Despawn is a term used for the game mechanic involved when a Mob, a dropped Item, or other un-placed object disappears after a particular amount of time, during a certain time of day, or in a particular situation. Despawning is different from when a mob dies, as the mob will not drop any items or materials when it disappears.
This term should not be confused with the game mechanic known as Spawning, which works in the opposite manner.
Mobs subject to despawning
Note: In most cases, a hostile mob will despawn if there are no players within a distance of 128 blocks. However, there are a few additional situations where one might despawn:
- Creepers - Most despawn during the day, but may despawn at any time if they have not been engaged in combat for a period of time.
- Endermites - Despawn after two minutes.
- Ocelots - May despawn if they have not been tamed.
- Tiny Slimes - May despawn after a period of time.
- Witches - Despawn if the player is far enough from them.
- Zombie Pigmen - Despawn if they have not been engaged in combat for a long period of time.
Objects subject to despawning
- Any items dropped from a player's inventory will despawn after five minutes if a player does not pick them up.
- Arrows which have been shot from a bow (by either a Skeleton, or a player) and have stuck into a surface will despawn after one minute.
- Leaves - Will despawn if not attached to a wood log (or another leaf block which is)
- Saddles - Will despawn if the pig it is attached to despawns itself.
Situations which affect despawning
- If a Name Tag is placed on a mob, it will not despawn.
- As of Minecraft 1.8, mobs in the presence of a player in Spectator Mode will not despawn as they would in other circumstances.
- All hostile mobs will despawn if the Difficulty is set to "peaceful".
- Mobs will not despawn in a multiplayer game if there are no players logged in.