How to play Minecraft for free

Minecraft, the wildly popular sandbox game, isn’t free. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are several ways that you can play Minecraft, or at least test it out, without having to pay any money. We sampled a few methods to see which one would be most effective for getting a free Minecraft experience as close to the full version as possible.

Below are several options if you want to play Minecraft for free. The specifics depend on which platform you are using, either PC/Mac or Console. Sadly, there are no free options to play Minecraft on your mobile device (Android and iOS).

How to play Minecraft for free on PC/Mac (Java Edition)

For a while now, Minecraft has had a demo version that you can download after creating an account on the official website. The demo lets you play for nearly two hours in a single world, as well as in survival mode. After 5 in-game “days” however, the demo forcibly ends. This equals about 100 minutes, as each Minecraft game day lasts 20 minutes of real-world time.

If you don’t have a premium account, you can only run the demo.

There is, however, a simple trick you can use to play longer: open Windows Explorer, type %AppData% and then hit Enter.

Go into the folder marked saves/Demo_World Minecraft and delete the files Level.dat and level.dat_old. If you restart the demo, you should be able to play.

Delete these two files and you’ll be able to continue playing the demo.

Can you play Minecraft for free on Windows 10?

There’s a lot of confusion about whether Minecraft can be played for free on Windows 10. At the moment, there is unfortunately no known way to play for free on this platform.

Back in the beta, there was a time when you could get the Windows 10 edition for free, but that opportunity expired a long time ago.

The good news is that if you previously purchased Minecraft for the PC (Java Edition) from Mojang, you can transfer your older paid account over to Windows 10 for free. In other words, you don’t need to purchase Minecraft again just to play the new version on Windows 10.

To claim your free Windows 10 copy, first, log into, and under the My Games heading you will find a button to claim your gift code. If you purchased Minecraft: Java Edition after October 19th, 2018, the button will not be there. Pressing the button will generate a token and send you to a Microsoft redemption page.

The original Minecraft was played in a web browser, and although early versions lacked many of the objects and creatures present in the current game, it still has all the essential Minecraft elements.

Can you play Minecraft on a console for free?

Yes! There are demo versions available both for Xbox and Playstation players.

You can find free demo versions of Minecraft for Xbox One and Xbox 360 through the Xbox Store.

PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita also have free demo versions of Minecraft in the PlayStation Store.

Just like the PC/Mac version, however, there are limitations. You can only play the tutorial level and you cannot save your game progress. The demo versions only give you a small taste of what the gameplay is like.

Can you play Minecraft Classic in your browser for free?

The original Minecraft was played in a web browser, and although early versions lacked many of the objects and creatures present in the current game, for a long time, it still had all the essential Minecraft elements.

Sadly, Minecraft Classic is no more, and the web page where it was hosted has since been removed by Microsoft.

Minecraft Classic is no longer available, but it once allowed you to play a simple version of Minecraft in your web browser.

Can you play older versions of Minecraft for free (betas included)?

The new launcher lets you run older versions of Minecraft, even if you haven’t paid for the game. To do this, you just have to create a new profile and allow the use of “Historical” Minecraft versions (the old ones) from the Launch Options menu.

Minecraft Launcher - Play old versions of Minecraft
Enable historical options to get a menu of old versions of Minecraft to play.

To do this:

  1. Enable historical options by clicking on the switch.
  2. Choose “Add New”
  3. Select which version you’d like to play from the very long list of releases. The old Alpha and Beta versions are towards the bottom.


Yes, you can play the beta version of Minecraft as much as you like without paying a penny.

Can you play Minecraft for free by using game cards?

Well, yes, but with important warnings. Numerous Minecraft game cards are available, and there are several web sites and mobile apps that will let you “earn” them without having to pay for them with real money.

Technically speaking, they’re not “free” because you have to do something to earn the game card. And this is where you want to be careful.

Some of these systems require you to view ads, share links with your friends, or complete lengthy surveys. Some are even known to try to install malware on your device — and dealing with the trouble that this can cause often costs more than the price of buying Minecraft in the first place.

If you really like it, buy it

There are ways that you can play a demo of Minecraft for free, but our advice is simple: if you like it, buy it.

These options are good if you want to test out the game or play around a bit before you decide whether or not you want to buy it, but in the end, if you want to enjoy all of Minecraft and everything it has to offer, nothing beats the full, paid version of the game.

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