How to Solve a Rubik's Cube

How to solve a Rubik’s cube? it is the hardest to solve. It was one of the greatest challenges in our childhood. It is all a mind game, learn how to solve it!

Thre 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.

The steps

  • 1.White cross
  • 2.White corners
  • 3.Second layer
  • 4.Yellow cross
  • 5.Yellow edges
  • 6.Yellow corners
  • 7.Orient yellow corners

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).

Video Tutorial

The Solution Step By Step

blank 3x3

White
cross

[first layer edges]

White
corners

first corners

Second
layer

second layer

Yellow
cross

top plus

Yellow
edges

final edges
Permute
corners

final corners

[Orient
corners]

[solution step 17]

[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. You can try to do this without reading the instructions.

Use this stage to familiarize yourself with the puzzle and see how far you can get without help.

This step is relatively intuitive because there are no solved pieces to watch out for. Just practice and don’t give up easily.

Try move the white edges to their places not messing up the ones already fixed.

You can get a little help about forming a white cross, with animated algorithms [here]
good white cross
Good white cross

bad first layer cross
Sides not matching

[2. White corners]

In this step we have to arrange the white corner pieces to finish the first face. If you are very persistent and you managed to do the white cross without help then you can try to do this one as well. 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 according to 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.

Find more details about [the solution of the white corners here]

R’ D’ R

:leftwards_arrow_with_hook:-+:arrow_forward:

0/3

F D F’

:leftwards_arrow_with_hook:-+:arrow_forward:

0/3

F L D2 L’ F’

:leftwards_arrow_with_hook:-+:arrow_forward:

0/5

White face solved
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’

U’ L’ U L U F U’ F’

:leftwards_arrow_with_hook:-+:arrow_forward:

0/8

Right:
URU’R’U’F’UF

U R U’ R’ U’ F’ U F

:leftwards_arrow_with_hook:-+:arrow_forward:

0/8

Wrong orientation
Wrong orientation: Do it twice

F2L solved
F2L solved

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.

See these [F2L algorithms in action following this link]

4. Yellow cross

yellow top cross
Yellow cross on the top

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.

We can get three 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. If you have a yellow “L” shape then onlye twice, holding the cube in your hands as seen on the image below.
  2. In case of a horizontal line you just have to execute the permutation once.

solve the yellow cross

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
Switch the edges

Yellow edges done
Yellow edges done

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

[6. Yellow corners on their places]

permute yellow corners
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 corner then apply the following algorithm to switch (cycle) the three wrong pieces marked 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 to get a good piece.

[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.

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

cube solved
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!

What Is A Rubik's Cube?

unnamed
The Rubik’s Cube is a 3-D combination puzzle invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Ernő Rubik. Originally called the Magic Cube, the puzzle was licensed by Rubik to be sold by Ideal Toy Corp. in 1980 via businessman Tibor Laczi and Seven Towns founder Tom Kremer.

How To Solve A Rubik's Cube

Rubik’s cube is the hardest to solve. It was one of the greatest challenges in our childhood. Every person was seen having a Rubik’s cube in his or her hand and trying to solve it. No one could ever solve a Rubik’s cube. it is all a mind game. Do you wonder the person who invented the Rubik’s cube has managed to solve it?

You solve the Rubik’s cube LAYER by LAYER using the following 5 steps:

STEP 1 - COMPLETE THE FIRST LAYER CROSS

STEP 2 - COMPLETE THE FIRST LAYER CORNERS

STEP 3 - COMPLETE SECOND LAYER

STEP 4 - COMPLETE THE THIRD LAYER CROSS

STEP 5 - COMPLETE THE THIRD LAYER CORNERS

STEP 1 - COMPLETE THE FIRST LAYER CROSS

  1. Keep WHITE center on top
  2. Put the GREEN centerpiece in front (facing you)
  3. Find the GREEN/ WHITE edge piece (it only has 2 colors) and turn it to one of the positions shown below (keeping white on top and green in front)
  4. Choose the options below that matches your situation and follow the arrow steps to place the GREEN/ WHITE edge piece in place.

step1 - how to solve the white cross

Keeping white on top, turn the cube so that a different color face (center) is toward you. Follow the above instructions again. Repeat with the other two faces until the white cross is complete. This step is quite intuitive; you can do it for sure but it does take a little practice. Just move the white edges to their places not messing up the ones already fixed.

