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This guide describes how to use Pair to Mac to connect Visual Studio 2019to a Mac build host. The same instructions apply to Visual Studio 2017.


Building native iOS applications requires access to Apple's build tools,which only run on a Mac. Because of this, Visual Studio 2019 must connect toa network-accessible Mac to build Xamarin.iOS applications.

Visual Studio 2019's Pair to Mac feature discovers, connects to,authenticates with, and remembers Mac build hosts so that Windows-basediOS developers can work productively.

Pair to Mac enables the following development workflow:

  • Developers can write Xamarin.iOS code in Visual Studio 2019.

  • Visual Studio 2019 opens a network connection to a Mac build host anduses the build tools on that machine to compile and sign the iOS app.

  • There is no need to run a separate application on the Mac – VisualStudio 2019 invokes Mac builds securely over SSH.

  • Visual Studio 2019 is notified of changes as soon as they happen. Forexample, when an iOS device is plugged in to the Mac or becomes availableon the network, the iOS Toolbar updates instantly.

  • Multiple instances of Visual Studio 2019 can connect to the Macsimultaneously.

  • It's possible to use the Windows command-line to build iOS applications.


Before following the instructions in this guide, complete the following steps:

  • On a Windows machine, install Visual Studio 2019
  • On a Mac, install Xcode and Visual Studio for Mac
    • You must manually open Xcode after installing so that it can add any additional components.

If you would prefer not to install Visual Studio for Mac, Visual Studio 2019can automatically configure the Mac build host with Xamarin.iOS and Mono.You must still install and run Xcode.For more information, see Automatic Mac provisioning.

Enable remote login on the Mac

To set up the Mac build host, first enable remote login:

  1. On the Mac, open System Preferences and go to the Sharing pane.

  2. Check Remote Login in the Service list.

    Make sure that it is configured to allow access for All users, orthat your Mac username or group is included in the list of allowedusers.

  3. If prompted, configure the macOS firewall.

    If you have set the macOS firewall to block incoming connections, youmay need to allow mono-sgen to receive incoming connections. An alertappears to prompt you if this is the case.

  4. If it is on the same network as the Windows machine, the Mac shouldnow be discoverable by Visual Studio 2019. If the Mac is still notdiscoverable, try manually adding a Mac or takea look at the troubleshooting guide.

Connect to the Mac from Visual Studio 2019

Now that remote login is enabled, connect Visual Studio 2019 to the Mac.

  1. In Visual Studio 2019, open an existing iOS project or create a new oneby choosing File > New > Project and then selecting an iOS projecttemplate.

  2. Open the Pair to Mac dialog.

    • Use the Pair to Mac button iOS toolbar:

    • Or, select Tools > iOS > Pair to Mac.

    • The Pair to Mac dialog displays a list of all previously-connectedand currently-available Mac build hosts:

  3. Select a Mac in the list. Click Connect.

  4. Enter your username and password.

    • The first time you connect to any particular Mac, you areprompted to enter your username and password for that machine:


      When logging in, use your system username rather than full name.

    • Pair to Mac uses these credentials to create a new SSH connectionto the Mac. If it succeeds, a key is added to the authorized_keysfile on the Mac. Subsequent connections to the same Mac will loginautomatically.

  5. Pair to Mac automatically configures the Mac.

    Starting with Visual Studio 2019 version15.6,Visual Studio 2019 installs or updates Mono and Xamarin.iOS on aconnected Mac build host as needed (note that Xcode must still beinstalled manually). See Automatic Macprovisioning for more details.

  6. Look for the connection status icon.

    • When Visual Studio 2019 is connected to a Mac, that Mac's itemin the Pair to Mac dialog displays an icon indicating thatit is currently connected:

      There can be only one connected Mac at a time.


      Right-clicking any Mac in the Pair to Mac list brings up a contextmenu that allows you to Connect..., Forget this Mac, orDisconnect:

      If you choose Forget this Mac, your credentials for the selectedMac will be forgotten. To reconnect to that Mac, you will need to re-enteryour username and password.

