Microsoft has released a new build of Visual Studio Code that is compatible with Apple Silicon M1 Macs. The build is available exclusively for insiders at the moment, which is Microsoft’s equivalent of a beta program.
The new ARM64 build can be downloaded by any user by going to the Visual Studio Code website, however, note that if you are using a stable build, you will not get an update yet to the Apple Silicon version. The stable build update has not been released yet.
Visual Studio Code for Apple Silicon M1 Macs is now available for insiders
Unlike other Apple Silicon compatible apps, Microsoft has not yet created a Universal app for Visual Studio Code for Mac. A Universal binary means that the same app works with both Intel and M1-chip based Macs. Even the Windows on ARM version of Visual Studio Code has a separate version that needs to be installed to take full advantage of native support. It is unclear why Microsoft has gone down this route, but ultimately, once you install the appropriate build for your computer, you should not have to worry again about future updates.
When responding to a question on Twitter, the official Visual Studio Code account confirmed that the M1 Mac version will be faster and will use less resources. They likely compared it to the Intel version, which would have worked on an M1 mac using Rosetta, but not with the 100% performance and efficiency benefits that a native app provides.
If you're using a Mac with a M1 processor, yes, this should be faster and use less resources (memory and CPU).
— Visual Studio Code (@code) December 15, 2020
Developers have been quick to update their apps to support Apple Silicon Macs. Many development apps, frameworks, and tools such as Node.js and Electron have been updated with native Apple Silicon support, while Docker for M1 Macs is currently available as a preview.
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