How to Beat 2048: 13 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow (2024)

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Last Updated: May 11, 2024Fact Checked

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2048 is a very addictive game available on desktop and mobile devices. It's simple to learn, but hard to beat. It is also available on retro consoles. You can play the game online, or download it for iOS or Android.

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Step by Step Strategy Guide

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  1. 1

    Swipe left and right several times (optional). Start a new game, then swipe left and right rapidly. Continue until you have a couple rows of 2s, 4s, and 8s. This isn't necessary to win, but it usually puts you in a good position and gets you to your first larger tiles faster.[1]

  2. 2

    Build a higher tile in a corner. Combine the early tiles into a 16 or 32, and put it in a corner. The goal of this method is to keep this tile in place for as long as possible, gradually building it higher and higher.[2]

    • This strategy was used for the world speed record of 2048, which reached the final tile in 1 minute and 34 seconds.[3]

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  3. 3

    Keep the row with the high tile filled. For instance, if your high-value corner is in the top right, fill the entire top row with tiles. Alternating the two directions toward the corner ("up" and "right" in this example) is a good way to achieve this. Once filled, you'll be able to move left and right as much as you like, without the high-value tile shifting from its corner.[4]

    • Keep an eye on this row, and refill gaps that appear whenever possible, without shifting the corner tile.
  4. 4

    Focus on combining small tiles. For most of the game, it's much more important to make 8s, 16s, and 32s than it is to aim for a single larger number. Ideally, these mid-range tiles will gather near your chosen corner tile. This sets you up for chain reactions of several combinations, which will get you much further than focusing on building one single tile higher by itself.[5]

  5. 5

    Maneuver around small, trapped tiles. Often, things won't work out perfectly, and you'll end up with a 2 or 4 trapped between a 256 and a 64, or similarly inconvenient positions. This is a good time to pause and think carefully about each move, and aim to free that small tile. There are a couple different tactics for this:

    • Choose a tile next to the trapped tile, and plan on how to combine it. If it's a large tile, you may need to plan multiple moves ahead to do this. Once it's set up with an equal tile next to it, swipe so the tile you've been planning to combine is the one that moves.
    • Alternatively, try to create a gap in the row with the small, trapped tile, then shift left and right until it is positioned over a tile it can combine with. This will not typically work well on a crowded board.
  6. 6

    Move your corner tile when forced to, then return it. In almost every game, you'll come to a point where you're forced to move your corner tile out of position. Look ahead to see which of the available moves benefits you the most. Swipe that direction, then swipe immediately back to return the high-value tile to the corner.[6]

    • In some copycat versions of the game, you can make a move that does nothing, and a random tile will still appear. In this case, you theoretically never need to move your tile from the corner, but it still may be necessary if your screen is in danger of being filled.
  7. 7

    Keep trying until you win. You'll still need some luck to beat the game, so don't expect to win first time. If you're forced to move your corner tile, and an unfortunate new tile appears in that corner, your chance of success are much lower. You might still win if you can clear off five or six empty tiles, or if your highest tiles are 64 or 128.[7] If it's later in the game than that, there's usually no point in trying to get out of it.

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Basic Instructions and Tips

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  1. 1

    Know the rules. You probably already know how 2048 works, but just in case, here are the basics. Note that this is how the official game works, but there are many parodies, imitations, and even predecessors, many of which have different mechanics.

    • Swipe the screen up, down, left, or right to move all number tiles in that direction. Each tile moves in that direction until it hits the wall or another tile. (Use your arrow keys in the computer version.)
    • Each time you make a move, a new 2 or 4 tile appears in an empty spot in a row or column that was moved last move.
  2. 2

    Try to get to 2048. When a move causes two tiles of the same number to hit each other, they merge into one tile with a value equal to the sum of the two tiles. For instance, two 2 tiles combine into a 4. The goal is to create a tile with a value of 2048.[8]

  3. 3

    Pause and look ahead. It's easy to get sucked into the game and make moves as quickly as possible. If you want a better shot at winning, fight this impulse and only make a move when you're ready. Look ahead and try to imagine how the board will look after you make the next move, or at least what will happen to a few important tiles.

  4. 4

    Focus on a corner. A common strategy among players is to build up a high number in one corner. It doesn't matter what corner you pick, but once you pick, stick with it.[9]

    • This tactic works best when the corner is part of a row you keep permanently filled. This lets you move the tiles left to right without dislodging your high-value tile.
  5. 5

    Take opportunities to merge multiple tiles. If you see a long row of similar tiles, it's usually a good idea to combine them all and give yourself more room on the board.[10]

  6. 6

    Try alternate tapping up and right. One basic approach is to alternate tapping up and right until no squares are moving. Tap left when this happens, then go back to alternating up and right. This won't guarantee you a win - in fact, it usually won't get you there. However, it can get you a fairly high score, and it's a quick way to try to beat your previous record.[11]

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  • Question

    What are the most optimal algorithms?

    How to Beat 2048: 13 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow (18)

    Ansel de Jong

    Community Answer

    One of the best ways to beat 2048 is by keeping your largest number in a corner. I generally keep my biggest number in the top right, and have my next biggest number just to the left of it. Using this method, going down is not preferred, but it does have to happen sometimes. Left is okay as long as your top row is locked. Finally, make sure that you go right more than up.

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  • Question

    Will I get far in 2048 if I just go in consecutive order in the same pattern?

    How to Beat 2048: 13 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow (19)

    Community Answer

    You may go far, but you'll be lucky to win. One move not mentioned here is to concentrate on merging big tiles. In fact, they actually say not to do that, but rather than making it your primary goal, just merge your bigger tiles when they touch. The bigger tiles are more difficult to merge, so it's important to take every opportunity to combine them.

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  • Question

    Is moving in a circle a good idea when playing 2048?

    How to Beat 2048: 13 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow (20)

    Community Answer

    It gets you quite a high score, but since it is based on luck, it will usually not get you to the 2048 block.

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    Thank you for your feedback.
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      • If you've beat 2048 and want more of a challenge, try to reach 2048 with the lowest score possible. Since you get points each time you make a move, this is really a challenge to reach 2048 with the lowest number of moves you can.

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      About This Article

      How to Beat 2048: 13 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow (36)

      Reviewed by:

      Luigi Oppido

      Computer & Tech Specialist

      This article was reviewed by Luigi Oppido. Luigi Oppido is the Owner and Operator of Pleasure Point Computers in Santa Cruz, California. Luigi has over 25 years of experience in general computer repair, data recovery, virus removal, and upgrades. He is also the host of the Computer Man Show! broadcasted on KSQD covering central California for over two years. This article has been viewed 1,575,799 times.

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      Co-authors: 53

      Updated: May 11, 2024

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      Categories: Featured Articles | Multi Platform Smartphone Games

      Article SummaryX

      2048 is a popular video game where the goal is to swipe tiles of the same value to form multiples of 2 until you get the 2048 tile or larger. To start, you want to swipe left and right rapidly until you have a couple of rows of 2s, 4s, and 8s. Combine the small value tiles into a 16 or 32 in any one of the four corners. The goal of this method is to keep the large tile in that corner for as long as possible, gradually building it higher and higher. Continue to fill the row where your highest tile is placed with large value tiles. Continue to combine tiles of the same value until you're able to combine two 1024 tiles to form the 2048 tile. You can continue to play beyond this achievement. However, if you fill up your board and have no more possible moves, the game will be over.

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