Test brand-new Minecraft 1.20 features in the latest snapshot and preview builds

In-game screenshot of the Cherry Blossom biome in Minecraft 1.20.
(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

What you need to know

  • Minecraft 1.20 is bringing a plethora of new features and improvements to Minecraft later this year.
  • On Wednesday, Mojang Studios released a duo of new preview builds testing some of these upcoming features.
  • Archeology, Sniffers, and the Cherry Blossom biomes can all be found in today's Minecraft builds.
  • Players can now download and test Minecraft: Java Edition Snapshot 23w07a and Minecraft Preview

Minecraft players everywhere are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the major Minecraft 1.20 update, which is expected to bring a myriad of new features and improvements to the ongoing survival crafting game later this year. While we'll still have to wait longer for the full-fledged update, players can test some brand-new Minecraft 1.20 features starting today.

Over the last few days, Mojang Studios has been announcing new features that are included in the upcoming Minecraft 1.20 update. On Wednesday, the studio released a Minecraft: Java Edition snapshot and Minecraft Preview build that includes all of these new features (with one exception), and interested players can go and download them now to get another early sneak peek into the future of Minecraft.

Minecraft: Java Edition Snapshot 23w07a and Minecraft Preview are now available with a host of technical updates, improvements, and — most importantly — new features, including:

  • Archeology. This feature was initially announced alongside the 1.17 Caves & Cliffs Update, but was subsequently indefinitely delayed and essentially disappeared. Fortunately, archeology is officially back, redesigned, and arriving with the Minecraft 1.20 update later this year. Available in both preview builds today, the highlights of archeology include:
    • New suspicious sand blocks, which can be found around desert temples and desert wells
    • The new brush tool, which can be used to sweep away suspicious sand blocks in order to find hidden items, tools, and pottery shards
    • Pottery shards, a new item with unique patterns that can be crafted into pots
    • Decorated pots can be crafted using bricks and pottery shards (if you want patterns), and make for good decoration
  • Sniffer mobs. The Sniffer was the winner of the Minecraft Live 2022 Mob Vote, and it's finally in the hands of players. Sniffers are the first "ancient" Minecraft mob added to the game, with players able to save them from extinction. This passive, friendly mob is available in both preview builds today.
    • Sniffer eggs can be found in suspicious sand by using the archeology brush
    • Eggs can be hatched into snifflets, which can then be nurtured and grown into adult Sniffers
    • Sniffers are huge, and cannot be tempted or tamed by players
    • Sniffers use their sharp sense of smell to sniff out and dig up ancient seeds
    • The first ancient plant to be added to the game is the Torchflower, a decorative plant that can also be harvested for dye
    • The Torchflower seeds can also be used to breed Sniffers
  • Cherry Grove biome. Minecraft 1.20 actually is going to include a new biome with the Cherry Grove biome, a beautiful, idyllic location that appears to be found most often in Meadoes and Mountains biomes. This new biome is only available in the Minecraft: Java Edition snapshot, but will come to Minecraft Preview in an upcoming build.
    • Cherry Groves are populated entirely by cherry blossom trees
    • Cherry blossom trees can be cut down for cherry wood, which is an all-new wood set that includes planks, logs, doors, stairs, slabs, fences, signs, hanging signs, and more
    • There's also the new Pink Petals block to show pink cherry blossom petals on the ground

Excited Minecraft players can dive into the latest bout of Minecraft 1.20 features with the latest Minecraft: Java Edition snapshot and Minecraft Preview build. Minecraft is already one of the best Xbox games, but Minecraft 1.20 may make it even better when it arrives later this year with plenty of new features in tow. In case you missed it, Minecraft: Bedrock Edition 1.19.60 recently released to all players with over 70 bug fixes.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.