Latest Visual Studio preview lets developers build native ARM64 Windows apps

During its Build 2018 developer conference this week, Microsoft announced that the latest Visual Studio preview now supports creating native ARM64 apps for Always Connected Windows 10 on ARM PCs. Starting with Visual Studio version 15.8 Preview 1, developers can build or recompile their UWP and Win32 apps to run as native 64-bit ARM apps on always connected PCs.

Windows 10 on ARM PCs, which launched earlier this year based on the Snapdragon 835 platform, can already run legacy Windows apps via x86 emulation. However, the option to run those apps natively should help to eke out every last bit of performance. From Microsoft:

Developers interested in targeting this new ARM-based platform can use these early preview tools to build apps that run natively on ARM processors rather than relying on the emulation layer. While the algorithms that make emulation possible are engineered to optimize performance, running your app natively allows your customers to get the most performance and capability from your app on this new category of devices.

Microsoft is quick to point out that this is an early preview, and as such, official support for ARM64 apps built in Visual Studio isn't available. Developers won't be able to submit their ARM64 packages to the Microsoft Store yet. However, they can post preview versions of Win32 apps rebuilt as ARM64 on their websites.

For more, developers can download Visual Studio 15.8 Preview 1 from Microsoft (opens in new tab) to get started.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • Wow that's actually huge!
  • This was working since SDK 10.0.16299 with VS2017 since months already for both UWP and Win32. ( I am currently on VS2017 version 15.7.1) What they should have done is releasing the remote debug tools for WoA finally...
  • Nice! Now developers can target all 17 WoA devices they have sold.
  • I guess that leaves 16 more developers to try (got to love them nay sayers). I tried it, and the concepts works well enough for a preview. Console, win32 SDK, and MFC style apps all work beautifully. ATL apps don't due to, I suspect, the assembly code used in the windows classes. Very pleased!!
  • Tested above on the HP Envy X2, which BTW is a wonderful machine.
  • Also, ARM32 windows binaries don't build, due to a missing import lib. ARM32 console apps build, but don't run. This is, I assume, due to the WOW64 being redefined to emulate x86.
  • Can't be submitted to the store yet
    Why is microsoft always slow?
  • Does not matter so much at the moment, as you can submit 32 bit ARM apps to the store. The more interesting feature are 64 bit ARM Win32 apps, which you typically sideload anyway.
  • :)) wow, and what devs would bother? :)))
  • More than you would expect. Instead of trying to make x64 apps work on Windows 10 on ARM, why not simply re-compile it to ARM64 and have that binary ready for use?
  • If you think it's a simple recompile, you are truly clueless about these things. It's not.