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Observer.pngObserver Back.gif




Blast resistance






Yes (64)



Catches fire from lava




Data values

dec: 251 hex: FB bin: 11111011

Namespaced ID


An observer is a block that emits a redstone signal when the block it is facing to is updated.


An observer requires a pickaxe to be mined. When mined without a pickaxe, it drops nothing.

Block Observer
Hardness 3.5
Breaking time[note 1]
Hand 17.5
Wooden 2.65
Stone 1.35
Iron 0.9
Diamond 0.7
Golden 0.45
  1. Times are for unenchanted tools in seconds. For more information, see Haste § Instant mining.


Ingredients Crafting recipe
Cobblestone +
Redstone Dust +
Nether Quartz


An observer is placed similarly to a piston. It observes the block that it is placed against. The texture of the detecting side is that of an observing face. As observers can detect the state of other observers, placing two adjacent observers, each watching the other, can make a fast and compact redstone clock. They send out a pulsing redstone signal.


In Java Edition, an observer detects changes in its target's block states, or the breaking or placing of a block (i.e. changes in its block state, but not its block entity data). This means that changes like the age of crops can be detected, because they are part of the block states.

In Bedrock Edition, an observer acts as a block update detector, and detects anything that causes a block update in that edition.

Note that what causes a block update and how they propagate is very different between Java Edition and Bedrock Edition. As a result, each can detect some kinds of changes that the other can't. See the table below for a comparison.

When it detects something, the observer emits a redstone pulse of strong power at level 15 for 2 game ticks (1 redstone tick). The pulse can power redstone dust, a redstone comparator, a redstone repeater, or any mechanism component located at its opposite end.

In the Java Edition, the pulse is emitted with a delay of 1 redstone tick. In Bedrock Edition, it is supposed to be delayed by 1 tick as well, but is actually delayed 2 redstone ticks due to MCPE-15793, a bug causing redstone delays to be incorrect when components are activated by world changes (which, in the case of the observer in Bedrock Edition, is the only way it can be activated), as opposed to pure redstone components ticking.

It also counts as a block update when the observer itself is moved by a piston. When this happens, an observer emits a pulse after being pushed or pulled, but not beforehand.

Though they block light, observers behave as transparent blocks do in one sense: they cannot be powered by an external power source, nor power themselves with their own output.

Because observers in Java Edition detect changes in the block state, and not block updates, they can detect a wider range of phenomena than a block update detector (BUD) circuit in Java Edition can detect (as some block state changes don't cause block updates). Observers in Bedrock Edition do detect block updates but not block state changes, and so they detect the exact same things that any other BUD would detect in that edition.


[needs testing]

Detected in
Kind of block update Bedrock Edition Java Edition Legacy Console Edition
Changes to the block states of fire that signifies flammable surfaces surrounding fire No Yes No
Opening and closing chests, ender chests and shulker boxes N/A N/A N/A
Changes to inventory of any blocks that comparators measure as containers No No No
Activating / deactivating a beacon No No No
Success of a command block No No N/A
Activation / deactivation of a hopper (Turning the hopper on/off) No Yes Yes
Dry farmland changing among its six dry-looking hydration stages No Yes Yes
Farmland going between dry and humid Yes Yes Yes
Activation / deactivation of a dropper or dispenser Yes Yes Yes
Activation / deactivation of redstone ore Yes Yes Yes
Spread of grass to dirt, or decay of grass into dirt Yes Yes Yes
Aging of saplings, sugar cane or fire Yes Yes Yes
Moving potions to / from a brewing stand Yes Yes Yes
Activation / deactivation of a dragon head Yes No Yes
Placing / removing an item frame, adding / rotating / removing an item in an item frame Yes No Yes
Teleporting something by the end gateway Yes No Yes
Adding / removing contents from a flower pot Yes Yes Yes
Locking / unlocking and changing delay of a redstone repeater Yes Yes Yes
Changes in the shape of walls, fences, iron bars, glass panes, stairs, tripwire, redstone, vines, melon stem[1] or pumpkin stem[1] No Yes Yes
A grass, mycelium, or podzol block becoming snowy or not snowy Yes Yes Yes
Playing a note block No Yes Yes
Forced growth of sugar cane by bone meal Yes N/A No
Door is opened or closed Yes Yes Yes
All other block / block state changes Yes Yes Yes


Sound Subtitle Namespaced ID Subtitle ID Source Pitch Volume Attenuation distance
Block breaking block.stone.hit subtitles.block.generic.hit Blocks 0.5 0.25 16
Block broken block.stone.break subtitles.block.generic.break Blocks 0.8 1.0 16
Block placed Blocks 0.8 1.0 16
Footsteps block.stone.step subtitles.block.generic.footsteps Blocks 1.0 0.15 16
No subtitle block.stone.fall (Plays when fallen on from a height) Blocks 0.75 0.5 16

Data values[edit]

Block data[edit]

In Bedrock Edition, observers use the following data values:

Bits Values

Three bits storing a value from 0 to 5:

  • 0: Observer facing down
  • 1: Observer facing up
  • 2: Observer facing north
  • 3: Observer facing south
  • 4: Observer facing west
  • 5: Observer facing east
0x8 If set, the observer is powered.