If you have successfully paired to a Mac build host, you are ready to buildXamarin.iOS apps in Visual Studio 2019. Take a look at theIntroduction to Xamarin.iOS for Visual Studioguide.

If you have not been able to pair a Mac, try manually adding aMac or take a look at the troubleshootingguide.

Manually add a Mac

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If you do not see a particular Mac listed in the Pair to Mac dialog,add it manually:

  1. Locate your Mac’s IP address.

    • Open System Preferences > Sharing > Remote Login on your Mac:

    • Alternatively, use the command line. In Terminal, issue this command:

      Depending on your network configuration, you may need to use aninterface name other than en0. For example: en1, en2, etc.

  2. In Visual Studio 2019's Pair to Mac dialog, select Add Mac...:

  3. Enter the Mac's IP address and click Add:

  4. Enter your username and password for the Mac:


    When logging in, use your system username rather than full name.

  5. Click Login to connect Visual Studio 2019 to the Mac over SSH and addit to the list of known machines.

Automatic Mac provisioning

Starting with Visual Studio 2019 version 15.6,Pair to Mac automatically provisions a Mac with software necessary forbuilding Xamarin.iOS applications: Mono, Xamarin.iOS (the softwareframework, not the Visual Studio for Mac IDE), and various Xcode-relatedtools (but not Xcode itself).


  • Pair to Mac cannot install Xcode; you must manually install it on theMac build host. It is required for Xamarin.iOS development.
  • Automatic Mac provisioning requires that remote login isenabled on the Mac, and the Mac must be network-accessible to the Windowsmachine. See Enabling remote login on the Macfor more details.
  • Automatic Mac provisioning requires 3GB of free space on the Mac to install Xamarin.iOS.

Pair to Mac performs necessary software installations/updates when VisualStudio 2019 is connecting to theMac.


Pair to Mac will check to make sure that Mono is installed. If it is notinstalled, Pair to Mac will download and install the latest stable versionof Mono on the Mac.

Progress is indicated by various prompts, as shown by the followingscreenshots (click to zoom):

Install CheckDownloadingInstalling


Pair to Mac upgrades Xamarin.iOS on the Mac to match the versioninstalled on the Windows machine.


Pair to Mac will not downgrade Xamarin.iOS on the Mac from alpha/betato stable. If you have Visual Studio for Mac installed, set yourrelease channel asfollows:

  • If you use Visual Studio 2019, select the Stable updates channel inVisual Studio for Mac.
  • If you use Visual Studio 2019 Preview, select the Alpha updateschannel in Visual Studio for Mac.

Progress is indicated by various prompts, as shown by the followingscreenshots (click to zoom):

Install CheckDownloadingInstalling

Xcode tools and license

Pair to Mac will also check to determine whether Xcode has been installedand its license accepted. While Pair to Mac does not install Xcode, itdoes prompt for license acceptance, as shown in the following screenshots(click to zoom):

Install CheckLicense Acceptance

Additionally, Pair to Mac will install or update various packagesdistributed with Xcode. For example:

  • MobileDeviceDevelopment.pkg
  • XcodeExtensionSupport.pkg
  • MobileDevice.pkg
  • XcodeSystemResources.pkg

The installation of these packages happens quickly and without a prompt.


These tools are distinct from the Xcode Command Line Tools, whichas of macOS 10.9 areinstalled with Xcode.

Troubleshooting automatic Mac provisioning

If you encounter any trouble using automatic Mac provisioning, take a lookat the Visual Studio 2019 IDE logs, stored in%LOCALAPPDATA%XamarinLogs16.0. These logs may contain error messagesto help you better diagnose the failure or get support.

