To use the compass, a player simply needs to hold it in his/her hand, and it will appear in the lower HUD. The needle will point in the direction of a player's original spawn point where he/she entered the world for the first time (not North like normal real-life compasses). Rotating around until the needle is pointing straight up will signify that the spawn point is straight ahead. Traveling straight in that direction will take a player to their spawn point assuming that the needle remains pointing straight up.
The compass needle points towards a player's original spawn point, whether in their Inventory screen, in Chests, lying on the floor, in the Crafting Table, or while holding it in their hand. In order to use a compass, it doesn't necessarily need to be crafted since all compass sprites will show a player where the world spawn is. A player can also obtain compasses by trading with Villagers or by finding them inside some Stronghold chests.
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- Using a compass in The Nether and The End will make it useless. A compass in these areas will spin in a clock-wise motion, and it will not point to a specific direction or object.
- A compass points to the northwest corner of the block a player spawned on instead of the very middle of the block.
- If a player changes their spawn by using a Bed at night, the compass will still point to his/her original spawn point.
- The compass is one of the few tools that is stackable.
- A compass is one of the most useful tools to carry with players on journeys for obvious reasons.
- In Minecraft: Pocket Edition, before the 0.9.0 update, compasses were virtually useless since the maps then were of no great size.