STEP 2 - COMPLETE THE FIRST LAYER CORNERS

  1. Keep WHITE on top
  2. Put the GREEN centerpiece in front (facing you)
  3. Find the GREEN/WHITE/RED corner (it has 3 colors) and place it in one of the positions below ( without disturbing the white cross )
  4. Choose from the steps below to place the GREEN/WHITE/RED corner piece in place without disturbing the white cross.

step2a - solving the first layer corners

Possible Problem Step 2:
The corner you are looking for is in the top layer, but in the wrong position or turned the wrong way around. Turn the cube so that the corner is in the front right top corner then move the corner to the bottom layer by following the following steps.

Solution Step 2:

step1b - first layer corners

Perform these steps, then choose again from steps above to put the corner in place

Keeping white on top, turn the cube so that a different color face is toward you. Follow the above instructions again. Repeat with the other two faces until the white cross is complete.

STEP 3 - COMPLETE SECOND LAYER

  1. Keep WHITE on top
  2. Find the GREEN/RED edge piece
  3. If it is in the bottom layer, then turn the bottom layer to ***match the edge with the center color *** (see fig below).
  4. If the edge is not in the bottom layer, then go to Step C
  5. Choose from the steps below to place the edge piece in place.

A/B

step3a - second layer edges

Possible Problem Step 3:
The edge piece you want to move is in the second layer but in the wrong position or the wrong way around.

Solution Step 3: Turn the cube so that the edge is in the front layer then do either solution above to move the piece into the bottom row. Then go back to step 4 above.

C

sep3b - Second Layer edges

Continue with steps A/B with different centers facing you until the second layer is complete

STEP 4 - COMPLETE THE THIRD LAYER CROSS

  1. Turn the cube over (white is now on the bottom and yellow on top )
  2. You should find that there are 0, 2, or 4 pieces (of the cross) facing upward. Ignore the corners for now.
  3. The idea is first to get the yellow cross and secondly to turn swap pieces to the correct position in the cross.
  4. Perform the algorithm below to get to the yellow cross. Make sure your cube is orientated is shown in the image.

Repeat this algorithm till you get the yellow cross

You will now have 4 or 2 edge pieces in the correct place. Matching with the center colors. Ensure the correct edge pieces are at the back and right face. Use the algorithm below to put the edge pieces in the correct position.

step4a - move last layer edges

Possible Problem Step 4:
Two pieces that are in the correct position are opposite each other.

Solution Step 4: Perform the steps above once and then turn the cube like the one shown above and perform the steps again.

STEP 5 - COMPLETE THE THIRD LAYER CORNERS

(1) First, we will put the corners in the correct position (A).
You will now have either 0, 1, or ALL the corners pieces will be in their correct positions, either the right way up or reversed.
If one corner piece is in the correct corner turn the cube to that this correct corner is in the front top right position. The piece is in the correct position, BUT it may not be turned the correct way around.

(A)step5a - last layer corners permutate

Repeat the sequence until all the corners are in the correct position.

Possible Problem Step 5: None of the corners is in the correct position.
Solution Step 5: Perform the steps in (A) once with ANY side facing you (YELLOW at the top). Now one corner will be in the correct position. Proceed with (A) above.
The next steps will turn the corners (one by one) the correct way and ultimately solve the cube.

NOTE: THIS ROUTINE MAY APPEAR TO UPSET THE REST OF THE CUBE.

DO NOT DESPAIR AND KEEP THE SAME SIDE FACING YOU IT WILL ONLY BE SOLVED ONCE THE LAST CORNER IS ORIENTATED.

step5 - orientating last layer cornersRepeat the moves until the YELLOW side of the corner piece is on top. You may have to do it 2-3 times.

, KEEP THE SAME SIDE FACING YOU. Rotate the TOP LAYER until the next corner piece to be rotated is in the top-right position. Repeat the above sequence until the YELLOW side of the corner that you are rotating is on top. Continue the process until the cube is complete.

If anyone of you knows any other way to solve a Rubik’s cube, feel free to reply so that other people get to know and we can easily solve this cube.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How to solve a 2x2 rubik's cube?

Step 1: Solving the first layer

This step is identical to step 2 of the 3x3 cube solution. Choose a color to start with (Most popular color to start with is white or yellow – In this guide I chose **yellow** ). Choose a corner that has this color (yellow in our case), and bring the other 3 corner pieces to it. Make sure that you solve the corner pieces correctly in relation to each other (also the side colors of the corner pieces should fit each other, not only the yellow. See image- right/wrong).

step1-right-wrong-example

There are 3 different cases to solve a corner piece to its correct position without harming the other corners:

step1-case1

step1-case2

step1-case3

Step 2: Orienting the last layer pieces

Flip the cube upside down (the solved layer should be on the bottom now). In this step, the goal is to orient the last layer pieces. The result should be that the opposite color to the color we started with will be completed (In our case: the opposite color to yellow is white). Note that unlike the first step, here the permutation of the corners does not matter, meaning that they don’t have to be correctly solved in relation to each other (side stickers don’t have to fit).

