Could someone please explain the reason items disappear when you die a far distance from spawn?

Do you have any tips on how to reduce item loss? Or any suggestions that stop the items from disappearing all together?

From what I understand so far its due to chunks not loading, or unloading when you are too far away from them. I also understand from another question posted the items to disappear 5 minutes after death. But I'm wanting to know is distance not time.

A general answer would be nice, but what I would really like to know are the numbers. How far exactly do I have from the spawn point until I run the risk of disappearing items? And are there things in single player and/or multiplayer I can do to remove this hazard? Or at the least increase my chances of regaining the items lost on death from a far.

  • @Lesspop No, Subleak links to my question directly, explaining the difference between mine and his question.
    – badp
    Commented Feb 16, 2011 at 19:57
  • Actually, @badp, he links Rapida's question, not yours.
    – Grace Note
    Commented Feb 16, 2011 at 19:59
  • @Grace whoops. You're correct. Yet, Subleak asks about what persists chunk unloading, while I ask about what persists after death.
    – badp
    Commented Feb 16, 2011 at 20:01
  • Yeah, I deleted the auto-comment specifically because I regret the close vote. There's a reason I didn't run for Mod! Commented Feb 16, 2011 at 20:27
  • @LessPop There's an instareopen button to go with our instaclose.
    – badp
    Commented Feb 16, 2011 at 20:40

3 Answers 3


Dropped items will last for 5 minutes while their chunk is loaded, and then will disappear. While the chunks are unloaded, they will stay idle and the disappear counter won't run.

When playing Minecraft, your world is loaded in chunks - 16x16x128 areas. The nearest 81 chunks are loaded while walking around the world (a 9x9 chunk grid with your chunk in the center). This means that about 80 blocks around you are loaded at all time (give or take a few depending on where in the chunk you currently are). When you are within 80 blocks of an item, it changes from its idle to its active state.

  • So your saying that if I die, my items in a far off location, go into an idle state? So this would technically save my dropped floating items?
    – Subleak
    Commented Feb 17, 2011 at 16:26
  • Yes, until the chunk becomes active again.
    – Kevin Yap
    Commented Feb 17, 2011 at 17:16
  • 1
    1.9 -> does this change w.r.t. view distance
    – Fennekin
    Commented May 9, 2016 at 8:09

Dropped items are saved along other information in the chunk save file. So no, you do not risk losing items just because the chunk they have been dropped in has been unloaded (cleanly).

  • Hmm, your reference links to the Alpha Format. Has anything changed in beta? Also this documentation doesn't explicitly say anything about items floating in a world, unclaimed. I state this because if you save and restart a server all the "floating" items are gone.
    – Subleak
    Commented Feb 17, 2011 at 16:19
  • @Sublink No, it hasn't. It's "alpha" as opposed to "infdev" or "indev". I don't know about server restarts, but if you're playing single player restarting the game won't vanish the items.
    – badp
    Commented Feb 17, 2011 at 17:17

In my time playing this game ut seems as though my items very rarely despawn, ive found items from times I died months ago lol

  • 2
    Hi, welcome to Arqade. This doesn't appear to answer the question fully; could you edit your answer to provide more detail?
    – Corsaka
    Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 8:33

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