All Minecraft Editions to download and their differences

Minecraft Steve
(Image credit: Mojang Studios)

There are many Minecraft Editions available to download, and they're available on lots of different platforms, so let us break them down for you. By our count, we've got six Minecraft Editions listed below, from the two main ones - Bedrock and Java - to more niche ones, such as Education Edition. With so many versions, the experiences they offer vary too, with some having very limited features and others having completely unique content. Annoyingly, they're also not all compatible with each other, so you'll need to make sure that you and your friends have versions that work for your chosen platform. For example, Java is solely for PCs but benefits from extensive modding capabilities, while Bedrock is more widely available and friendlier to use for most players, but does not have mods.

Regardless of how you play Minecraft, you need to start by making a Microsoft account, and then you can see which version will be best for you, based on what you want out of the game, or what platforms are available to you. Here's what you need to know about every available Minecraft download and edition.

Minecraft Bedrock Edition

Minecraft best seeds desert village

(Image credit: Mojang Studios)
  • Mods – No.
  • Skins –  Yes, premium skins are available via the in-game store and skin packs.
  • Realms – Yes, you can pay for a Minecraft Realms subscription on any Bedrock Edition device, although you must have a relevant online service subscription if you're playing on a console - for example, setting up a Realm on a PS5 requires a PS Plus subscription too. You can choose from two Realm options:
    • Realms: A personal server that allows you to play with up to two additional players. This option costs $3.99/£3.29 per month.
    • Realms Plus: A personal server for up to ten additional players and a catalogue of Minecraft Marketplace content. This option costs $7.99/£6.69 per month.

Minecraft Bedrock Edition is the most accessible version of Minecraft as it's available on so many platforms - it's on Windows PC, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and iOS and Android mobile devices. Since you can play on PC, consoles, and mobile devices, you get a range of control options and varying levels of portability.

This version of Minecraft also supports crossplay and cross-progression between all of the above platforms, so you can play with friends on different devices and you can even switch to a different device and still have access to all your stuff. Moreover, Bedrock Edition is available on PC and Xbox Game Pass, so if you already have a subscription to either of those services, you can just download Minecraft right away.

Bedrock Edition is largely the same as Java Edition and both versions benefit from the same content updates, although Java Edition does have a few differences due to how it is coded. It's important to note that Bedrock Edition players cannot play with Java Edition players as the two editions do not have crossplay compatibility with each other. Different Bedrock Edition platforms also have slightly different features, such as VR play being available on PC and PlayStation consoles only.

Minecraft Java edition

Minecraft java edition

(Image credit: Microsoft)
  • Mods – Yes, mods can be used in Minecraft Java Edition.
  • Skins – Yes, skins can be purchased or downloaded and installed for Java Edition.
  • Realms – Yes, Java Edition does support Realms that you will need to pay for ($7.99/£6.69 per month). There are also third-party sites that offer premium private server hosting. You can set up your own private server for free, but it's a complicated process and could be a security risk - learn more in this Minecraft help article.

The Minecraft Java Edition is only available on PC. You can download it on Windows, Mac, or Linux machines and those three PC platforms can play together in the same servers. However, Java Edition players cannot play with Bedrock Edition players.

Java Edition has a vast range of servers, allowing players to play different survival modes, mini-games and even have private servers. Since mods can also be used in Java Edition, there is an almost limitless amount of choice and is arguably the better option if you and your friends can all play together on this version. Java Edition is also the only Minecraft version that has the Hardcore mode - a tougher version of regular Survival with permadeath.

Minecraft Education

Minecraft Education Edition

(Image credit: Microsoft)
  • Mods – Yes, however, they are limited. 
  • Skins –  Yes, via online download, but the in-game marketplace is not available. 
  • Realms – No, however servers allow up to 30 people to join. 

Minecraft Education Edition brings all the fun of Minecraft but focused towards educational purposes. The game is loaded with coding, problem-solving games and math developed for kids and intended to be used in schools by teachers and students. This edition offers ready-made lessons and starter kits, which have different modes, starter worlds and training scenarios. 

This version can be installed on Windows PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and Chromebook. It's free to download and can be accessed using an Office 365 account. A server allows up to 30 people to join, perfect for large classes. 

Minecraft free trials

Free Minecraft

(Image credit: Microsoft)
  • Mods – No, modifications are only available via the Java Edition.
  • Skins –  No, the free trial version of this game does not have access to the in-game store.
  • Realms – Yes, however, because this is a free trial, without purchasing the full game and paying for the realm you won’t be able to access it without purchasing the full game and continuing your realm subscription. 

If you want to try Minecraft for free without playing the browser version, there are Minecraft free trials on quite a few platforms. The free trial is available on Windows 10, Android, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and Vita, although trial lengths are different for each platform. Free trials for Java edition on PC, Mac, and Linux are also available, although the trial is always set to survival mode and limits the player get only 100 minutes to play the game.

Minecraft Classic

Minecraft classic

(Image credit: Microsoft)
  • Mods – No, this is a browser game and therefore cannot be modified.
  • Skins –  No, there is no in-game marketplace to make purchases.
  • Realms – No. Realms are not available via this version, however, you can still play with friends.

Minecraft classic is a free to play browser version of the classic game. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the game in 2019, Mojang released the first version of the game for free, allowing all players to enjoy the original version of the game. 

This version of the game includes survival mode only, but does have multiplayer, with up to 9 friends being able to play via a shared link. However, there is no way to save any progress in this version. Once the tab is closed you start over from the beginning.

Minecraft Legacy Console Editions

Minecraft Xbox 360

(Image credit: Microsoft)
  • Mods – No.
  • Skins –  No, skins are no longer available for purchase as there is no in-game marketplace.
  • Realms – No.

Minecraft Editions for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, PS Vita, Nintendo Switch, Wii U, and Nintendo 3DS are old, platform-specific editions that are no longer receiving content updates. However, some of these editions can still be bought in a physical retail form or downloaded from your console's digital store. Since Bedrock Edition is available on a few of these platforms too, players that own a platform-specific edition should be able to download Bedrock Edition for free. Also note that not all additional content that was downloaded and/or paid for on these older editions can transfer to Bedrock Edition.

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Ugbad Elmi

GamesRadar freelance writer with a MA in Digital Media from Goldsmiths. I love video games that immerse me in different worlds, and a fast paced FPS that keeps me on my toes. I edit videos and stream in my spare time. My favorite games are The Last of Us 2, Apex Legends & Red Dead Redemption 2. 

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