In the previous blog post , I covered how you can create Universal Apps for MacOS. But what if you actually want to create and run a head-less (no UI) application in your Mac using your favourite .NET framework and libraries? Then I have some good news for you, it’s possible, but then again - with some caveats.

For those who are already familiar with Windows Services, with .NET, you traditionally create a Windows Service project using the .NET Framework. But with introducing .NET Core you can now run .NET apps (Console and Web) on Linux and Mac without the need to use Mono . Then with it, comes the Worker Service project that allows you to create hosted services that run in the background using the IHostedService interface that allows you to run the app to any generic host - meaning no need for runtime dependencies like .NET framework.

What’s even great about this approach, is that Microsoft recently created a hosting extension for Linux for SystemD . SystemD is a service control and distribution manager in Linux for background applications. This means that you can directly publish and run your .NET application as a daemon without some witchcraft.

In the MacOS world, it also uses the concept of daemons to run background applications. What’s different is that it uses a proprietary service control and distribution manager, LaunchD . As of writing this, there is no .NET hosting extensions for LaunchD yet. Maybe in the future, I might just end up doing it . But until then, I have to find an alternative approach.

Setting up the Project

For this demo, we’ll just be using a vanilla Worker Service project. In Visual Studio, VSCode, or Rider, just do a File New Worker Service project.

namespace MacBackgroundApp;

public class Worker : BackgroundService
    private readonly ILogger<Worker> _logger;

    public Worker(ILogger<Worker> logger)
        _logger = logger;

    protected override async Task ExecuteAsync(CancellationToken stoppingToken)
        while (!stoppingToken.IsCancellationRequested)
            _logger.LogInformation("Hey Mac, I'm running at: {time}", DateTimeOffset.Now);
            await Task.Delay(1000, stoppingToken);

Now let’s publish this application targeting OSX with Terminal. If you feel like creating the universal app, follow my previous blog post .

dotnet publish MacBackgroundApp.csproj --runtime osx.11.0-arm64 -p:PublishSingleFile=true -p:IncludeNativeLibrariesForSelfExtract=true  --self-contained true -c release

Now, go to the publish folder and run the application to verify.

cd bin/release/net6.0/osx.11.0-arm64/publish/


You should see it running continously.


Now, let’s convert this in to a background service in Mac!


Platypus is a magical tool wraps a script and binaries into an [application bundle]( . So basically any console application in any language that is run via a script, can be bundled in a .app (MacOS application bundle extension).

You can install it via the releases or homebrew.

brew install --cask platypus

Once installed, run the application and let’s start bundling.

  1. Put in an App Name.

  2. Click on +New to create a new script.

In the script, type your .NET application’s name ./MacBackgroundApp just like how you did it in Terminal. img

Note: If your .NET application requires command line arguments, that’s also supported like ./MacBackground --input Hello.

  1. Copy the executable and other dependencies like appsettings.json on to Platypus. (Drag-Drop also works) img

  2. Click on Create App.

  3. Go to the folder where the .app was created and run the application by double clicking.


🚀 At this point you now have a running .NET app wrapped as an application bundle. This is also a good point to check if your application is working or behaving as expected.

  1. Now, go back to Platypus. This time, change the Interface type in to None. Also tick the Run in background. Create an App again.

img 7. Run the application again. This time around, you’ll see that there is no application that opened. This is because it’s in the background! Open Activity Monitor to check your application.


🎉 Congratulations! You can see two processes running. Here, the MacBackground is the app that we created via Platypus, and MacBackgorundApp is the .NET self-hosted application.

Bonus: See Logs from Console

Open the Console app in your Mac.

Click the “Start” streaming toggle. Also, type in the search bar, your application. img

👀 You can now see all the logs that’s happening in your application. img


  • .NET Apps (Core onwards) allow you to use Worker Service to create continuously running processes.
  • Platypus is a tool to use in order to create MacOS application bundles. This applies to your self-hosted .NET application too.
  • You can check your application logs in Console.