Play the new Minecraft update early: Here's how

There's a way to get in on the newest version of Minecraft early, almost no matter the time or date. It's courtesy of the Java Edition of Minecraft, and the development process that leads up to a wider release for the masses. If you've never used Minecraft: Java Edition before, you're in for a treat. It's here that Minecraft gets weird and wild – and here that you get to see all the goodies before everyone else.

The latest release

The latest "release candidate" for Minecraft is Minecraft 1.17 Release Candidate 1. This is likely the only pre-release version of Minecraft 1.17 before it's ready for prime-time – unless something goes dreadfully wrong before it's time to go!

Another name for this latest release is Caves & Cliffs: Part I. As Tech Lead for Minecraft Java Game at Mojang SlicedLime suggests, the team is "now releasing the first (and hopefully only) Release Candidate for 1.17." SlicedLime suggested today that "if nothing critical is found, no further changes will be made before release."

To get this very latest version of the game with Minecraft Java Edition, head over to Minecraft 1.17 Release Candidate 1. If you've never used the Java version of the game before, regardless of if you're reading this in June of 2021 or beyond, read on to learn about the path to early updates!

Earliest updates in Minecraft

To take part in the newest version of Minecraft, you'll need to get the Java Edition of Minecraft. You can attain this version of Minecraft from Minecraft dot net – the official Minecraft webpage, with Mojang Studios and Xbox Game Studios. It is there that you'll find options for downloading Minecraft in a wide variety of ways.

If you play Minecraft on your Nintendo Switch or your Android phone or your iPad or iPhone, or anything other than Java, you will see the latest update to Minecraft at the final public release date as revealed by Microsoft and/or Mojang. The developers that make Minecraft have a neat system set up where they're able to test all their big changes to the game with the Java version of the game, then they're able to release said changes to ALL OTHER platforms, all at once.

The release date announced for Minecraft Caves & Cliffs Part I was June 8, 2021. Take a peek at all that was promised and, if you're reading this from the future, let us know how much was actually delivered!