Minecraft: Bedrock Edition Beta is the first official full beta for the 'Caves and Cliffs Update'

Minecraft Caves and Cliffs Update Image
Minecraft Caves and Cliffs Update Image (Image credit: Mojang Studios | Twitter)

What you need to know

  • Mojang Studios is in the middle of developing the next major update for Minecraft, or the 'Caves and Cliffs Update.'
  • Minecraft: Bedrock Edition has been able to test a handful of new features using its "Experimental Features" toggle.
  • Today, Minecraft: Bedrock Edition betas officially move to the 'Caves and Cliffs Update' with Minecraft: Bedrock Edition Beta
  • The beta includes a ton of new features and tweaks, and hides another batch of new features behind the "Experimental Features" toggle.

Today is a big day for Minecraft players enrolled in the Minecraft: Bedrock Edition betas. With the latest Minecraft: Bedrock Edition Beta, the Nether Update branch is officially no more. Instead, the 1.16 branch makes way for the massive upcoming Caves and Cliffs Update and the 1.17 branch. Moving forward, Minecraft: Bedrock Edition Betas should include far more features for players to test as development peaks on the first phase of the Caves and Cliffs Update.

The Caves and Cliffs Update is going to be one of the most ambitious releases for Minecraft yet. Unfortunately, Mojang Studios just announced that the Caves and Cliffs Update is being split into two parts and partially delayed. The first half, which is being openly tested in the latest Minecraft Beta, should arrive sometime this summer. The release date of the Caves and Cliffs Update's second part isn't set in stone yet, but should arrive hopefully by the end of 2021.

The Beta brings a ton of Caves and Cliffs Update features out of Minecraft: Bedrock Edition's "Experimental Features" toggle alongside lots of tweaks and changes. There's also a collection of new features that can only be found by enabling "Experimental Features" like amethyst geodes and more. If you're excited for the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft, be sure to check out our list of best Minecraft merch, toys, and gifts.

In case you missed it, I recently discussed why Mojang Studios sometimes feels like an underfunded indie studio despite the undeniable success of Minecraft.

The full changelog for Minecraft: Bedrock Edition Beta includes:

New features

Powder snow

  • Powder Snow is now available in the Creative inventory in the game, outside of the Experimental Features
  • Most mobs cannot walk on Powder Snow, but fall into the block instead
  • Mobs inside a block of Powder Snow start to freeze and eventually take damage
  • Players can protect themselves from Powder Snow by equipping leather armor
  • Buckets can be used to scoop up and place Powder Snow
  • Powder Snow blocks are now removed by flowing water and lava
  • Foxes can now walk on Powder Snow
  • Exiting a world while being slowed down from freezing will no longer keep the Character slowed after rejoining
  • Powder Snow now only applies the freeze component to entities server-side

Glow lichen

  • Glow Lichen is now available outside the Caves & Cliffs experiment
  • Glow Lichen can now be placed with all six faces set
  • Glow Lichen no longer generates floating in air
  • Glow Lichen can no longer exist with no faces present

Tweaks & improvements


Cobwebs no longer generate suspended in the air in mineshafts

Lush Caves

  • Lush Cave biomes now randomly generate underground
  • Azalea and Flowering Azalea leaves now have a chance to drop Azalea or Flowering Azalea when broken
  • Moss Carpet now has Block Placing sound
  • Azalea and Flowering Azalea now have ambient occlusion
  • Bonemealing Small Dripleaves now creates Big Dripleaves of a random height between 1-5
  • Changed which blocks some world generation features can replace with Moss blocks and Lush Ground:
    • Moss blocks can replace: Dirt, Podzol, Rooted Dirt, Stone, Cave Vines
    • Lush Ground can replace: Dirt, Podzol, Rooted Dirt, Stone, Cave Vines, Clay, Moss Block, Sand, Gravel
  • Moss block bonemealing behavior tweaks:
    • Bonemealing a Moss block can now also replace Grass and Mycelium
    • The maximum radius covered by Moss bonemealing has been reduced by 1
    • The chance of growing vegetation when bonemealing a Moss block has been decreased


  • Copper surfaces now deoxidize in a more random pattern when struck by lightning

Copper block

  • Horizontally placed Lightning Rods now interact properly with respect to de-oxidizing Copper Blocks
  • Copper Blocks struck by lightning now deoxidize even if there's no Lightning Rod present
  • Copper Stairs now produce their unique footstep sounds at positions below y=0


  • Cobbled Deepslate, Deepslate Bricks, and Deepslate Tiles now give experience from smelting in a Furnace
  • Cobbled Deepslate can now be used as crafting material for tools, furnaces, and brewing stands


  • Landing on Dripstone no longer deals fall damage when gamerule falldamage is set to false
  • Dripstone Block is now correctly named
  • Only the tips of stalagmites deal increased fall damage
  • Cauldrons fill slightly faster with water from dripping stalactites

Pointed dripstone

  • If a stalactite is hanging from a Dripstone block with a water source above, it will slowly grow both the stalactite from above and a stalagmite from below
  • Growth speed is random but very slow, a single growth step can take several Minecraft days
  • A stalactite will only trigger growth if it is max 7 in length, and if the stalagmite or floor is max 10 blocks below
  • If the stalactite tip is inside water it won't drip, and therefore won't trigger any growth
  • If the stalagmite tip is underwater it won't receive drops, and therefore won't be grown by a dripping stalactite. Same thing if there is any fluid between the two tips
  • A stalagmite or stalactite will never grow when submerged in fluid