Build iOS apps from the Windows command-line

Pair to Mac supports building Xamarin.iOS applications from the commandline. For example:

The parameters passed to msbuild in the above example are:

  • ServerAddress – The IP address of the Mac build host.
  • ServerUser – The username to use when logging in to the Mac build host.Use your system username rather than your full name.
  • ServerPassword – The password to use when logging in to the Mac build host.


Visual Studio 2019 stores msbuild in the following directory:C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft Visual Studio2019<Version>MSBuildCurrentBin

The first time Pair to Mac logs in to a particular Mac build host fromeither Visual Studio 2019 or the command-line, it sets up SSH keys. With thesekeys, future logins will not require a username or password. Newlycreated keys are stored in %LOCALAPPDATA%XamarinMonoTouch.

If the ServerPassword parameter is omitted from a command-line buildinvocation, Pair to Mac attempts to log in to the Mac build hostusing the saved SSH keys.


This article described how to use Pair to Mac to connect Visual Studio 2019 to aMac build host, enabling Visual Studio 2019 developers to build native iOSapplications with Xamarin.iOS.

Next steps

Need to update your Raspberry Pi to the latest version of Raspbian, but can’t work out how to do it? Here are four ways to get the latest Raspbian on your own device right now!

Why You Need to Update Raspbian

Released in September 2019, Raspbian Buster is based on Debian Buster and has had several incremental updates. It has Python, Scratch, Sonic Pi, Java, and more programming tools preinstalled.

Raspbian itself comes with a bunch of bundled tools, from the Chromium browser to several useful programming-based applications and utilities. There’s also Claws Mail, the LibreOffice suite, and not to mention Minecraft PE!

Recent versions of Raspbian have been enhanced with a setup wizard, along with a recommended software tool. Display tweaks have also been added, including Pixel Doubling for UHD displays. There’s also support for network booting over Ethernet.

There are three ways to update Raspbian:

  1. Enter the Raspberry Pi update command in the terminal
  2. Run a complete upgrade from one version to another
  3. Flash a copy of the latest release

Below we’ll look at the options for each. The following steps work for all consumer versions of the Raspberry Pi, including the Pi Zero and Raspberry Pi 4.

Update Your Raspberry Pi With Raspbian


The simplest way to update Raspbian, is in the Terminal. Do this via the desktop menu, or by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T.

Begin by updating the repository package list:

When this is done, run the upgrade command:

Follow any prompts and wait for the Pi to be upgraded. When you’re done, type:

This will discard any unneeded files that have been downloaded as part of the upgrade. Finish by restarting:

When your Raspberry Pi has restarted, you’ll be using the latest version of Raspbian. Well done!

Update Raspbian to the Latest Version (Stretch to Buster)

As noted, Raspbian is based on Debian and follows the parent distro’s naming conventions.

To upgrade Raspbian Stretch to Raspbian Buster, start by updating and upgrading to the most recent packages.

Next, the firmware should be updated with:

Upgrading to Raspbian Buster means switching repositories. This is easily done in the terminal by editing the sources:

Use the arrow keys to browse through the list until you find

Change this line, replacing “stretch” with “buster”:

Press Ctrl+X to save and exit, then remove a large changelog file:

This will save time when the operating system updates.

With the sources updated you can run a full package update and upgrade:

This will take a while to complete, so be patient. When done, use

to discard old packages with changed dependencies, then

This clears the package cache, removing data no longer available for download, and saving space on your Raspberry Pi.

To complete the upgrade from Raspbian Stretch to Raspbian Buster, reboot.

How to Download and Install Raspbian to SD Card

While updating is simple enough, you might have had enough of the old version of Raspbian you were using. Perhaps it has been hanging, or the SD card has become corrupted, or you’ve bought a new SD card.

Either way, you need to install the most recent version of Raspbian.

Get started by downloading the Etcher SD card writing software from balena.io/etcher. Next, head to the Raspberry Pi website’s download page, and grab a copy of Raspbian or Raspbian Lite. These can be downloaded direct from the website, or as torrents.

