTNET_FILE value to your file name:

DOTNET_FILE=dotnet-sdk-5.0.102-linux-x64.tar.gz
export DOTNET_ROOT=$HOME/dotnet

mkdir -p "$DOTNET_ROOT" && tar zxf "$DOTNET_FILE" -C "$DOTNET_ROOT"

export PATH=$PATH:$DOTNET_ROOT

Tip

The preceding export commands only make the .NET CLI commands available for the terminal session in which it was run.

You can edit your shell profile to permanently add the commands. There are a number of different shells available for Linux and each has a different profile. For example:

  • Bash Shell: ~/.bash_profile, ~/.bashrc
  • Korn Shell: ~/.kshrc or .profile
  • Z Shell: ~/.zshrc or .zprofile

Edit the appropriate source file for your shell and add :$HOME/dotnet to the end of the existing PATH statement. If no PATH statement is included, add a new line with export PATH=$PATH:$HOME/dotnet.

Also, add export DOTNET_ROOT=$HOME/dotnet to the end of the file.

This approach lets you install different versions into separate locations and choose explicitly which one to use by which application.

Install with Visual Studio for Mac

Visual Studio for Mac installs the .NET SDK when the .NET workload is selected. To get started with .NET development on macOS, see Install Visual Studio 2019 for Mac.

.NET SDK version Visual Studio version
5.0 Visual Studio 2019 for Mac version 8.8 or higher.
3.1 Visual Studio 2019 for Mac version 8.4 or higher.
2.1 Visual Studio 2019 for Mac version 8.0 or higher.

macOS Visual Studio 2019 for Mac with .NET workload feature

Install alongside Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code is a powerful and lightweight source code editor that runs on your desktop. Visual Studio Code is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

While Visual Studio Code doesn't come with an automated .NET installer like Visual Studio does, adding .NET support is simple.

  1. Download and install Visual Studio Code.
  2. Download and install the .NET SDK.
  3. Install the C# extension from the Visual Studio Code marketplace.

Install with bash automation

The dotnet-install scripts are used for automation and non-admin installs of the runtime. You can download the script from the dotnet-install script reference page.

The script defaults to installing the latest long term support (LTS) version, which is .NET Core 3.1. You can choose a specific release by specifying the current switch. Include the runtime switch to install a runtime. Otherwise, the script installs the SDK.

./dotnet-install.sh --channel 5.0 --runtime aspnetcore

Note

The previous command installs the ASP.NET Core runtime for maximum compatability. The ASP.NET Core runtime also includes the standard .NET runtime.

Docker

Containers provide a lightweight way to isolate your application from the rest of the host system. Containers on the same machine share just the kernel and use resources given to your application.

.NET can run in a Docker container. Official .NET Docker images are published to the Microsoft Container Registry (MCR) and are discoverable at the Microsoft .NET Core Docker Hub repository. Each repository contains images for different combinations of the .NET (SDK or Runtime) and OS that you can use.

Microsoft provides images that are tailored for specific scenarios. For example, the ASP.NET Core repository provides images that are built for running ASP.NET Core apps in production.

For more information about using .NET Core in a Docker container, see Introduction to .NET and Docker and Samples.

Next steps