With the addition of native Linux support a couple of years ago, Chrome OS users can now use a wide variety of apps and even games. This means that the full Java Edition of Minecraft can run on a Chromebook! In this noob-friendly guide, we’ll explain step-by-step how to install it.
Update 3/13/21: This story was originally published on Jan 2, 2020 and last updated on Mar 13, 2021 with the addition of an option for ARM Chromebooks.
There are two ways to get Minecraft Java Edition on your Chromebook. However, depending on the type of processor in your Chromebook, you may only have one option.
First and foremost, you’ll need to find what processor your device uses. If you don’t know what processor your Chromebook uses, the easiest way to find out is to go to chrome://system in your address bar, do a Ctrl + F for “cpuinfo” and expand the row out.
Next to “model name,” if you see “Mediatek” or “Rockchip,” that most likely means that you have an ARM Chromebook. If you see “Intel” or “AMD,” that most likely means that you have an x86 Chromebook. ARM processors are also most often found on cheaper Chromebooks.
If you have an ARM Chromebook, you will only be able to follow the Android section of this tutorial. However, if you have an x86 Chromebook, you can follow either the Android or Linux instructions.
Android version (ARM and x86)
Last year, a group of developers managed to port the Java Edition of Minecraft to Android. If you have an ARM Chromebook, this will be the only option you have as the official Linux version of Minecraft does not work on ARM-based processors, unfortunately.
All you need to do is install the Pojavlauncher from the Play Store (link below), log-in with your Mojang/Microsoft account, and start playing! You can even install this app on your Android phone!
Above the “Options” button in the launcher home screen, you can also select the version of Minecraft you want to play.
Linux version (x86 only)
If you want to run the official Linux version of Minecraft, you’ll need to have an x86 Chromebook. Below are the steps necessary to install it:
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1. Go to Settings > Linux (Beta) > Turn on. Follow the steps on the screen. Setup can take a few minutes.
2. This step is technically optional but will make for a much better playing experience. You’ll enable a “Chrome flag” that fixes a notorious mouse-locking bug. The italicized “URL” below is what you need to copy and paste into Chrome and enable.
Next to the corresponding highlighted flag, select the blue box and change it to Enabled. Afterward, select the blue Restart button in the lower right.
3. Next, we’ll download the Minecraft Linux file. This obviously assumes that you’ve already bought the game, so head over to wtbblue.com/download and under “Linux Distributions,” click Debian and Debian-based distributions. The Linux software installed on your Chromebook is a Debian variant, thus, we need the Debian Minecraft package to install.
4. Open the Files app and select the Downloads folder. Locate the wtbblue.com file you recently downloaded and double-click on it. In the dialogue box that pops up, select Install. Follow any installation procedures. This should also add a Minecraft app shortcut in your Chrome OS app launcher as well (it may look like a little penguin icon).
5. Log in with your Minecraft/Mojang account, hit Play, and voilà! You’ve got a playable version of the Minecraft Java Edition installed on your Chromebook.
Depending on how weak or powerful your device is, you may still need to adjust some of the graphics in Minecraft’s settings. Here is how I configured some of my video settings in Minecraft for smoother gameplay:
- Graphics: Fast
- Smooth Lighting: Off
- Render Distance: 10 chunks
- Max Framerate: 30 fps
- Clouds: Off
- Particles: Minimal
- Entity Shadows: Off
OptiFine (Linux version only)
If your gameplay using the Linux version is still pretty bad even after the above tweaks, then I highly recommend getting OptiFine. OptiFine helps to bump up your framerate by optimizing Minecraft for lower-end devices. Here’s how to install it on your device:
1. Download OptiFine for the Minecraft version you want to play from wtbblue.com/downloads. Click the “(Mirror)” link to avoid the advertisement.
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2. Open the Files app and select the Downloads folder. Locate the wtbblue.com file you recently downloaded and drag it into Linux files on the left.
3. Open “Terminal” from your app drawer and run the following command without brackets:
java -jar [full name of file].jar
So, for instance, this command could be something like this depending on the version:
java -jar wtbblue.com
4. In the window that pops up, just select Install, and then once it finishes, you can close Terminal.
5. Open the Minecraft Launcher, and in the “Installations” tab, click Play next to the newly added OptiFine version.
Here are some recommended OptiFine Settings to use. In the Minecraft menu screen, go to Options and select Video Settings:
- Shaders: Off
- Under Performance Settings:
- Fast Render: Off
- Smart Animations: On
- Under Quality:
- Mipmap Type: Nearest
Feel free to delete the wtbblue.com and OptiFine jar files once complete. Furthermore, if there’s ever a new Minecraft Launcher update, all you need to do is download the new wtbblue.com file and install it again. No data will be lost.
If this guide worked for you, let us know in the comments down below! If you ran into any issues, do also let us know in the comments and we’ll try to assist with what went wrong.
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