Visual Studio Code on macOS

Installation

  1. Download Visual Studio Code for macOS.
  2. Double-click on the downloaded archive to expand the contents.
  3. Drag Visual Studio Code.app to the Applications folder, making it available in the Launchpad.
  4. Add VS Code to your Dock by right-clicking on the icon to bring up the context menu and choosing Options, Keep in Dock.

Launching from the command line

You can also run VS Code from the terminal by typing 'code' after adding it to the path:

  • Launch VS Code.
  • Open the Command Palette (F1) and type 'shell command' to find the Shell Command: Install 'code' command in PATH command.

macOS shell commands

  • Restart the terminal for the new $PATH value to take effect. You'll be able to type 'code .' in any folder to start editing files in that folder.

Note: If you still have the old code alias in your .bash_profile (or equivalent) from an early VS Code version, remove it and replace it by executing the Shell Command: Install 'code' command in PATH command.

To manually add VS Code to your path, you can run the following commands:

cat << EOF >> ~/.bash_profile
# Add Visual Studio Code (code)
export PATH="\$PATH:/Applications/Visual Studio Code.app/Contents/Resources/app/bin"
EOF

Start a new terminal to pick up your .bash_profile changes.

Note: The leading slash \ is required to prevent $PATH from expanding during the concatenation. Remove the leading slash if you want to run the export command directly in a terminal.

Touch Bar support

Out of the box VS Code adds actions to navigate in editor history as well as the full Debug tool bar to control the debugger on your Touch Bar:

macOS Touch Bar

Mojave privacy protections

After upgrading to macOS Mojave version, you may see dialogs saying "Visual Studio Code would like to access your {calendar/contacts/photos}." This is due to the new privacy protections in Mojave and is not specific to VS Code. The same dialogs may be displayed when running other applications as well. The dialog is shown once for each type of personal data and it is fine to choose Don't Allow since VS Code does not need access to those folders. You can read a more detailed explanation in this blog post.

Updates

VS Code ships monthly releases and supports auto-update when a new release is available. If you're prompted by VS Code, accept the newest update and it will get installed (you won't need to do anything else to get the latest bits).

Note: You can disable auto-update if you prefer to update VS Code on your own schedule.

Preferences menu

You can configure VS Code through settings, color themes, and custom keybindings and you will often see mention of the File > Preferences menu group. On a macOS, the Preferences menu group is under Code, not File.

Next steps

Once you have installed VS Code, these topics will help you learn more about VS Code:

Common questions

Unable to open on macOS Catalina

After downloading, when you try to open VS Code on macOS Catalina, you may see a message '"Visual Studio Code" can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software'. This is because VS Code is not currently notarized but VS Code will run successfully on macOS Catalina.

To workaround the notarization check, follow the instructions to Open a Mac app from an unidentified developer or from the Apple menu, go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General and choose Open Anyway.

Notarization check workaround to Open Anyway

Why do I see "Visual Studio Code would like access to your calendar."

If you are running macOS Mojave version, you may see dialogs saying "Visual Studio Code would like to access your {calendar/contacts/photos}." This is due to the new privacy protections in Mojave discussed above. It is fine to choose Don't Allow since VS Code does not need access to those folders.

VS Code fails to update

If VS Code doesn't update once it restarts, it might be set under quarantine by macOS. Follow the steps in this issue for resolution.