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
    Jan 31 '11 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. Jan 31 '11 at 20:23

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? Jan 31 '11 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. Jan 31 '11 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. Jan 31 '11 at 13:52
  • 4
    @Cosmic Flame Yes, via /stop. :) Mar 1 '11 at 0:33
  • Note that nowadays you can just "Open to LAN", so there's no need to bring up a standalone server.
    – Shinrai
    Feb 12 '13 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
    Aug 1 '14 at 12:09
  • 2
    This should be the accepted answer.
    – spikespaz
    Oct 15 '19 at 7:04
  • 2
    Remember to close minecraft before you make this change or else it will be overwritten by minecraft when minecraft closes
    – Nacht
    Apr 27 '20 at 6:48
  • 1
    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. Sep 29 '20 at 20:04

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. Aug 1 '14 at 15:59
  • 1
    It works very well for me (no message is displayed but it works).
    – kiwixz
    Oct 30 '14 at 22:07
  • Exactly what I was searching for.
    – Kilazur
    Dec 29 '14 at 19:26
  • 2
    Thanks for this answer, i was searching for exactly this method :D Jun 13 '15 at 12:17
  • 2
    Should obviously be the accepted answer.
    – nhouser9
    Jan 14 '17 at 4:15

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
    Sep 13 '16 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! Jun 5 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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