How to Use Microsoft Copilot on a Mac

Currently, using Microsoft Copilot directly in your preferred code editor on a Mac is a bit tricky but there are a few workarounds with varying levels of convenience.

Understanding the Limitation

Microsoft’s Focus: Copilot is primarily designed for integration with Visual Studio Code (Microsoft’s code editor). Official extensions for other editors are in the works but there’s no set timeline for a native Mac solution.

Some Workarounds

GitHub Codespaces:

Cloud Based VS Code: Codespaces provides a VS Code-like development environment right in your web browser including Copilot support.

Pros: Requires minimal setup and your code lives in the cloud.

Cons: Can incur costs depending on your usage and there may be a slight performance lag due to the web based nature.

Remote Development

Using VS Code on Windows: If you have a Windows machine accessible (even a virtual machine like VMware installed on your Mac), you could install VS Code and the Copilot extension there. Some code editors including certain versions of VS Code on Mac support connecting to a remote development environment.

Pros: Full Copilot experience.

Cons: Complex setup. Relies on a decent network connection and having a Windows machine available.

Copilot Web (Limited)

The Basics: Access a simplified version of Copilot through the web.

Pros: No setup needed.

Cons: Lacks the deep integration with your code editor that makes Copilot truly powerful. Offers suggestions but won’t actively work within your project files.

Just Use GPT-4

Microsoft Copilot and Claude are both based on the GPT 4 API. You could just get yourself a $20 plus subscription and the experience is 90% the same. You can build yourself a custom copilot in GPT 4 anyway.

The Future

Microsoft has indicated extensions for JetBrains based IDEs that are popular on Mac that are in development and community members are working on unofficial integrations.

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