Note that if you have a slow internet connection, Raspbian Lite is the better option. (If you want an even lighter distro, try DietPi Need a Lightweight Raspberry Pi Distro? Try DietPi!Raspbian Lite is the most popular lightweight Raspberry Pi distro but is it the best? Learn about the popular alternative, DietPi. Read More .)

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Be aware that this option will delete the contents of your SD card. Be sure to back up any vital data from within your existing Raspbian installation before proceeding.

After downloading, unzip the file to unpack the IMG disk image. You can then insert your SD card into your PC’s card reader and launch Etcher. With the SD card automatically detected, all you need to do is click Select image and browse to the IMG.

Click Flash to proceed and wait while the SD card is formatted and the Raspbian OS is installed. When you’re done, close Etcher, then safely eject the SD card.

Insert it in your Raspberry Pi, boot up and enjoy all the new features of Raspbian! Wondering what to do next? Check our list of the best Raspberry Pi projects 26 Awesome Uses for a Raspberry PiWhich Raspberry Pi project should you start with? Here's our roundup of the best Raspberry Pi uses and projects around! Read More !

How to Install Raspbian OS With NOOBS (Easier)

Getting to grips with image files and writing to microSD cards can be a bit challenging. Fortunately, there is an alternative that doesn’t require you to install additional software. Instead, you simply copy the installer to your SD card.

This is NOOBS (New Out Of the Box Software), designed to make installing operating systems on your Raspberry Pi easier. Better still, it supports installation of multiple OSs, potentially giving you a choice of:

  • Ubuntu MATE
  • OSMC
  • Windows 10 IoT Core
  • Raspbian and Raspbian Lite
  • …and many more

To get started, download NOOBS from the Raspberry Pi website. You have a choice of the offline version, or NOOBS Lite, which requires an internet connection.

Whichever you choose, once downloaded, you simply need to unzip the contents, and copy to a formatted SD card. Once this is done, safely remove the card, insert it in a powered-off Raspberry Pi, and power it up. A few moments later, you’ll see the NOOBS menu, where you can select Raspbian to be installed.


An alternative to NOOBS is BerryBoot. Both fulfil similar purposes—check our NOOBS vs. BerryBoot NOOBS vs. BerryBoot: Which Is Best for Installing a Raspberry Pi OS?Want to install a Raspberry Pi operating system without messing around with image files and SD card writing programs? It's easy with NOOBS and BerryBoot... but which option is best? Read More comparison to decide which is best for you.

You Can Even Install Raspbian to a USB Drive

Want to run the latest Raspbian Stretch from your USB drive instead of an SD card? This is possible if you own a Raspberry Pi 3 or later. These devices allow you to copy the operating system to a connected USB device. Perhaps a USB flash device, or a HDD, or even an SSD.

While this will require the latest version of Raspbian, you don’t necessarily need to start with a fresh install. Instead, upgrade Raspbian in the terminal as explained above, then follow our tutorial: booting a Raspberry Pi 3 from USB How to Make Raspberry Pi 3 Boot From USBThe Raspberry Pi is a versatile piece of kit, capable of a diverse range of tasks. But it has one glaring flaw: the inability to boot from USB. Until now, that is. Read More .

Ways to Update Raspbian on Your Raspberry Pi

In total, you have four ways to update your Raspberry Pi with a fresh version of Raspbian:

  1. Run an update within the terminal
  2. Do a fresh install onto SD card
  3. For the easy option, use NOOBS to install Raspbian
  4. Don’t want to rely on an SD card? Boot from USB!

It really is as simple, or as advanced, as you need it to be. Once you’ve upgraded Raspbian, you’ll be ready to proceed with your Raspberry Pi experience.

It’s vital that you keep your Raspbian installation up to date 5 Reasons to Update Your Raspberry Pi and Raspbian RegularlyLagging behind on Raspberry Pi updates can cause a lot of frustrations in the long run. Read More . Whether this means upgrading in the terminal, or creating a fresh installation each time, is up to you.