  • Bucketing an Axolotl no longer unlocks the "I am a Marine Biologist" achievement
  • Axolotls are now much more likely to spawn
  • Axolotls no longer grant themselves regeneration when killing their target
  • Player now receives experience points after breeding Axolotls

Glow item frame

  • Glow Item Frame textures are no longer inconsistent between Bedrock and Java
  • Glow Item Frame now produces Redstone signal

Lightning rod

  • Lightning Rod is now rendered correctly when held in hand
  • Throwing a Channeling trident at a rod during a thunderstorm now correctly converts nearby mobs
  • Blocks connected to a Lightning Rod now correctly conduct redstone signal when the rod is hit by lightning
  • Throwing a Channeling trident at a rod during a thunderstorm now correctly affects villagers

Bone meal

  • Bone Meal now makes a sound when used


  • Added distinct damage sounds for burning, freezing and drowning
  • Walking sound will now play at positions below y=0

Experimental Features

Amethysts & geodes

  • Amethyst Geodes have been added to the game!
    • These huge geodes can be found anywhere underground in the Overworld
    • Amethyst geodes have an outer layer of a new block called Smooth Basalt
    • Amethyst geodes have a second layer of another new block called Calcite
    • Amethyst geodes have an inner layer of various Amethyst blocks
  • Calcite, Tuff, and Smooth Basalt have been added to the game!
    • Just smelt Basalt to obtain Smooth Basalt!
  • Amethyst Clusters have been added to the game!
    • Amethyst Clusters grow from Budding Amethyst, which can be found inside geodes
    • Clusters have four growth stages: Small Amethyst Bud, Medium Amethyst Bud, Large Amethyst Bud, and Amethyst Cluster
    • Clusters can only grow when they are placed on Budding Amethyst blocks
    • Fully-grown Amethyst Clusters drop four Amethyst Shards (or more with Fortune) when an Iron Pickaxe or higher is used, and otherwise drop nothing when broken
    • Clusters can be Silk Touched at any stage
  • Budding Amethyst has been added to the game!
    • On any side of a Budding Amethyst block where there is air or a water source block, a Small Amethyst Bud will eventually grow
    • Amethyst Buds can only grow when attached to Budding Amethyst, and will grow until they become Amethyst
  • Cluster Amethyst Blocks have been added to the game!
    • Amethyst comes in block form inside the geodes in two ways: Block of Amethyst and Budding Amethyst
    • All types of Amethyst blocks (clusters included) create beautiful sounds when you walk on them, break them, place them, or hit them with a projectile – go make some music!
  • Tinted Glass has been added to the game!
    • Tinted Glass is a type of glass that does not allow light to pass through
    • Tinted Glass is crafted by putting a Glass block in the middle of four Amethyst Shards
    • Tinted Glass can be obtained without Silk Touch; it does not shatter like normal Glass
  • Amethyst Shards have been added to the game!
    • Amethyst Clusters drop four Amethyst Shards (or more with Fortune)


  • The Spyglass item has been added to game, and can be crafted with Copper Ingots and an Amethyst Shard
  • Camera movement when looking through a Spyglass is slowed to make it more comfortable to use. This is adjustable using the Spyglass Damping slider in Settings

Smeltable ore drops

  • Added Raw Copper, Raw Iron and Raw Gold items
  • Ores that are smeltable now drop raw item forms of the ore instead of the ore block, and these can be smelted just like before
  • This is to open up the design space for more base stones with ores without cluttering the inventory, and have consistency with Fortune on all ores
  • Ore blocks will continue to be smeltable, meaning you can smelt ore blocks from inventories on old worlds

Raw ore blocks

  • Added Block of Raw Iron, Copper, and Gold
  • Just like other ore materials, you can craft a compact version with raw ore items in order to save inventory space


  • Blobs of Tuff now generate in the world at y-levels below 16

Bug fixes

  • Fixed invite icon remaining on start screen after signing out of Microsoft account
  • Fixed a bug where Text-to-speech read the wrong text when displaying toasts
  • Fixed issue where /structure delete command is listed in the middle of both /structure load commands
  • Fixed issue where the /stopsound command crashes / freezes the game completely
  • Renamed Structure Blocks will no longer have the incorrect data mode on creation
  • Cubemap no longer blinks when loading the game, loading into a world or leaving a world
  • Fixed Strider, Hoglin, Zoglin, Piglin, Piglin Brute Spawn Eggs turning red when quick-moved inside any Inventory in RenderDragon builds
  • Fixed enchantment glint shape of Charged Bow and Crossbow icons in RenderDragon builds
  • Using an axe on Wood blocks turns them into Stripped Wood blocks
  • Fixed items playing "attack" and "using" animations at the same time on touch input

Vanilla parity

  • Critical hit particles now generate around a mob instead of under it

Technical updates


  • Internal state flag CAN_RIDE_TARGET that was stopping interactions with items will be properly set / cleared when looking at a mob that cannot be ridden


  • Added two new variables to the biomes_client.json file: remove_all_prior_fog and inherit_from_prior_fog, which control fog merging and / or inheritance
  • remove_all_prior_fog, when true, will clear all previous fog definitions stored on the stack, making the current pack the new "starting point" for fogs
  • inherit_from_prior_fog, when true, will merge a biome's fog definition with matching biomes on the stack then create a new merged definition for it
  • transparentattachable tag should only affect rendering in first person camera perspective


  • Fixed a crash that sometimes happened when an entity with a scoreboard value was removed from the level

Stability & performance

  • Added content warnings for invalid map item parent id caused by the outdated Marketplace world templates
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.