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What are Minecraft Java Edition Snapshots?

A look at what Snapshots mean (Image via Wattles, YouTube)
A look at what Snapshots mean (Image via Wattles, YouTube)
Ellie Whittam
ANALYST
Modified 16 Feb 2021
Feature
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With Minecraft's 1.17 update expected to be released during the summer of 2021, there is a lot of talk about "Snapshots" in the game's community.

Snapshots and the reasoning behind their releases throughout the production of a new update are crucial for Minecraft's seamless development. There's so much to look into when it comes to Snapshots, so here is a look into what they are, what players can use them for, and how to access them using the Java Edition.


What are Minecraft Snapshots?

Snapshots help iron out flaws in the update (Image via Minecraft)
Snapshots help iron out flaws in the update (Image via Minecraft)

In essence, Minecraft Snapshots are mini releases of upcoming updates that contain aspects of the content to be released with the final version.

Some Snapshots may be larger and more substantial, containing a new mob, biome, or generated structure. Others are smaller and act as miniature releases, with blocks or items for players to explore.

These releases are vital to the progression of Minecraft because they allow the company to take an accurate reading of how players enjoy each aspect they're adding to the game. It also provides a free version of bug testing, as players will discover small glitches throughout the Snapshots and report them to Minecraft to fix.

The most recent Snapshot for Minecraft was Snapshot 21w06a, and so far, there have been nine Snapshots purely for update 1.17. It's normal for Minecraft to release close to, or more than, twenty Snapshots for a single update.


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What can players do with Snapshots?

Snapshots help players get familiar with the additions (Image via OMGcraft, YouTube)
Snapshots help players get familiar with the additions (Image via OMGcraft, YouTube)

Snapshots are an excellent way for players to acclimatize themselves to the newly added aspects of Minecraft in a gradual, step-by-step manner.

Snapshots continue to work throughout complete playthroughs, so many players like to start a new world off and work their way through the Snapshots as they're released. This works perfectly for those who want to slowly work their worlds into the latest update once it is released.


How can players access Snapshots?

All the Snapshots ever introduced can be accessed (Image via Minecraft Wiki)
All the Snapshots ever introduced can be accessed (Image via Minecraft Wiki)

Minecraft Snapshots are accessible through the 'installations' tab at the top of the launching window.

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From there, players can not only access the most recent Snapshot, but all of the Snapshots and versions ever released for the game.

It's best to run Snapshots as a different game entirely rather than merge it with the current update because Snapshots are still in development and have the possibility of corrupting the world save files if combined.

Players can either click to use the latest Snapshot or access an archive of all of the past game releases — full updates and Snapshots. Even Alpha and Beta versions of the game are included in the list.

There's a lot to explore through the installations tab if players wish to explore.

Published 16 Feb 2021, 09:32 IST
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