How Long Does It Take For Items To Despawn In Minecraft?

Items in Minecraft are either common or rare and precious. If you drop one by accident (or on purpose), you need to know how long you have until it's gone forever.

How Long Does It Take For Items To Despawn In Minecraft?
How Long Does It Take For Items To Despawn In Minecraft?

Why Do Items Despawn In Minecraft?

Items, hostile Mobs and unplaced objects are subject to the despawn mechanic in Minecraft. After 6000 ticks (five minutes), these entities will despawn and leave the game forever.

Items will still despawn in Minecraft if dropped in flowing water and some items have a shorter despawn timer, with the maximum being five minutes (all except the Eye of Ender).  

What Items Can Despawn/Can’t Despawn In Minecraft?

Items able to despawn Items not able to despawn
Leaves that have fallen off of trees Leaves placed by players
Items dropped by players or mobs (armor, weapons etc) Named Mobs
Arrows fired from Bows that are stuck Nether Stars (only in Bedrock version)
Tridents
Saddles dropped from Zombie pig men

If stacks of certain items are dropped, or if item stacks merge with a stack already dropped, the timer will reset to whichever item had the most time remaining.

Image showing a Nether Start in Minecraft surrounded by fires

In a sandbox game that encourages players to pick up dropped items and collect all sorts of resources, losing items and watching them despawn can be heartbreaking. 

What Happens To Your Items When You Die In Minecraft?

When an item in your inventory is important to you (such as a rare piece of armor or an amazing weapon), being killed and dropping it is incredibly frustrating. 

When you die in Minecraft, your inventory is dropped onto the ground on your death spot. Players can run back to their death spot within the five minute timer to collect dropped items before they disappear, however it may be wise to consider how far away you respawned first. 

What Happens To Your Items If You Respawn Far Away?

Dropped items despawn in Minecraft after the five minute timer (or immediately if dropped in fire or  a lava pit) when they're in the same loaded chunk as the player, or within visual load distance.

This means that if the player respawns after death outside of the chunk the dropped items are in, the five minute timer will pause. The same goes for items out of load distance (entity distance); once items visually disappear the timer will pause.

Picture of a player in Minecraft waiting to respawn

This can be useful for collecting lost loot if you spawn in an area far away from your death spot. Once the player re-enters loaded chunks which contain their dropped loot, the timer will restart. 

What Happens To Your Items If You Die In Multiplayer?

Be mindful of multiplayer mode. The chunk that holds your dropped item may be loaded by another player, meaning the timer won't stop when you respawn, even if you’re far away.

Image of the death screen in Minecraft with items dropped

This is also true for players playing the game on a server, if the server host leaves the game, any dropped loot disappears. 

If a player leaves the game world, any dropped items, loot and hostile Mobs will despawn in Minecraft and disappear. 

How To Stop Items From Despawning In Minecraft

There are a few ways players can prevent items from despawning in Minecraft. Players can prevent items from despawning by being prepared and strategically using beds and chests, or by using console commands and mods. 

A chest sitting next to a bed inside a wooden room.

Using Chests

Chests are commonplace in the game and come in many different varieties. Chests are used as item storage and can come in very useful when trying to prevent item despawning, particularly during early game.

Shulker boxes are essentially better chests that allow more items to be stowed more securely by the player, but they're hard to come by in the game. 

Normal chests aren't lockable unless manipulated using console commands (in Java edition only) however, Ender Chests are exclusive to each player and can be accessed from anywhere. Portable item storage! 

A Shulker inside a dungeon.

Using Commands

Certain commands can be used to allow the player to keep their inventory upon their death, either by using the chat box or command blocks. 

To disable loot/ item dropping in your game:

  1. Open up chat/ command block
  2. Type “/gamerule keepinventory true”

This allows you to keep your inventory upon death. Make sure that cheats are enabled in your game to allow this to work! 

You can also manipulate particular items to stop them from despawning by setting its age to -32768 with a command block. This only works until the items dropped are picked up again.

3 command blocks in different colors placed on the ground.

Using Mods 

There are certain mods available to download made by creative players of the game like Configurable Despawn Timer on Curseforge.com, which is  “a minimalistic configurable mod which allows items to remain on the ground longer or shorter than the default lifespan”.

This mod is one that directly influences the despawn timer of dropped items by increasing or decreasing it. There are more mods available that affect what items do upon dropping out of the inventory and what they do upon player death.

Do Items Despawn In Peaceful Mode?

Playing on Peaceful Mode may be of benefit to players who don't want to lose their dropped items. This mode makes everything significantly easier and is useful as a “warm up” to those who really dont want their items to despawn.

Peaceful mode means hostile mobs won’t spawn, players won’t get hungry or hurt (but will still take damage from falling or lava) or die as easily. This makes keeping hold of your items in Minecraft much easier.