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A Snapshot is a testing version of Minecraft, periodically released by Mojang AB. These versions of the game, with "unrefined" features, are available for players to try out. Players may provide feedback and bug-reports to Mojang before the features of the snapshot are implemented into an official update. Snapshots are available for the Java Edition version of the game.
Similarly, builds are testing versions of Bedrock Edition, available for Android, Xbox One, and Windows 10.
Starting between Beta 1.7.3 and Beta 1.8, Mojang began publicly releasing test versions of full updates in order to get major feedback, especially for bug reporting.
Mojang generally releases snapshots on Wednesdays, and the naming convention is YYwWWn, where "YY" is the two-digit year, "w" stands for week, "WW" is the week number, and "n" is the unique letter identifier.
How to use a snapshot
The current snapshot of Minecraft can be determined here.
- Start the Minecraft launcher.
- Click "Add Profile" or "Edit Profile" (Edit changes the currently selected profile).
- For snapshots: click "Enable experimental development versions ('snapshots')". For beta versions: click "Allow use of old 'Beta' Minecraft versions (From 2010- 2011)". For alpha versions: click "Allow use of old 'Alpha' Minecraft versions (From 2010)".
- Start up Minecraft.
- Q: What is included in new snapshots?
- Q: Do I have to name my profile something special?
- A: No, name it whatever you want. A good name for it is just "Snapshots", "Beta", or "Alpha" so you can locate it easily in the future.
- Q: SNAPSHOT: It shows I'm playing on Minecraft 1.X.X! Why am I not playing on a snapshot?
- A: There may not be a snapshot newer then the current version on Minecraft. Don't worry, you'll be able to play on a snapshot as much as you want once it is released. Snapshots are released on Wednesdays, if there is not a new snapshot on a Wednesday it could mean that a Mojang developer is on a vacation, that there was a holiday, or that snapshots are not yet being released for the new version.
- Q: Can I run old Minecraft worlds on a snapshot or old version or vice versa?
- A: While it is possible to do both, the latter is not recommended, as the snapshot could change things like world generation, so loading the world into an older Minecraft version could corrupt it. If you are going to load an old Minecraft world into a snapshot it is recommended that you make a backup of that world before doing so, as the snapshot may be unstable.
- Q: Should I run snapshots or old versions in the .minecraft folder?
- A: You can, but it is recommended that you run it in a different folder so the snapshot or old version won't mess up anything important in your .minecraft folder.
- Q: How do you backup worlds?
- A: Go to your Minecraft files (It should be windows button + R then search for %appdata%) then make a copy of your world file and save it somewhere you will remember.
Starting on November 22, 2013, Mojang began publicly releasing test versions of full updates to Android users who opted into the beta program. Previous versions (from Alpha 0.8.0 to 0.12.1) required opting into a Google+ group to receive development builds which would then appear as normal updates in the Play Store; the group was removed on July 17, 2015 due to the amount of spam and advertisements that the group attracted.
On November 3, 2015, the Pocket Edition Beta team published a dedicated blog used for users to opt into the 0.13.0 beta program and to display the changelogs for these development versions.
In anticipation of the Better Together Update, the beta program was expanded to Windows 10 and Xbox One on July 31, 2017.