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How to solve the Rubik's Cube?

There are many approaches on how to solve the Rubik's Cube. All these methods have different levels of difficulties, for speedcubers or beginners, even for solving the cube blindfolded. People usually get stuck solving the cube after completing the first face, after that they need some help. In the following article I'm going to show you the easiest way to solve the cube using the beginner's method.

The method presented here divides the cube into layers and you can solve each layer applying a given algorithm not messing up the pieces already in place. You can find a separate page for each one of the seven stages if the description on this page needs further explanation and examples.

To get started I recommend you to read the basic cubing terminology and you will need to know the Rubik's Cube notation ie what the letters mean in the algorithms:

F: front, R: right, U: up, L: left, D: down.

Clockwise rotations:
FRULD

Counterclockwise rotations are marked with an apostrophe ('):
F'R'U'L'D'

If you get stuck or you don't understand something, the online Rubik's Cube solver program will help you quickly fix your puzzle. All you have to do is input your scramble and the program will calculate the steps leading to the solution.

To keep a record of your solution times try the online Rubik's Cube Timer with many useful features or generate random shuffles for your practice with the scramble generator.

1. White cross

Let's begin with the white face. First we have to make a white cross paying attention to the color of the side center pieces. This step is quite intuitive because there are no solved pieces to watch out for. You can do this for sure with a little practice. Just move the white edges to their places not messing up the ones already fixed.

Wrong orientation

FU'RU
Bottom layer:

F'R'D'RF2
Middle layer:

R'D'RF2

If you have difficulties, you can get a little help with animated algorithms about solving the white cross on the Rubik's Cube here.


Good white cross

Sides not matching

2. White corners

In this step we have to arrange all the white corner pieces to finish the first face. This step is still intuitive, you can do it without learning a single algorithm. If you don't have patience I'll give you some clue.

Twist the bottom layer so that one of the white corners is directly under the spot where it's supposed to go on the top layer. Now, do one of the three algorithms depending on the orientation of the piece, aka. in which direction the white sticker is facing. If the white corner piece is where it belongs but turned wrong then first you have to pop it out.

White on the right

R'D'R
White on front

FDF'
White facing down

FLD2L'F'

If you need a more detailed explanation about this step click here.


White face solved

3. Second layer

Until this point the procedure was pretty straight forward but from now on we have to use algorithms. We can forget the completed white face so let's turn the cube upside down to focus on the unsolved side.

In this step we are completing the first two layers (F2L). There are two symmetric algorithms we have to use in this step. They're called the Right and Left algorithms. These algorithms insert the Up-Front edge piece from the top layer to the middle layer while not messing up the solved white face.
If none of the pieces in the top layer are already lined up like in the images below, then turn the top layer until one of the edge pieces in the top layer matches one of the images below. Then follow the matching algorithm for that orientation.

Left:

U'L'ULUFU'F'
Right:

URU'R'U'F'UF

If an edge piece is on its place in the second layer orienting wrong then we have to apply the algorithm twice. First we must pop it out inserting another one in its place.


Wrong orientation: Do it twice

F2L solved

See these F2L algorithms in action following this link.

4. Yellow cross

Sart solving the last layer making a yellow cross on the top of the cube. It doesn't matter if the pieces are not on their final places so we don't have to pay attention to the colors of the sides.


Yellow cross on the top

We can get four possible patterns on the top. Use this algorithm to go from one state to the other:

FRUR'U'F'

  1. When you see a dot you have to apply the algorithm three times.
  2. If you have a yellow "L" shape then onlye twice, holding the cube in your hands as seen on the image.
  3. In case of a horizontal line you just have to execute the permutation once.

For further explanation about forming a yellow cross on the Rubik's Cube click here.

5. Yellow edges

After making the yellow cross on the top of the cube you have to put the yellow edge pieces on their final places to match the colors of the side center pieces. Switch the front and left yellow edges with the following algorithm:

RUR'URU2R'U


Switch the edges

Yellow edges done

You might face a situation when you have to apply this algorithm more than once.

6. Yellow corners where they belong


Switch three corner pieces

Only the last layer corners are left unsolved. First we have to get them to the right spot, so don't worry about the orientation in this step.

Find a piece which is already on the right place, move it to the right-front-top (marked with "OK") corner then apply the following algorithm to switch (cycle) the three wrong pieces marked with grey on the image.

URU'L'UR'U'L

Do this twice to do an inverse rotation of the pieces. If none of the yellow corners is on the right place then execute the algorithm once and look for a good piece again.

Read more about the permutation of last layer yellow corners here.

7. Orient Yellow Corners

All pieces are on their right places you just have to orient the yellow corners to finish the puzzle. This proved to be the most confusing step so read the instructions and follow the steps carefully.


The corners are on their final positions
but they need to be oriented

The cube is solved

Hold the cube in your hand with an unsolved corner on the front-right-top corner, then do the algorithm below twice or four times until that specific piece is oriented well:

R'D'RD

It will look like you've messed up the whole cube but don't worry, it will be all right when all the corner pieces are oriented.

Turn the top layer only to move another unsolved yellow piece to the front-right-top corner of the cube and do the same R' D' R D again until this specific piece is ok. Be careful not to move the two bottom layers between the algorithms and never rotate the whole cube!

You are so close to the end so be careful because this is the step in this tutorial where most people get lost. If this description doesn't make sense, check out a few examples here.

Repeat this until your Cube is solved :)

Is this tutorial too complicated for you? Here's what you can do:

Read another guide at Rubik's Cube Tutorial or at how to solve a Rubix Cube.
Use the Online Rubik's Cube Solver, insert your scramble and the program will calculate the solution for you.