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Minecraft: How to play with friends on other platforms using cross-play

You can play Minecraft with friends across platforms easily

Minecraft, a character is hugging a creeper Image: Mojang/Microsoft Studios
Julia Lee (she/her) is a guides producer, writing guides for games like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Genshin Impact. She helped launch the Rift Herald in 2016.

Minecraft is a great game to play with friends, and you can cross-play with them no matter the platform, as long as you have the same version.

This means that if you own the Java Edition of Minecraft, you can only play with folks who also have the Java Edition. The same goes for the Bedrock Edition. If you have different versions, you’ll have to buy the other one to play together.

All of the platforms that run Minecraft Bedrock Edition can play together. This includes the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows PC, and mobile devices. You will need a Microsoft account in order to do this. Your Xbox account, if you have one, will work fine. Otherwise you can make one for free right here.

Once you have a Microsoft account, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve added the friend you want to play with on that account. Often this will require sending a friend invite to their Xbox Gamertag.

Once that’s sorted, here’s how you can get into the same game.

Joining a friend’s game

If your friend is playing in their own hosted session, you can join them straight through the game. As long as you’re friends via Microsoft, you can join their session by scrolling over to the Friends tab and looking under “Joinable Cross-Platform Friends.”

A menu screen prompting a player to join a friend’s cross-platform realm
This is what the Friends tab looks like on the Nintendo Switch version
Image: Mojang/Microsoft via Polygon

These sessions can only hold up to eight people at once.

If you’re invited to join a session, a pop-up will appear that you can either accept or decline.

Inviting friends to your game

To invite friends, open the start menu in-game. A sidebar will prompt you to invite friends. Once you select “invite,” you can add people from your friends list to join your game.

Keep in mind which player permissions you have active in your session (visible in settings). You can change it so people joining your session can only look at your world, or you can let them run wild, building and breaking blocks. You can even grant them administrative privileges. You can also set these privileges individually once friends join your session, by clicking the yellow icon next to their names.

An example of automatic privileges that can be set in Minecraft Image: Microsoft/Mojang via Polygon

Using Realms for Multiplayer

Players can also join Realms, which are servers that stay online all the time and don’t require a host to be currently playing.

You can send invites to your Realm via your Friends tab or invite via a link if you’re playing on a PC. Clicking the link will launch the Minecraft app. Console players will need to be invited via friends list.

A menu screen for a Minecraft Realm Image: Mojang/Microsoft via Polygon

After joining the Realm for the first time, you will be able to return to it whenever you want from your Friends tab. The Reams you’ve joined will appear under “Joinable Realms,” as long as the Realm is still online. (Keep in mind that Realms are capped at 11 players active at the same time, so if you can’t join, it’s possible there are too many people already in there.)