While bedrock is intended to be unbreakable, it is still possible to destroy in survival mode. These methods use it to delete/replace the bedrock, so can be rendered useless at any update. Most of them have already been patched. Note that these methods can also be used to break other unbreakable blocks (though bedrock is the most useful) and regular breakable blocks (the player will not be able to collect any of the blocks broken, and they are much easier to break using tools).
- 1 Natural Generation (Bedrock)
- 2 Timeline of bedrock breaking glitches
- 3 Current methods of breaking bedrock (working in 1.13.1)
- 4 Old methods of breaking bedrock (Indev to 1.12.2)
- 4.1 Dragon eggs (1.8 to 1.12.2)
- 4.2 End crystals (1.9 to 1.12.2)
- 4.3 Beds (1.8 to 1.8.1)
- 4.4 Tree branches (Infdev to 1.8.1)
- 4.5 Skulls (1.7.6 to 1.7.10)
- 4.6 Arrows (1.7 to 1.7.5)
- 4.7 Headless pistons (1.0.0 to 1.2.3)
- 4.8 Mushrooms (Beta 1.8 Pre-release to Beta 1.8 Pre-release 2 ;))
- 4.9 Hoes (Indev to Alpha 1.2.6)
- 5 Location-specific methods
- 6 Obtaining bedrock items
- 7 Breaking end portal frames
Natural Generation (Bedrock)
Bedrock can form in several different places, and some glitches will only work on certain kinds of bedrock. This is a list of all types of bedrock:a
- The bottom of the overworld and nether, y-levels 0 to 4. Layer 0 is 100% bedrock, and each subsequent layer contains 20% less than the last, so y-4 is only 20% bedrock. This is the same on every seed.
- The roof of the nether, y-levels 122 to 127. This is the opposite to the floor, so the top layer is 100% bedrock, and each level below has 40% less than the one above it. It is also the same on every seed.
- The exit end portal, a fountain-shaped structure made of bedrock that generates on the main end island. Most worlds will only have one of these, but if you have an old one and upgrade to 1.9, it's possible to keep the old one as well as generating a new one. The location of the exit end portal changed in 1.9:
- Before 1.9 — This was created upon the death of the ender dragon, at the location of its death. It would always generate with the base at y63.
- After 1.9 — It is created at 0, 0 when the end is first generated. It is placed on the highest solid block. Whenever the dragon is killed, the entire structure will regenerate, including any blocks previously removed.
- The end pillars. A single block of bedrock is generated atop each end pillar. The generation of the pillars themselves has changed between versions:
- Before 1.8 — End pillars were randomly generated, with varying heights. They would normally only appear on the main end island but could also be generated using a kobra-style machine.
- 1.8 to 1.9 — Pillar generation was unchanged, however a bug introduced in 14w06a meant that the end crystal spawned 1 block too low and automatically destroyed the bedrock. This bug was patched in the first 1.9 snapshot.
- After 1.9 — Only 10 pillars are generated in a 43-block radius ring around 0, 0. They are regenerated whenever the ender dragon is respawned.
- The end gateway portals. These include the gateway block (an unbreakable block), surrounded by a formation of 12 bedrock blocks. They can generate in 3 different ways:
- Main island gateways — Every time the dragon is killed, and they regenerate if the dragon is killed again. A ring of 20 of these will generate in fixed positions on the end island.
- Main island exits — These correspond to the ones on the main island, but are about 1000 blocks further out. They generate when the ones on the main island are used.
- Randomly generated gateways — These randomly generate in the outer end islands. They link back to the obsidian platform on the main island.
The only other types of naturally generating unbreakable block are all parts of end portals.
- End portal frames — A ring of 12 generates in each stronghold. Prior to 1.9 there could only be 3 strongholds per world, but in 1.9 this was increased greatly to 128.
- End portal blocks — These generate inside activated end portals and inside the exit end portal (unless the ender dragon is alive).
- End gateway portals — One gateway block generates inside each portal.
There are several other kinds of unbreakable block in the game. While they do not occur naturally in world generation (with the exception of barrier blocks generating before population of tile-entities), still may be placed by a player, and it can be useful to break them. A list of these blocks is:
- Barrier blocks
- Command blocks
- Structure blocks
Some other normally breakable blocks may also be rendered unbreakable on a server due to plugins and permissions. These could be broken using some of these glitches.
