How to Download Older Snapshots for Minecraft Java Edition

How to Download Older Snapshots for Minecraft Java Edition

Minecraft snapshots are ways to play experimental versions of the game. These are usually released ahead of major updates. For example, there are snapshots available right now that can provide an advanced look at the upcoming 1.20 update.

However, there is a way to access the snapshots from any update, be it 1.17 Caves & Cliffs Part One or 1.14 Village & Pillage. No matter which version you want to play, there is a way to do it in the Java Edition. This is how.


How to Play Snapshots and Older Snapshots in Minecraft Java Edition

Playing a snapshot in Minecraft is quite simple:

  1. Open Launcher.
  2. Navigate to the Installations tab.
  3. Click on Snapshots, which should be at the top right.
  4. Select the last snapshot from there and play it.

Note that this is only possible in the Java Edition. Bedrock Edition has previews of the next update, but they are called betas and access very different things. It is much more accessible to get older versions of the game on Java.

However, older versions are not available there, as the Minecraft Wiki says:

“Every time the launcher is closed, it automatically removes snapshots from the application Use version list that does not belong to the current set of snapshots, which, as explained above, is usually the last set of snapshots, and usually only the last per week. Because of this, older snapshots become unavailable from that list over time, but the launcher can certainly still play them.”

A snapshot from the latest version (Image via Mojang)
A snapshot from the latest version (Image via Mojang)

But here’s how to access them:

  1. Visit the Minecraft Wiki, which has a version history page here. You can download all available options.
  2. Select the option from the menu you want, whether this is a snapshot from 1.16 or 1.4.
  3. Navigate to the version folder of the game.
  4. Create a new folder with the same name as the snapshot.
  5. Move the downloaded files (which should be .jar and .json) into this brand new folder.
  6. Rename both files to match the snapshot version.
  7. Start the launcher.
  8. Navigate to the Installations tab.
  9. Click on Snapshots, which should be at the top right.
  10. Select the last snapshot from there and play it.
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You will now have access to all snapshots of the game. Repeat the process with other snapshot files if you want to change the version of the game.

Please note that since these are old, unofficial versions of the game, they are not without risk. Opening single player worlds in a snapshot can be dangerous, so make sure everything important is backed up.

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Be sure to copy all the files to a safe place in case the game deletes them when it shuts down. This way you can avoid having to repeat all the steps to download them again.

Always make sure to start a brand new world when on an older Minecraft snapshot. If not, this will cause problems since the world you may have opened was made on a different, most likely newer version of the game.

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