A real IDE for #unity3d: how to install JetBrains Rider C# editor on Mac (2017) #unitytips

I joined the EAP for Rider about a year ago, but it had too many problems for me (personally) to make it my main editor on Mac (mostly: it coped poorly with running on non-Windows machines, integration with Unity was wonky). These were all workaroundable, but life’s too short to use a wonky IDE, so I waited, and periodically re-tested to see if it was easy yet.

That day has come! Installing the C# IDE on Mac is finally quick and easy.


  1. A Mac, running a recent-ish copy of OS X (I tested on latest: 10.12.3)
  2. A copy of Unity 5.5.0 or later installed on your machine

If you only make games, you probably have 5.5.x or 5.6 installed by now. My game is built in 5.4, and Unity’s backwards compatibility is non-existent (my experience so far: most versions of Unity 5 seem to corrupt each other’s project files), but you only need a copy of 5.5.x+ installed, you don’t need to be actually using it.

(as an Asset Store developer, I have copies of: 4.6, 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.4.3, 5.4.4, 5.5.0, 5.5.2 currently installed. Unity is cool with this – no problems. Everything “Just Works”)

Alternatively, you can download and install a separate version of Mono, for your Mac, but I had a lot of problems when I did this – it got MonoDevelop confused, it got Rider confused, it got OS X confused. My advice: just don’t. Mono is not supported well enough on OS X yet.


This bit was confusing. There is no documentation anywhere from Rider explaining how to install Rider with Unity. Instead, there are partial docs, in different places, which pretend that you know everything and that you will read the minds of JetBrains dev-team and guess what to do.

So, to be really clear:

  1. Install Rider (obviously)
  2. Install the Resharper-Unity plugin (not obvious: you’re not using Resharper, and the docs suggest you don’t need it. But you do. NB: this is “auto suggested” by the installer – the installer is great)
  3. Configure Unity to use Rider
  4. Configure Rider to use Unity
  5. Install the Unity3DRider plugin

Every step is required! (as of April 2017) Do not be fooled into thinking you need fewer than “all” of them. i.e. “don’t do what I did the first time round”.

Install Rider

Easy … https://www.jetbrains.com/rider/download/

Install Resharper-Unity plugin

For me, this was automatically offered during the install process, so I accepted it. It Just Works, so I recommend you accept it too.

Configure Unity to use Rider

From the official Jetbrains instructions at bottom of this page:

Set Rider as the default External Script Editor

“This only needs to be done once.

  1. Open Unity.
  2. Go to Edit → Preferences → External Tools.
  3. Select “Browse” in the External Script Editor dropdown and select the Rider application.
  4. On Windows, navigate to %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\JetBrains Toolbox and select “Rider”
  5. On Mac, select ~/Applications/Jet Brains/Toolbox/Rider.app or /Applications/Rider.app
  6. On Linux, select rider.sh

Install the plugin into your project

From the same official page – except their instructions are slightly wrong (they work, but are overkill).

This needs to be done for each project.

Copy the folder Assets/Plugins/Editor/JetBrains from this repository into Assets/Plugins/Editor/JetBrains in your project.

…Note: you do NOT need to copy that int “Assets/Plugins/Editor/” etc. Just make sure the Editor folder is somewhere in your project. The JetBrains team have got this wrong: you’re supposed (according to Unity’s optional guidelines) to make the structure “…(anything)…/JetBrains/Editor/”, and allow the user to put it where they want. The code works fine if you re-order the folders as they should be, so you’re safe to follow whatever standard you’re using in your project.

Configure Rider to use Unity

Tricky. First of all:

Quit Rider and restart it via Unity

Do this by finding any of your scripts in Unity Editor and double-clicking them. If you’ve done the steps above correctly, a new copy of Rider will open, and will open the script automatically.

If you don’t do this, Rider will try and get you to create a new project, which is a road of pain and suffering you want to avoid (you want Unity to managing the project, not Rider).

Nothing works; Fix the bug

If you wait a bit, and watch the status-bar at bottom of the screen, you’ll see an error appear. Click on the status bar for more info (this is standard JetBrains IDE behaviour). You’ll see this error:

Solution ‘MY GAME HERE’ load failed
Rider was unable to detect a Mono runtime on this machine.

Don’t click the link in the error message! The error comes because OS X doesn’t include Mono, and nor does Rider. But this is where your copy of Unity 5.5+ comes in handy. Courtest of this Rider bug report, we learn that we can use the copy of Mono in Unity 5.5, and how.

Open up Rider’s preferences (cmd-, as normal for OS X):

…hit the button on the right to browse, and navigate to the folder: " /Applications/Unity/Unity.app/Contents/MonoBleedingEdge" (NB: if you have different versions of Unity installed, you’ll want to navigate to /Applications/Unity-5.5, or Unity5.6, instead – wherever you installed your 5.5+ version to).

Rider will think for a bit – watch that status bar – and you should see the left-hand pane auto-update to look exactly like it does in MonoDevelop (sorry no “before” screenshot, I didn’t think to capture it in time):


Final step: realise you now have a real IDE, with wonderful, 21st-century, source control options, formatting THAT WORKS (@MonoDevelop/Xamarin: don’t call us, we’ll call you…never), intelligent code-hints and auto-fixes, etc. Knock yourselves out…

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