Timeline of bedrock breaking glitches
This timeline shows the first and last known snapshot that each method worked in, whereas the headings of each section only show the first and last update - not the snapshot. Click on a bar to be taken to that section of the page.
Current methods of breaking bedrock (working in 1.13.1)
Headless pistons (1.8 to present)
There are methods to get headless pistons in survival. Normal headless pistons have the property, that they delete the block directly in front of them when they retract. This can be used to break bedrock.
The main problem with this method is, that while it is easy to first make a headless piston and then place a bedrock block in front of it (in creative mode or using some other obscure survival friendly method ), it is very difficult to have a naturally generated bedrock block, and then make a normal headless piston face into that bedrock block. It is however possible. (And the description of that is TODO)
Nether portals (Alpha 1.2.0 to present)
When a nether portal generates, it replaces a 2x4 area of the floor with obsidian. This mechanic can be used to break 2x4 areas of bedrock.
By removing all valid locations, except for a certain spot, where nether portals can generate, it is possible to force the portal to generate in that location. This deletes the blocks the portal forms on.
Jungle trees (1.2.1 to present)
Large jungle trees can only grow if there is a 5x5 area free of blocks. The lowest branches can only form 4 blocks below the lowest block in the 5x5 area, meaning that there must be at least 4 blocks of space above the tree on the layer of bedrock you want to break.
Branches always generate in a circle centred on the southeastern corner of the tree. On the 5th layer of the tree, they can generate in a radius of 3 blocks. On the 6th-28th layers, branches will generate in a radius of 4 blocks. On the 29th layer (maximum tree height ) the branches grow in the same area as the previous layer, but can only form on the circumference, in a ring.
Bedrock can only be broken in the south and east directions using this method, and requires at least a 5x5 column of air next to it. This means it can only be used for the nether roof if you already have a 5x5 hole in it. It can also be used to break specific blocks, while keeping others safe, meaning it can be used to help build wither cages.
If you only wish to break a layer of bedrock, while keeping lower layers, you can utilise the lowest branches, which grow on the 5th layer. Make sure there are only 4 blocks of air between your dirt and the bedrock you want to break. Then place a block 13 blocks above the dirt. This will force the tree to grow as low as possible, meaning the branches are more likely to grow on the lowest layer.
In order to break lower layers of bedrock while keeping higher layers safe, simply place the dirt 5 blocks below the lowest bedrock you want to break, and then place a block 5 blocks above the highest bedrock you want to break, in order to restrict the tree height.
- Gold = Branches can not grow, blocks prevent tree growth.
- Iron = Branches can grow, blocks prevent tree growth.
- Diamond = Branches can grow.
Old methods of breaking bedrock (Indev to 1.12.2)
Dragon eggs (1.8 to 1.12.2)
Starting in 1.8, gravity affected blocks had different behaviours in non-entity-processing chunks than in entity-processing chunks. Due to a bug in the dragon egg code, dragon eggs in lazy chunks would delete any block they fell on. This could be used to delete bedrock.
In order to break the bedrock, the player would just need to set up a machine that dropped the dragon egg(s) in lazy chunks. This could be accomplished by using a piston combined with a long redstone wire or lazy chunk detector, or by using a flying machine.
The glitch was discovered in 2015 by RedstoneSpire, however he has since deleted his channel, along with the original showcase video.
More advanced techniques
End crystals (1.9 to 1.12.2)
This method only worked in The End, because end crystals only generate fire there. The fire was placed every tick, and due to a glitch, could replace any block, including bedrock The bug was introduced much earlier, when end crystals were first added, however before placeable crystals in 1.9, there was no way to get them inside bedrock. This method was patched in 1.13-pre1.
To pull off the glitch, the crystal must be placed adjacent to the bedrock, so that its hitbox is already partially inside it. This way, it can be pushed further inside the bedrock, so that the fire can replace it. If the crystal is pushed while its hitbox is intersecting with fire, then it will explode. To combat this, the block below the crystal must be broken to prevent the fire from spawning.
