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Solving 4x4 magic cubes

Do you keep asking yourself how to solve a 4x4 cube? We’ll provide a tutorial that will allow you to solve 4x4 cubes with ease. Algorithms are, of course, also needed for solving 4x4 cubes. But they need to be adapted to the cube since you have an additional layer to deal with, compared to the 3x3 cubes. This requires a different approach.

Before you continue reading: To solve a 4x4 cube, you must be familiar with the solving methods for 3x3 cubes! You have yet to solve a 3x3 speed cube? In that case, read our tutorial for 3x3 magic cubes first. There, we’ll introduce you to the Fridrich method (CFOP), the Roux method and the ZZ method. Once you have mastered these possible solutions, you are ready for the 4x4 speed cubes.
Table of Contents

Have you heard of our QiYi Secret Tutorial Book?
In the QiYi Secret Tutorial Book, you will find step-by-step instructions for different types of speed cubes. The book is suitable for beginners as well as advanced cubers.
1 item
tutorials for various speed cubes, in English
1 pc. 3.90 CHF ea.*

What is different about the 4x4 magic cube?
Since the 4x4 speed cube has one additional layer, there is no longer an obvious centre, and therefore no fixed centre pieces. The middle of the cube now consists of four cubelets. And because these cubelets are on the same face, you will have to pay special attention to them as the 2x2 block can be broken up again during turns. In addition, there are now two instead of just one edge piece per edge. For the speed cube to remain solvable, you need to familiarise yourself with the colour scheme of this magic cube: Orange opposite red, blue opposite green and yellow opposite white. If your cube has different colours, memorise that colour scheme instead.
Because of these features, new sequences are possible that you won’t find in a 3x3 cube. You can easily get around this fact with the Yau method. We’ll show you how:

The Yau method: A simple solving method for 4x4 speed cubes

For cubes with four layers, the reduction method can be applied. This method is also called the Yau method. With this method, you use the first step to essentially reduce the 4x4 cube to a 3x3 cube. After that, you can continue with the usual algorithms for a 3x3 speed cube. Depending on the manufacturer, this 4x4 magic cube tutorial is often included in the delivery. The method involves three steps:

  1. Bring the four middle pieces of each colour together on all six sides of your cube. Use the colour scheme of the magic cube as your guide. It is best if you start with white and yellow (As you know from the colour scheme, the white side is always opposite the yellow side.) Once you combined the four white and yellow centre pieces into a 2x2 block, you can arrange the remaining colours. But beware: Because the centre pieces of large speed cubes are now on the same axis, they can quickly get jumbled up again. You can find helpful tips in the video below.

  2. The edge pieces are next. For example, turn the cube so that on one edge, two orange edge pieces join on one side and two yellow edge pieces join on the other side of the same edge. Once again, keep the colour scheme of your cube in mind. After you combined these two colours, do the same for the remaining edge pieces.

  3. Now you are at a point with your 4x4 magic cube where you can solve it with the proven algorithms for 3x3 cubes. All that’s left to do is for you to arrange the corner pieces correctly.

To summarise: By arranging the centre and edge pieces, you essentially turned your 4x4 magic cube into a 3x3 cube. Because the four cube pieces in the middle now behave like the fixed centre piece of a 3x3 speed cube. And the two edge pieces also merge to mimic the single edge piece of a 3x3 speed cube. Now all you have to do is rotate the outer layers to finish solving the cube.

Video tutorial for solving 4x4 speed cubes

We believe that instructions are easier to understand when you can actually see how it is done. The tutorial video explains step-by-step how you can easily solve the 4x4 speed cube using the Yau method.

4x4 magic cube solution for special situations

If you solved the centre pieces and the edge pieces and are now using the 3x3 solving sequences for a 4x4 cube, five situations can arise that do not occur with the 3x3 cube. At first glance, these exceptions look like they cannot be solved easily without messing up the cube again in the process. These situations are called OLL parity and PLL parity and only occur with speed cubes with an even number of layers (4x4, 6x6, 8x8, 10x10). These situations can occur individually or together. Let’s take a closer look:

OLL parity

OLL stands for Orienting Last Layer. In this situation, the edge pieces of the last colour layer to be solved are arranged the wrong way around. The edge pieces are positioned so that the colours of this layer and the top are reversed. The rest of the cube is already in its solved state.

For you, this means: You will have to turn the solved cube out of position to solve this situation. But even in this case, there is a solution with which you can easily resolve this situation. Hold the cube so that the OLL parity is pointing towards you and finish your cube with an algorithm such as:
r2 B2 U2 l U2 r' U2 r U2 F2 r F2 l' B2 r2.

PLL parity

PLL stands for Permuting Last Layer. In contrast to OLL parity, with PLL parity, there are a total of four possible situations that need to be solved. When you compare OLL and PLL parities, you will notice that with PLL parity, the wrong cube pieces are only found on the sides of the cube. The top and bottom cube faces are in their solved state. It is possible, that two or three of these situations manifest themselves at the same time. In this case, solve one after the other.

Those four situations are as follows:

  1. Two edge pieces of the outer layer have the colour of the opposite side of the cube and vice versa. For example, the orange side has two red edge pieces, and the red side has two orange edge pieces. You can solve this PLL parity, for example, with this sequence:
    Uu2 Ll2 U2 l2 U2 Ll2 Uu2.

  2. Two edge pieces of the last layer have the colour of the adjacent cube face. For example, the orange side of the cube has two green edge pieces, and the green side has two orange edge pieces. You can solve this PLL parity, for example, with this algorithm:
    L2 D Ff2 Ll2 F2 l2 F2 Ll2 Ff2 D' L2.

  3. The last cube face to be solved has two corner pieces of a different colour each. In addition, the other outer layers also have one differently coloured corner piece each. For example, the orange cube face has one green and one blue corner piece, the green cube face has one orange, and the blue cube face also has one orange corner piece. Here, you will need a slightly longer algorithm, for example:
    Uu2 Ll2 U2 l2 U2 Ll2 Uu2 F' U' F U F R' F2 U F U F' U' F R.

  4. One corner piece each has the colour of the opposite face and vice versa. For example, the orange cube face contains a red corner piece, and the green side of the cube has a blue corner piece. For this PLL parity, the sequence is, for example:
    Uu2 Ll2 U2 l2 U2 Ll2 Uu2 R U' L U2 R' U R L' U' L U2 R' U L' U.

The following video explains these situations and their solutions very well:

Now you are well prepared to tackle the 4x4 magic cube. We wish you good luck and lots of fun. And remember: Practice makes perfect!

The QiYi Secret Tutorial Book

If you often work your cube while on the go, we recommend you take the tutorial with you in book form. In our shop, you can find the Secret Tutorial Book by QiYi with illustrated solutions for different rotating puzzles. Its handy size makes this book with solving instructions a good companion. If you made it your goal to solve other sizes and types of speed cubes after the 4x4 cube, this book offers you many introductory tutorials for 2x2, 3x3, 4x4, 5x5, 6x6 and 7x7 cubes, Megaminx, Pyraminx and different shape mods.

Discover the QiYi Secret Tutorial Book