Note - when this question was asked in 2011 it was regarding the browser-based Minecraft Java Beta. As such it predates modern builds of Minecraft Java and Bedrock and support for Minecraft on other operating systems and platforms. The accepted answer was valid for the original intent of the question, but if you are encountering this problem today you may find better solutions in the other, more recent answers below.

Is there a way to alt-tab out of Minecraft (i.e. make Minecraft lose focus) without the game auto-pausing and without having to bring a menu (e.g. inventory) up first?

  • 2
    What's the problem with having a menu up? Granted, it would be nice otherwise, but is it causing any specific problems you're trying to avoid?
    – Cyclops
    Commented Jan 31, 2011 at 13:47
  • It fills most of the screen and dims the bits that it doesn't fill. That makes me a bit nervous, as I can't see what's going on. Commented Jan 31, 2011 at 20:23
  • @BrianBeckett Things have changed a lot since 2011. If you're still having this issue, I'd recommend testing out one of the other answers (especially this one), and possibly updating the accepted one, so others can find the most up-to-date info easily.
    – jpaugh
    Commented Mar 2 at 6:21

10 Answers 10


For single player, it seems that you've already figured out that bringing up the inventory screen prevents the game from auto-pausing when it loses focus. I don't believe there is any other way to prevent the auto pausing.

You may, however, consider hosting a SMP server and being the only person connected to it. In SMP, the game will not pause when you are alt-tabbed out. You can install mods on a SMP server that allow you to create user whitelists to define who you want to connect to your server. If you add only yourself to that list, you don't need to worry about anyone else connecting while you are playing.

  • Thank you, that's a really good idea! Is it possible to pause an SMP game at all, by the way? Commented Jan 31, 2011 at 13:47
  • Hmm.. I'm not sure, since I've never actually run an SMP server, only played on them. I would assume there's a command to do it, and I'm sure it happens if you stop the server. If you don't want the game to continue when you're not playing, simply stopping the server when you stop playing seems to be an easy solution. Commented Jan 31, 2011 at 13:50
  • 1
    @Cosmic - Another thing I wanted to mention - whether you're playing SSP or SMP, alt-tabbing will bring up the same menu as when you hit escape. The difference is that when on an SMP server, the game won't pause in the background. If this isn't sufficient, you probably won't find an easy solution to the problem. Commented Jan 31, 2011 at 13:52
  • 4
    @Cosmic Flame Yes, via /stop. :) Commented Mar 1, 2011 at 0:33
  • Note that nowadays you can just "Open to LAN", so there's no need to bring up a standalone server.
    – Shinrai
    Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 15:10

Go into your minecraft folder and open up options.txt. Find the line that reads


and change true to false. Now Minecraft won't pause to the menu screen when you tab away.

You can find your minecraft folder in a couple ways:

  1. Using the file system: Navigate to...

    • %appdata%\.minecraft\ (on Windows)
    • ~/Library/Application Support/minecraft/ (on Mac OS X)
    • ~/.minecraft/ (on Linux)
  2. Using Minecraft's menus:

    1. Start Minecraft and click Options, Resource Packs, and then Open resource packs folder. In the file system window that opens, go up one folder and you'll be in your minecraft folder.
  • This is definately the best way to do so that you don't have to change how your world works
    – Flaunting
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 12:09
  • 4
    This should be the accepted answer. Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 7:04
  • 4
    Remember to close minecraft before you make this change or else it will be overwritten by minecraft when minecraft closes
    – Nacht
    Commented Apr 27, 2020 at 6:48
  • 2
    I don't know when it was added, but currently you can use F3+P to enable or disable Pause on lost focus in game. It's a 'debug' setting like F3+G to show chunk borders. See infmagic2047's answer. Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 20:04
  • It works. To make it take effect, please quit MC and change the setting, then restart the game.
    – GoingMyWay
    Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 7:17

You can press F3+P to let the game not auto-pausing. Press F3+P again to re-enable it.

  • Does not work for me. Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 15:59
  • 1
    It works very well for me (no message is displayed but it works).
    – kiwixz
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 22:07
  • 2
    Thanks for this answer, i was searching for exactly this method :D Commented Jun 13, 2015 at 12:17
  • 4
    Should obviously be the accepted answer.
    – nhouser9
    Commented Jan 14, 2017 at 4:15
  • 1
    As in version 1.12.2 it displays a message about being disabled. It works as well.
    – Arkl1te
    Commented May 30, 2018 at 19:35

Since the update that merged the single- and multi-player code bases, you can press T to start typing in chat, which will let you tab out without pausing or hiding the game.

  • New favourite way!
    – Konerak
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 12:35

This answer is no longer relevant to current Minecraft versions, because F1 no longer hides menus; also, F1 is now a toggle and the tricks for holding it down are irrelevant.

Since you mention that your concern is that you can't see (as opposed to having the menu up at all), I have a fix for that: with the menu up, use F1 to hide it. Pressing F1 removes all HUD elements and leaves only the game view.

However, you have to hold down F1. There are several tricks for this to fool the game into thinking you have F1 down:

  • Press F1 and switch out of Minecraft while holding it down. (Tested on Mac)
  • Before releasing F1, press the Alt (Windows (and Linux?)) or ⌘ Command (Mac) keys.
  • Mac-specific: If you have a system where you have to press fn-F1, just release F1 before fn.

Whilst all the other solutions look perfectly fine, I thought I'd add the method I use, when I want to not have the game pause, I hit esc, and "Open up to LAN". The game doesn;t pause then on focus loss.


This works for Minecraft Bedrock on Windows.

  1. Press E to open your Inventory
  2. Press E to close your inventory but immediately press ALT+TAB to switch to another (any other) window.

You need to get your ALT+TAB in while the Inventory is closing but it's not too difficult with a bit of practise.

  • Only option listed here that works for me for the Windows 10 UWP Bedrock Edition! Commented Jun 5, 2021 at 8:34

here's how I did it, I was mining, in a map called Minevolution, I was in full screen mode and then, while holding down left click, I pressed F11 at the same time I let go of the left click button, and it continued to mine, then I just did the whole Alt+Tab thing to get out of it and it worked


If you just open a LAN connection the game no longer can be paused, even if you're in the game menu. A LAN connection only allows people to jump in if they are on the same internet connection, so it is pretty secure.


Changing the options is the best way to do it. In Multiplayer you can Alt-Tab and Automine while pressing T or Esc doesn't let you do anything while AFK.

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