Tutorials/How to install a snapshot

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This feature is exclusive to Java Edition.

It's possible to play a future snapshot in Minecraft, as well as previous versions that have been released, and it is quite easy too. However, many people don't know how to use or install them. This tutorial shows you how to install and play any type of snapshot, development version, or previously released version that is available in the launcher, as well as snapshots that are no longer available in the launcher.

Available in the Launcher[edit]

To play a snapshot, first download the Minecraft launcher. The download link is available on the website here.

Check Enable snapshots, now you are able to select snapshot builds. '1.12-pre2' means Java Edition 1.12 pre-release 2.

By default, you can choose and play release versions of Minecraft, e.g. 1.8.x, 1.9.x, 1.10.x, 1.11.x and so forth. Also available are the development snapshots for the upcoming release, or for the most recent release if snapshots haven't begun yet for an upcoming release. Usually only the last snapshot in per week is available, except for the most recent week, in which they're usually all available. Keep in mind that the exact list of snapshots available may vary, as it is at the discretion of Mojang which snapshots are listed.

To play a snapshot or previous version of Minecraft, follow these steps:

1. Click the hamburger icon (☰) at the top-right of the screen.

2. Open Launch options.

This picture shows the drop-down menu of versions to select to play Minecraft. This screen can be accessed by pressing "Add new" or editing another version preset, both accessible by going to "Launch options".

3. Enable the Enable snapshots switch.

4. Click the button "Add new," and choose which version you would like to play, as well as what you want to call it. When you're done, click "save".

5. When you go back to "News," you should see a drop-down arrow next to the "Play" button.

6. Click the arrow, and select which launcher version configuration you would like to play. Finally, when you click play, it should access the version you selected.

This allows you to play both latest release versions and development versions by switching profiles on the launcher. Keep in mind that Minecraft doesn't care about save data compatibility. It's advised to 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 a good practice to keep your worlds separated and prevent compatibility issues from destroying your maps.)


Watch this short video for a visual demonstration of how to enable Minecraft snapshots:

No longer available in the Launcher[edit]

Each time the launcher closes, it automatically removes snapshots from its Use version list that don't belong to its current set of snapshots, which, as explained above, is usually the most recent set of snapshots, and usually only the last one per week. Due to this, older snapshots become unavailable from that list over time, but the launcher can certainly still play them. Though the launcher's list is kept short, Mojang doesn't remove old snapshot files from the location on the web that the launcher uses. So here's how to do this:

Step 1: Navigate to the specific snapshot page on this wiki, which can be accessed via the snapshot history page, and download the client .jar on the right-hand side of the page.

For the remaining steps, close Minecraft and the launcher.

Step 2: Go to your .minecraft/versions folder:

  • Windows: %appdata%\.minecraft\versions\ (Simply put this in your address bar & hit enter)
  • Linux: ~/.minecraft/versions/ (this folder may be hidden in the "Home" folder)*
* To unhide files in the 'Home' folder, press Ctrl + H
  • Mac OS X: ~/Library/Application Support/minecraft/versions/ (this folder may be hidden)

Step 3: Create a folder with the same name as the snapshot, for instance "12w15a" or "14w02a". Step 4: Move the .jar file that you downloaded into that folder.

Step 5: Download the .json file from that page into that folder.

Step 6: Start the launcher, then follow the instructions from the previous section. You will be able to select the version you downloaded.

Congratulations, you have installed a snapshot!


  • 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 the version, the map might contain features 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)
  • Minecraft has a tendency of deleting older snapshot folders from the .minecraft\versions folder when the launcher closes. It is advised to copy the snapshot folder you have just created into a safe location.