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Light refers to the density of light levels in Minecraft. Lighting affects how easily a player can see the environment, and where Mobs will Spawn.



Torches are the most common source of light during the night.

There are 16 levels of light, the highest being produced by Sunlight. Light is decreased (or blocked entirely) when a block is situated in front of a light source. The block which decreases light the most is the base of a piston. The light level of a block affects whether or not certain Hostile Mobs will spawn on it.

The Sun is the main source of light in Minecraft.

Levels of Light

The light level determines if hostile or passive mobs will spawn. For example, a Cow will spawn in light level 7 or higher on Grass blocks. This is also the case for Pigs, Chickens and Sheep. Hostile mobs, such as Skeletons and Zombies, will spawn in light levels 7 or lower. A player can keep Hostile mob from spawning in an area by lighting up the area with torches or other light-emitting objects.

List of light levels in Minecraft:

15: Sunlight, Jack o' Lanterns, Beacons, End Portal Blocks, Fire, Glowstone, Lava, Active Redstone Lamps, Sea Lanterns

14: Torches

13: Active Furnace

12: Sunlight (during rain or snowfall), Glowing Obsidian (Pocket Edition only)

11: Nether Portal blocks

9: Redstone Ore (when touched)

8: Sunlight (during thunderstorms), Ender Chests

7: Powered Redstone Torches, Redstone Torch

4: Moonlight

1: Brewing Stands, brown mushrooms, Dragon Eggs, End Portal Frames

Smooth Lighting


The differences between on and off smooth lighting (click to see)

Smooth lighting is the lighting engine added in Beta 1.3. This lighting engine is on by default (it is always on in Minecraft: Pocket Edition), and can be set to maximum, minimum or off by accessing Video Options from the Options menu.

The engine blends lighting to add semi-realistic shadows and glow from light sources. It darkens inside corners, resulting in small spaces appearing much darker. Before Beta 1.3, the feature could be only obtained by modifying the game with the help of MrMessiah's BetterLife Mod.

The "maximum" smooth lighting toggle fixes bugs with stairs. However, this is an optional toggle. The "minimum performance" does not fix the bug.


Minecraft has been evolving over time, and the lighting system itself has changed along with it.


Smooth Lighting didn't exist in Minecraft Classic. Instead, light spread on dim-lit areas. "Sunlight" was emitted by the top edge of the map and would hit any block that was under it. It would pass through transparent blocks to light blocks underneath. Blocks that did not receive light were in a dim shadow that remained at the same level of brightness no matter how far they were from a light source.


In Indev and Infdev versions, there were 16 degrees of brightness, with a maximum of 15 for full daylight and a minimum of 0 for almost complete darkness.

Alpha - Beta 1.2_02'

Lighting in Alpha through pre-Beta 1.3 worked as Indev and Infdev, except that the scale was different and not linear.

Beta 1.3 - Beta 1.7.3

Lighting from Beta 1.3 to Beta 1.7.3 worked the same as it was in Alpha, but was optimized to allow smooth lighting.


Black patches in world generation and structure generation were fixed in update 1.7.2.


  • Even though hostile mobs spawn in light levels 7 and lower, and thunderstorms are in light level 8, Hostile mobs will still spawn during a thunderstorm because it is dark enough.
  • Rarely, a Lightning Bolt can emit a light level that is lower than light level 5.
  • Rarely, Charged Creepers can sometimes emit a light level that is the same light level as a Redstone Torch.
  • When the player drinks a Potion of Night Vision, natural light sources (excluding the sun), such as lava, will gain a dim color.

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