The crystal can then be pushed into the bedrock by a piston, which should delete the block.
Beds (1.8 to 1.8.1)
In 1.8 there was a glitch that made it possible to delete blocks by placing a bed on top of the hitbox of a dead bush, grass, fern or vines. The base of the bed would replace the plant, and the head of the bed would replace any block next to it. It would only work if there were blocks beneath the bed for it to be placed on.
This broke the bedrock from the side, and required very little free space. It couldn't break through the roof of the nether, but could be used if there was already a hole. It could not be used for y-0 bedrock.
Tree branches (Infdev to 1.8.1)
From the introduction of large oak trees in Alpha until 1.8.2-pre 4, there was glitch that caused their branches to replace certain blocks, including bedrock. Upon the introduction of dark oak trees in 1.7, the glitch also affected their branches.
Dark oak trees (1.7.2 to 1.8.1)
This was one of the most widely used methods for breaking bedrock ever. By planting dark oak saplings under some logs (of any type and orientation) causes some variants of the dark oak trees to grow with the top of the tree at the level of the saplings. This caused the branches to replace blocks below the level of the saplings. The logs could replace blocks in a 4x4x4 area, starting from the level of the dirt the saplings were placed on. Unfortunately, however, they could not remove any blocks directly below the dirt, so in order to create a clean hole through bedrock with nothing in the middle, you'd need to make it at least 6x6.
This method broke bedrock from above, and was most widely used for breaking through the nether roof, although it could also be used to break the floor of the nether and overworld.
Large oak trees (Infdev to 1.8.1)
In versions before 1.8, large oak trees were able to replace any blocks directly adjacent to the trunk with logs. The logs could destroy any block adjacent to the trunk in an 8 block high area, starting 3 blocks above the sapling. If there was a block above the tree, the highest could spawn 4 blocks below it.
This technique was very impractical because it took a lot of time and effort to break specific blocks using this method due to the branch generation being random. Also, it could only break bedrock to the side, and needed a large clearance area for the tree to grow. However, if you already had a hole in the nether roof, it could theoretically be used to enlarge that hole.
Skulls (1.7.6 to 1.7.10)
Between 1.7.6 and 1.7.10 there was a glitch that meant that if you placed a skull on the side of a non-full block, it would replace the adjacent block. It would work with any block that skulls could be placed on.
|Place skull on top of this block to break from below||Place skull on side of this block to break sideways|
|Pressure plates||Pressure plates|
|Daylight sensors||Fence gates|
This worked with any type of skull, however at the time, wither skeleton skulls were the only skulls available in survival. It could break bedrock from below and the side, but not from above, and only required 1 block of space next to the bedrock. This meant it could break any bedrock except y-0 bedrock. Although even y-0 bedrock could be broken if there was already a hole to expand from.
Arrows (1.7 to 1.7.5)
In versions before 1.7.6 and 14w17a, there was a glitch involving arrows that enabled two different methods of breaking bedrock. They were both fixed in the same patch.
It involved glitched arrows storing the wrong coordinates of the block they were last on. When they landed, they would update the metadata of the wrong block, and this enabled bedrock breaking because they could create headless pistons and replace blocks with ignited TNT.
In March 2014, oldGanon discovered a new way to change block metadata. In order to change the metadata of a block, arrows would be shot inside it and then another arrow would be shot onto an adjacent block, and pushed off with a piston. The arrow would then appear to float, even though it was actually glitched on top of the block it was originally shot onto. Then, the block beneath the glitched arrow would be broken and replaced by a redstone input. Different inputs had different effects on the metadata:
- String would +1 to the data value if it was originally an even number
- Wooden pressure plates would set the data value to 1, regardless of what it originally was
- Gold pressure plates would add the number of arrows inside the block to the data value
- Wooden buttons would always +8 to the data value
This worked because the arrow was attempting to update the metadata of the pressure plate, but had the wrong coordinates, so actually updated the metadata of another block, in this case, the piston.
In order to create a headless piston, the only useful one of these was the gold pressure plate. You could place the piston facing into the bedrock, shoot 8 arrows into it and then perform the glitch. This would always +8 to the data value of the piston, making it headless and not changing the direction. Because it used headless pistons, this method could break bedrock in any direction.