There are 7 possible cases of last layer orientations (not including the already oriented case):
(The gray color means the sticker is not the upper face color. The bars to the sides show where the upper face color is. In our case it’s white, not yellow. It doesn’t matter of course.)

Case #1

R’ U’ R U’ R’ U2 R

Case #2

L U L’ U L U2 L’

Case #3

R2 U2 R U2 R2

Case #4

F [R U R’ U’] [R U R’ U’] F’

Case #5

F [R U R’ U’] F’

Case #6

[R U R’ U’] [R’ F R F’]

Case #7

[F R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’]

It is best to learn all the 7 algorithms. However, it is possible to completely solve this step using only 1 algorithm – the first algorithm. The idea is to execute this algorithm from different angles until its suitable case shows up, then execute it one more time and solve the step. It is possible to solve all possible cases within 3 executions, or 2 if you use also its mirror algorithm (case #2).

The first algorithm orients 3 corners counter-clockwise and leaves the 4th corner intact (its mirror algorithm, case #2, does the same, but clockwise). Before executing, try to think from which angle executing this algorithm will leave only 1 oriented corner (can be done within 1 execution from all cases), then just apply the suitable algorithm (case #1 or #2). You can execute algorithm #1 twice instead of using #2 algorithm when it’s needed (in a case a clockwise rotation needed (case#2). Doing counter-clockwise twice for the corners will be just like doing a clockwise orientation, which will solve them.)

Note that 6 of these 7 algorithms are exactly the same algorithms being used in the speedsolving method of the Rubik’s cube. You can see it is the same 7 possible cases when all the edges of the 3x3 are oriented: OLL algorithms page. However, since there are no edges to preserve, we can use shorter algorithms from other cases of the traditional OLL of the 3x3 Rubik’s cube, as long as they rotate the corners as we need:

  • For the first case best algorithm is the anti-Sune (OLL algorithm #26)
  • For the second case best algorithm is the Sune (OLL algorithm #27)
  • The third case is special: a shorter algorithm can be applied, which does exist in the 3x3 OLL, however, OLL algorithm #21 is very nice)
  • For the fourth case best algorithm is the easiest L (OLL algorithm #48)
  • For the fifth case best algorithm is the first T (OLL algorithm #45)
  • For the sixth case best algorithm is the second T (OLL algorithm #33)
  • For the seventh case best algorithm is the first Fish (OLL algorithm #37)

Step 3 (and last): Permuting the last layer pieces

In this step, the goal is to permute the last layer pieces so they will be also correctly solved in relation to each other and not only correctly oriented. This step is very similar to step 5 of the 3x3 solution (beginner’s method) (-also the same algorithm can be applied, it is just that the one I show here permutes the corners clockwise and not counter-clockwise).

Step 3: The way to solve this method is by looking for 2 corners that are correctly permuted in relation to each other (can be easily recognized by the fact that 2 correctly solved corners in relation to each other have the same color on their mutual face . Look for the same color in 2 adjacent corners). If you don’t have 2 corners that are correctly permuted, just execute the following algorithm below from any angle that you want. After that execution, 2 correctly permuted corners will show up.

Then:

  • Do some U-turns so the 2 adjacent same colors will line up with their color on the bottom layer. Rotate the cube so that this solved color will be on the right face- see image above.
  • Do U’ once.
    The effect of this move is that the front-left corner will become “solved” now, and the 3 other corners will require a clockwise rotation between them. This is exactly what the next algorithm does.
  • Execute the following algorithm : (This is the Aa-perm algorithm. l’ replaced for L’ because no middle layer)

L’ U R’ D2 R U’ R’ D2 R2

That’s it! You have just solved the 2 by 2 Rubik’s cube! Congratulations! Keep practicing on solving the first layer and learn algorithms by heart, so you could solve the 2x2 cube without needing them written around you (They are also useful for 3x3 speedcubing!). If you didn’t solve the 3x3 Rubik’s cube yet, it’s just about the time to start, you already have much of the basics! Congratulations!

2. How to solve a Rubik's cube 3x3?

Step 1:

Get to know your Rubik’s Cube

Step 2:

Solving the white cross

Step 3:

Solving the white corners

Step 4:

Solving the middle layer

Step 5:

Solving the yellow face

Step 6:

Solving the top layer

References

References
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubik's_Cube
  2. http://www.rubiksplace.com/cubes/2x2/
  3. https://www.rubiks.com/en-us/how-to-solve-rubiks-cube