Block states[edit]

Java Edition:

Name Default value Allowed values Description
The direction the observer is observing. The same direction the player faces when placing the block.
True while the observer is observing a change and emitting a pulse.


Java Edition
1.1116w39a Added observer. When first added, the observers acted as a block update detector, and would emit pulses that lasted 1 game tick (0.5 redstone ticks) and had a signal strength of 1. The observer could also power blocks (like a repeater). It also had no delay between detecting a block update and emitting a pulse, meaning that observers were essentially instant. They were also placed with the observing, or input, side facing the player.
Observer Revision 1.png Note: the "arrow" texture on the top/bottom of the observer was pointing the wrong direction (towards the input, rather than the output). This was not noticed by most people, though, since the observer in Pocket Edition had a texture bug where the top & side textures would not rotate properly (except the output/input sides), causing the arrow texture to always point in the same direction.
16w41aObservers were changed to emit 4 game tick (2 redstone tick) pulses[6], and their signal strength was changed to 15.[7][8]
Observers *appear* to no longer strongly power blocks, and now emit only activation power, like a block of redstone. (And this may have been the intended behavior for this snapshot.) However, in reality, they still strongly power blocks, but the blocks adjacent to those blocks aren't given block updates, causing weird and buggy behavior.[2]
Observers are now placed with the output facing the player.[3][4]
Fixed a bug where observers would redirect redstone dust from all 4 directions.[5] (They are supposed to redirect dust only from their output side.)
16w42aThe developers attempted to make observers no longer detect block updates happening to air blocks, in order to make observer behavior more predictable.[9] In the process they broke redstone mechanics a bit, so that the block update bug from the previous snapshot now affected repeaters & comparators, too.[10]
16w43aObserver Revision 2.png Fixed the rotation of the "arrow" texture so it would point in the right direction.
General redstone mechanics work as they did before 16w42a, with the exception of the change named below.
Observers now output strong power like in 16w39a, except that they, as well as repeaters & comparators, no longer provide block updates to transparent blocks or air.
16w44aThe block update changes relating to redstone from 16w42a & 16w43a were fully reverted.
Observer behavior was overhauled/redefined. The observer changed from a block update detector to a block state change detector. Observers were changed to detect when the block it was observing changed, its basic block state changed, or the block was placed/destroyed. (Note that it does not detect changes in the extended block state, AKA changes that are not saved when the world is unloaded, such as the shape of a fence, or whether or not a repeater is locked.) This change made observer behavior much more predictable, as unexpected/invisible block updates would no longer trigger observers.[11]
Observers were changed to emit a 2 game tick (1 redstone tick) pulse when activated.[12]
Observers no longer output power instantly.[13]
pre1Observer Revision 3.png Changed front (detecting side) texture to be an 'observing face'. The "arrow" texture on the top/bottom of the observer was also modified.
The redstone output side now blinks red when it outputs power.
1.1317w47aPrior to The Flattening, this block's numeral ID was 218.
Due to The Flattening, observers can now detect all block state changes, e.g. the changes in the shape of fence and redstone dust.
1.1418w43aObserver TextureUpdate.png Changed texture of the observer.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.15.0May 2, 2016Jeb tweeted that Daniel Wustenhoff is a working on a BUD block.[15]
Tommaso Checchi tweeted his "rejected graphics" for the block.[14]
build 1Observer BE Revision 1.png Added observer block.
0.15.3Observers are now placed like a piston and not a log.
Bedrock Edition
1.2.0beta BE.png Updated textures to match Java Edition.
Observer blocks can now detect many more block changes.
Increased the strength of the redstone pulse outputted by Observer blocks and they no longer pulse twice when observing a retracting piston.
Opening and closing the command block screen no longer activates an observer block.
Legacy Console Edition
TU54CU441.52Patch 24Patch 4Added observers.
New Nintendo 3DS Edition
0.1.0Added Observers.


Issues relating to "Observer" are maintained on the bug tracker. Report issues there.


  • When moved by a piston, an observer sends a 2 game tick (1 redstone tick) pulse after being moved, which makes it useful for slime block flying machines.
  • The current Observer texture was created because Jeb kept confusing the front with the back. He said it was inspired by the "rejected texture" created by Tommaso Checchi.[16][17]


See also[edit]