This glitch was patched in 1.7.6-pre1, but it also worked in the 1.8 snapshots released before 14w17a.
Flaming arrows and TNT
This worked by shooting a flaming arrow into a block and then letting it fall. While the arrow was still falling, a TNT block would be placed in the position of the original block. When the arrow landed, it would replace whatever it landed on with ignited TNT.
The arrow entity remembered the coordinates of the block it was last on. When it lands, it still thinks it's stuck in that block, and since the block is now TNT, and the arrow is on fire, the arrow creates a primedTNT entity.
Headless pistons (1.0.0 to 1.2.3)
Shortly before the release of 1.1, a forum user called Spanonediscovered the very first way of changing block metadata. Regular Hexahedron then used a variation of the machine to create headless pistons, which could, in turn, be used to destroy bedrock next to them.
Many different versions of the machine were made, and it was possible to break bedrock in all directions using it because it used headless pistons. The simplest method to break through the nether ceiling was showcased by JL2579 in one of his server tours.
When the redstone torch was broken by the liquid, the piston was instantly pushed into its place. The piston's metadata was then replaced by that of the liquid, changing it to a headless piston.
Mushrooms (Beta 1.8 Pre-release to Beta 1.8 Pre-release 2 ;))
Giant mushrooms were first introduced in Beta 1.8 pre release 1, and, for a short time before the official release, could be used to break bedrock. Mushrooms could be placed on any block and then have bone meal used on them to create a giant mushroom. The block the mushroom was placed on would be replaced with dirt, no matter what it was before.
This could only break bedrock from above, and required enough space for the mushroom to grow. This meant it could not be used to break through the nether roof, but could be used to dig through the bedrock at the bottom of the nether and the overworld, including y-0 bedrock.
In the Beta 1.8 full release, this was fixed by only letting giant mushrooms grow if the mushroom was placed on dirt.
Hoes (Indev to Alpha 1.2.6)
In all Indev (after February 6th, 2010) and Alpha versions of Minecraft, dirt could be tilled even if there was a block above it. Bedrock could be broken by placing dirt beneath it, tilling it and then placing a seed on the farmland. The seed would replace the bedrock block. This was removed in Beta 1.0 such that dirt could not be tilled if there was a block above it.
This method broke the bedrock from below, requiring at least 1 block of space beneath the bedrock. This meant it could be used to break through the nether roof, but could only break a small amount of bedrock at the bottom of the world.
Generally, these methods are not very useful, as they are location-specific and can only be used once per location. This is because most of them use the world generation/population to remove the bedrock.
Dungeon generation (1.8 to present)
When a dungeon generates, it does not take into account what solid blocks are placed in the floor, ceiling or walls. This means that bedrock can act as the floor and walls, and can then be replaced when the dungeon is generated.
It is possible for a dungeon to naturally generate inside bedrock, if it spawns low down in a mineshaft or stronghold, however this is very rare. It is possible to generate a dungeon this was by creating a tunnel bore which travels to the unpopulated chunks and then removes a block from the wall, creating a valid dungeon.
This technique can be used to remove 7x7, 7x9 and 9x7 areas of bedrock, and will work on all 5 overworld bedrock layers. The only particularly unique feature of this method is that it can create a spawner at unusually low levels, including as low as y-1.
Other structure generation (Beta 1.8 Pre-release to present)
Lakes (Alpha 1.2.6 to present)
Old exit end portal (Beta 1.9 Prerelease 4 to 1.8.9)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtZkzSnCEds - Ray using 1.8 portal to destroy pillar bedrock
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wg2IlGdYI6A - Ray using pistons to destroy 1.8 portal
Skylands generation (Beta 1.9 Prerelease 3)
https://minecraft.gamepedia.com/Beta_1.9_Prerelease_3 - Glitched skylands generation
Obtaining bedrock items
https://bugs.mojang.com/browse/MC-93119 - portal generation glitch
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wI7VMt3419M - Edd's 1.8 pillar generation + xcom's RNG manipulation method
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1bBTdUCEi0 - bedrock edition
Breaking end portal frames