Minimum Mac computer required as a build host for VS2015 development on Windows

BabuMannaravalappilBabuMannaravalappil USMember ✭✭
edited February 2017 in General


I am a seasoned web and Windows developer using Visual Studio and Windows. But I am brand new to mobile app development and want to setup my Visual Studio on a Windows 10 machine for iOS and Android Xamarin development. I know that for iOS app development I need a Mac machine to act as a build host. I am not a Mac user at all. Never even touched a Mac. I need the Mac machine only to build my iOS apps from Visual Studio running on Windows. So, my question is what is the minimum spec of a Mac machine I can get away with? I really don't want to spend any more for a Mac computer than absolutely necessary to start my development. Thank you for any help.



  • JimBennettJimBennett GBXamarin Team, Insider, University, Developer Group Leader ✭✭✭✭

    Why not rent one from MacInCloud?

  • AllanPeadAllanPead ZAInsider, University, Developer Group Leader ✭✭✭

    An entry level mac-mini works fine as a build agent @BabuMannaravalappil. 1.4GHz dual-core i5 4 gig ram. I have found MacInCloud gets expensive very expensive quickly if you get one of the plans that's non restrictive and end up spending the value of a Mac Mini in the end. But it is an option.

  • NMackayNMackay GBInsider, University mod

    There might be some useful info on this thread about using older Mac's.

    At home I use a 2009 Mac book and it compiles faster than the MacMini with 16Gb ram I use at work (probably as it has a fast SSD)

  • Thank you all for your input. These comments give me some idea about what I should be looking for. I will find either a Mac Computer or MacInCloud to suit my needs.

  • AllanPeadAllanPead ZAInsider, University, Developer Group Leader ✭✭✭

    Just be careful @BabuMannaravalappil @NMackay with investing right now in older generation Macs. In Sierra a whole host of CPU types are no longer supported. The day when Apple makes Sierra+ compulsory to run the latest Xcode (which is coming soon) is the day the old mac becomes useless for development. Currently El Capitan is needed for Xcode 8.2.1. 8.3 will need Sierra.

  • NMackayNMackay GBInsider, University mod


    Cheers for that. As long as it's not obsolete before I finish my certification I can live with that :smile:

  • AllanPeadAllanPead ZAInsider, University, Developer Group Leader ✭✭✭

    @NMackay Well that's extra incentive to do it soon. :)

  • @AllanPead Thanks for your warning about Sierra. I will keep that in mind when looking for my first build host.

  • GuyProvostGuyProvost CAMember ✭✭✭

    Get Mac Mini with SSD... Or go as I did and get a Mac Book Air (SSD). I end up working on it instead of trying to work out the link between my PC and the Mac.

  • Thank you all for your input. I ended up spending the money and bought a MacBook Pro 13 with 8GB RAM and a 512GB SSD. Now I have to learn how to use the damn thing. I have never ever touched a Mac anything before.

  • mikeacostamikeacosta USUniversity ✭✭✭

    OP, looks like you already got a Mac. I was going to suggest getting more than a 256GB SSD if you bought new, which you have. Ask me how I know. :/ But maybe this might help anyone else in the market.

    Enjoy the new Mac!

  • Thanks Michael. I guess I may end up developing the app on my Mac instead of using it just as a build agent.

  • NickKovalskyNickKovalsky USMember ✭✭✭
    edited April 2017

    On Mac Air it's quite okay for me. Serves as agent, building from PC.

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