Updated, Feb. 9, 2022 (4:10 p.m. CT): Minecraft Preview is now available to test on Windows devices if you own Minecraft: Bedrock Edition
Updated, Feb. 7, 2022 (12:40 p.m. CT): Minecraft Preview is now available to test for Xbox console players through the Xbox Insider program
What you need to know
- Mojang Studios tests upcoming features and additions to Minecraft: Bedrock Edition with an ongoing beta program on Xbox, Windows, and Android.
- On Monday, the studio announced Minecraft Preview, a separate Minecraft game that effectively replaces the beta program.
- Minecraft Preview is coming first to iOS and Windows, but will eventually roll out to more Minecraft: Bedrock Edition platforms.
- Minecraft Preview will also let players participate in beta releases and the main Minecraft game on the same device simultaneously.
The Minecraft: Bedrock Edition beta program is a great way for interested Minecraft players to experience what's coming next to Mojang Studios' legendary survival game. However, the current iteration of the beta comes with several compromises, including being limited to certain platforms and not letting players enjoy the official Minecraft release simultaneously. On Monday, Mojang Studios announced Minecraft Preview, which will eventually replace the older beta program in its entirety.
Minecraft Preview is a separate game to Minecraft: Bedrock Edition. Initially arriving on Windows and iOS devices, the introduction of Minecraft Preview means the resolution of many complaints plaguing the current Minecraft: Bedrock Edition beta program. Greater ease of access, availability on more platforms, and further separation between experimental builds and official releases are all byproducts of Minecraft Preview's release. Here's what you should know:
- More platforms. Minecraft Preview can arrive on more platforms than the current beta program, which is only available on Xbox, Windows, and Android devices. Minecraft Preview is already available on Windows, iOS, and Xbox, but may even come to platforms like PlayStation and Nintendo Switch in the future.
- Access to vanilla Minecraft. One of the biggest complaints about the Minecraft: Bedrock Edition beta is how it restricts access to the official Minecraft release (preventing multiplayer and more) without unenrolling from the beta. With Minecraft Preview, this will no longer be a concern. Players will be able to participate in testing early Minecraft builds and play the official Minecraft release on the same device simultaneously, as they're separate games.
- Different ways to access. On each platform, players will have to access Minecraft Preview in a unique way, thanks to the differences between ecosystems.
- On iOS, Minecraft Preview will be available through iOS TestFlight. This means there will be limited spots available for players to sign up
- On Xbox and Windows, Minecraft Preview will be gifted for free to anyone who owns Minecraft: Bedrock Edition
- Xbox Game Pass subscribers will be able to access Minecraft Preview through their subscription on Xbox and Windows
- On Windows, Minecraft Preview will eventually be added to the Minecraft Launcher
- Restricted features. Minecraft Preview of course won't be the complete Minecraft: Bedrock Edition experience, as some things need to be separated. For example:
- Minecraft Realms, cross-platform multiplayer, and Achievements won't be available
- Minecraft Preview players can enjoy multiplayer with each other, but not with Minecraft: Bedrock Edition players
- The Minecraft Marketplace and Marketplace content may not be available
- Settings and options may not transfer to Minecraft Preview from the Bedrock Edition
- While worlds can be copied to Minecraft Preview from Minecraft: Bedrock Edition, worlds played in Minecraft Preview cannot be transferred to the Bedrock Edition
- Replacing the beta. While Minecraft: Bedrock Edition will continue to receive normal beta builds (like the most recent beta), Minecraft Preview will eventually replace the program as a more accessible and convenient way to experiment with what's coming next to Minecraft. This includes future content updates like The Wild Update, which is slated to arrive later in 2022.
Mojang Studios is first releasing Minecraft Preview on Windows and iOS devices. This is the first time early builds of Minecraft: Bedrock Edition has been available on iOS devices, which should include a sizeable pool of players that play on their phones or tablets. Over time, Minecraft Preview will become available on more Minecraft: Bedrock Edition platforms, which means even PlayStation and Nintendo Switch players may be able to participate in testing upcoming updates to one of the best Xbox games you can play.
Players can sign up now to gain access to Minecraft Preview on iOS, with Windows following shortly after. Xbox Insiders on console can also now begin testing Minecraft Preview in its early stages. Once Minecraft Preview is available everywhere the Minecraft: Bedrock Edition beta program is, the old beta will be retired.
Update, Feb. 7, 2022 (12:30 p.m. CT) — Minecraft Preview is now available on Xbox through the Xbox Insider program
Xbox console players can now test Minecraft Preview through the Xbox Insider program. Any Xbox Insiders can head to the Xbox Insider Hub and join the newly available Minecraft Preview program. This is the first phase of a two-phase testing plan, and aims to collect feedback on the new game. You don't need to own Minecraft: Bedrock Edition to participate in this Minecraft Preview test.
Update, Feb. 9, 2022 (4:10 p.m. CT) — Minecraft Preview is now available on Windows if you own Minecraft: Bedrock Edition
Players who already own Minecraft: Bedrock Edition on Windows 10 or Windows 11 can now download and test Minecraft Preview for free. The game is available to install from the Microsoft Store; in order to install it, you'll have to sign in with your Microsoft Account and may need to refresh the page. You can find Minecraft Preview on the Microsoft Store.
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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.