Block entity

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A block entity is extra data associated with a block, beyond the finite set of block states associated with each block.


Block entities store additional information about certain blocks, with the type of information varying by block. In some cases, this information is used to create a more complex model, such as the book on an enchanting table. In other cases, it is used to store contents of an object. Blocks with block entities can be moved by pistons in Bedrock Edition, but not in Java Edition.

List of block entities[edit]

These are the current blocks that hold block entities.

Block Entity Usage
To store bees.
To store written text.
To store the patterns.
To store their contents.
  • Furnaces, blast furnaces, and smokers also store the time until the current item is smelted, the time until the furnace's current fuel item is exhausted, and all of the items that have been smelted since a player emptied the output slot.
  • Brewing stands also store the brewing time.
  • Hoppers also store the time until the next transfer of an item.
  • Chests, trapped chests and shulker boxes also use the block's position and rotation for the opening and closing animation.
  • Lecterns also store the page the book is currently on.
To store the pyramid level, active effects, and contents. Also uses the block's position for the beacon beam.
To store:
  • the entity to be spawned.
  • the delay until the next entity is spawned, and the min and max values for the next spawn delay.
  • how many entities to spawn per spawn attempt.
  • additional data about the entity to be spawned (such as position, effects, and entities stacked on top of it).
  • Also uses the block's position to display the spinning mob inside.
To store the note to be played.
To store the offset of block, direction of movement, and ID (and data value, if applicable) of the moving block. (A moving block can't be stored as a block because it's not aligned to a grid cell.)
To play music discs, if any are inside.
For the floating book.
For the particle field effect.
For the type of the head‌[Bedrock Edition only], rotation when placed on top of a block‌[Bedrock Edition only], and (if applicable) data of the player represented.
For the command text, its output strength, and the output text.
For the teleport location and also whether to render the beam.
To store information about the structure.
To store the structure pool and the block this jigsaw block becomes.
To store whether the reaction started and the time remaining in the reaction.
To force the daylight sensor to update its output signal strength.
To store the ID and the data value of the block displayed inside of it.
To store its output strength.
To store color‌[Bedrock Edition only] and for rendering the block.
To store details about liquid content. Cauldrons containing dyed water store water color. Cauldrons containing potions store the potion's ID and a tag of whether it is a splash potion or not.
To check its activation area for valid activation blocks and calculate its effective range. Also used for rendering the block in its active and inactive states.
For the render of the swaying animation of the bell.

Block entities and their render limits‌[Java Edition only][edit]

Some block entities, or their effects, stop being rendered beyond a hard-coded block limit which is modeled after the radius of a sphere. This limit is not affected by Render Distance nor the Entity Distance scale in the Video Settings.

Block entities that stop rendering beyond 64 blocks: Miscellaneous effects that stop beyond a number of blocks,
but not the blocks themselves:
Beacon: Its beam stops rendering beyond 256 blocks.

  • Campfire: Its contents stop rendering beyond 64 blocks.

  • Lectern: Its book stops rendering beyond 64 blocks.

  • Spawner: The mob inside stops rendering beyond 64 blocks.
    Side note: The mob inside stops spinning beyond the RequiredPlayerRange, which is 16 blocks by default.

  • Note Block: Its notes stops rendering beyond 32 blocks.

  • Piston: Its animation stops rendering beyond 64 blocks
    Side note: It can still be seen retracting and extending without the animation.

  • End Gateway: Its beam stops rendering beyond 256 blocks.
    Side note: Or when the gateway is out of frame.

  • Bell: The bell, but not the frame, stops rendering beyond 64 blocks.

See also[edit]

  • Chunk format § Block entity format – describes the save format for block entities
  • Entities, which are all the dynamic, moving objects throughout the Minecraft world, plus several non-moving objects that resemble blocks.
  • Block states, which are, like block entities, extra pieces of data that further define a block.