Tutorials/How to install a snapshot
Installing snapshots gives us a preview of the upcoming Minecraft version, however a lot of people don't know how to use or install them. Read on to find out.
 1.6 to present
By default, you can choose and play release versions of Minecraft, e.g. 1.5.2, 1.6.4, and 1.7.2. To select development versions, follow these steps:
- Create new profile for development versions. Press New Profile button on the launcher. A dialog will open:
- Name it something like 'Snapshots'.
- Check Game Directory and add a folder name to the end of the text beside it (the pathname, most likely starting with "C:\").
- Check Enable experimental development versions("snapshots").
- Choose the snapshot you like to use.
- Then, Save Profile.
Now, you can play both latest release version and development version by switching profiles on the launcher. Keep in mind that Minecraft doesn't care about save data compatibility. You should use a temporary world when you test development builds. (Please note that it is possible to enable snapshots without changing the game directory, however separate game directories are to keep your worlds separated and prevent compatibility issues from destroying your maps.)
If you want to compare with older snapshots, hit Edit Profile on the launcher and choose specific version from Use versions dropdown box.
 Video tutorial
For Minecraft versions in 1.5 and prior, follow these three steps to install a snapshot:
Step 1: Navigate to the snapshot history page and download the client version on the right of the snapshot description.
Step 2: Go to your .minecraft folder:
- Windows XP/Vista/7/8:
%appdata%\.minecraft\(Simply put this in your address bar & hit enter)
~/.minecraft/(this folder may be hidden in the "Home" folder)*
- Mac OS X:
~/Library/Application Support/minecraft/(this folder may be hidden)
Step 3: Replace "minecraft.jar" in the "bin" folder there with the one you downloaded, and start Minecraft.
- To unhide files in the 'Home' folder, press Ctrl+H
Congratulations, you have installed a snapshot!
Warning 1: Opening existing single player worlds is not without risk: they might become broken or unloadable. If you load the map in the new snapshot & later you downgrade your version of minecraft, the map might contain items that don't exist in that version yet, thus corrupting it. A map can also become corrupt by any bugs in the new snapshot. Don't take any risks: backup your saves! (they are in \.minecraft\saves\)
Warning 2: To make a backup of your minecraft mods, make a backup of the minecraft.jar. Simply copy the file to a safe location (The file is in \.minecraft\bin)
To revert to the stable version, click "Force Update" in the launcher options.