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What persists after a respawn in Minecraft?

I've apparently lost my diamond sword due to a death far from my spawn point. Was I just unlucky or do items disappear if you are so far/if they are on the ground for X minutes?

  • I also wonder if items persist if you quit and start again, and if they persist if you enter the Nether and return. Commented Nov 16, 2010 at 6:40
  • 1
    @Jonathan Drain: I think they persist. I quit and reloaded once, because none of my items were at the death point, but they reappeared after that.
    – Bobby
    Commented Nov 16, 2010 at 21:25
  • This is definitely a duplicate, can the two be linked together a little more obviously?
    – Sadly Not
    Commented Nov 17, 2010 at 17:01
  • If we do merge them make sure to include the items disappearing text in the title. The previous question did not show up on the helpful title drop down and did not show up when I searched for 'item disappearing' This may also be relevant: blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/11/…
    – Rapida
    Commented Nov 17, 2010 at 17:11

5 Answers 5


Items will disappear if they are on the ground for 5 minutes after you die. This timer starts ticking as soon as you die; even on the death screen that timer is going to keep counting, so if you go take a break to grab some food and come back to find out your character's been lying around dead for 10 minutes, your items are gone.

Also, dying in lava or fire will make you lose any items that fall into the flames. Items that fall onto cactus are also destroyed.

Caveat: if you spawn far enough away from where you died and the chunk becomes unloaded, the item timers will freeze until the chunk is loaded again.

  • 20
    One interesting note: If you die so far away that the chunk is unloaded once you respawn, the countdown timer remains frozen until you visit that chunk again. So you could theoretically come back to a place for the first time weeks after dying and you items would still be there, so long as your time while that specific chunk was in memory is less than 5 minutes total. Commented Nov 18, 2010 at 8:34
  • Also worth mentioning: If you die in lava it's likely that some if not all of your items will fall in the lava and be destroyed instantly. The same goes for fire.
    – fredley
    Commented Jul 11, 2011 at 12:02
  • @SeanO'Hollaren: is this true for SMP too?
    – o0'.
    Commented Nov 26, 2011 at 18:53
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    @Lohoris: I believe it is. I just died WAY away from my bed and I had to even spend the night in someone elses building on my way there, not to mention that the day I died there was a thunderstorm so I couldn't start walking until the next day. When I got to the scene of the creepercrime, all the items were there. Some of the XP was gone though.
    – Tor Valamo
    Commented Dec 7, 2011 at 22:15
  • Yes, happened to me too not long after posting this comment.
    – o0'.
    Commented Dec 8, 2011 at 9:01

As per this question, your inventory will stay around the point where you died for approximately 5 minutes.

If you die with creepers around, be aware that an exploding creeper (after your items have dropped) will probably destroy some/all of them.

From personal experience, sometimes the items kind of spray out around where you died, so do a few laps when you get there to make sure you got everything.


Just for the purpose of being complete: items that fall into or are thrown into lava are destroyed immediately. (You can use this to your advantage if you're sick of storing stacks of dirt or something.)

  • Do sand blocks still turn into glass blocks before being destroyed? Or was that only in previous, non-alpha versions? Commented Nov 16, 2010 at 5:40
  • No, I believe you have to burn the sand in a furnace for it to turn to glass, throwing sand in lava simply burns up and destroys the sand.
    – Jesse Webb
    Commented May 12, 2011 at 20:44
  • In early, non-alpha versions, lava didn't destroy items, and you could toss sand blocks into lava to generate glass. You could also use flint and steel to 'cook' blocks that were on the ground.
    – thedaian
    Commented Jun 5, 2011 at 11:58
  • It's not exactly immediately. Items bounce up once when hitting the lava, which gives you a split second to pick them up. Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 21:55

Also, if the game crashes while you're on your "body-run" there is a high likelihood that your stuff is gone even well inside the five-minute window.


Some more info: Items get scattered in an area around you on death, and there is a glitch where they go through walls. Another glitch makes your corpse pick up the items after they were scattered, and they get destroyed. I believe these glitches account for the "there's a chance that items get destroyed on death" you read on the forums over and over again.

  • This also applies to Minecraft Pocket Edition.
    – Timtech
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 22:38

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