Tutorials/X-ray glitches

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This page demonstrates the use of a bug to make a contraption.
Bugs of this nature may be fixed at any time without warning. When this happens, the contraption will cease to work.
Use at your own risk.
What the world looks like when using an x-ray glitch. The dark strips are caves
The same screenshot but with Night Vision. A drowned can be seen.

X-ray glitches allow the player to see certain features that are normally hidden behind blocks.

Why bother?[edit]

X-ray glitches are useful for locating underground structures such as dungeons and mineshafts. They can also help you find end portal rooms once you are near a stronghold. If you are in the Nether, you can use x-ray glitches to locate fortresses, bastions and ancient debris.

Make sure that you're allowed to use this glitch in servers, though. For most servers, this can count as cheating because you can see the surroundings for mobs, loot chests or precious ores. If others catch you cheating, they can forbid you to do something or even ban you off the server.

General approach[edit]

For time efficiency, the game only renders block surfaces if there is a transparent block between the surface and the player. For this purpose, transparent generally means that the player can see through the block, although lava is also transparent for this purpose.

Normally, the camera is inside a transparent block, unless the player is suffocating, in which case the game renders blocks differently. However, it is possible for the camera to be inside a block, but the game does not register that the player is inside. In this case, the player "x-rays" through blocks immediately in the front.

Bedrock Edition[edit]

Piston and slab method[edit]

This method works by pushing a slab into the player's head. Since slabs are partial blocks, the game does not consider the player to be inside a block. This trick has two main variants: One for looking upward and one for looking downward.

To x-ray upward, you need the following:

It is recommended to have multiple slabs, so you can see more. The main setup is as follows, where everything is at head height:

Again, you may wish to surround your head with top slabs wherever possible, to maximize visibility. When you are ready, activate the lever, and the glitch will begin almost immediately.

To x-ray downward, you need the following:

To set this up, start with the same setup as before, but place 2 pistons (1 at head height and one at foot height). The lower piston has a solid block in front, while the upper piston has a bottom slab. Surround yourself with additional blocks, with slabs on top, to maximize visibility. After you pull the lever, the x-ray glitch does not happen yet. Therefore, you can destroy the redstone, including the pistons, and surround yourself further. For the location that was the piston head, placing the full block is tricky, as you cannot look at a suitable surface. Instead, place the sand above where you want it to land, then place the slab as normal. When you are ready to trigger the glitch, enter sneak mode, and your eyes will lie below the top of the slab.

Falling snow method[edit]

This method works by gravity-affected blocks landing at the player's feet and piling up to the player's eye level. It can only be used to x-ray downward. You need the following materials:

  • 1 sand (or other cubic, gravity-affected block)
  • 4 top snow
  • Lots of slabs (optional, but increases visibility)

To begin, dig a 1-deep hole, and surround it with bottom slabs. Place a solid block above the hole, high enough that you can walk underneath. Next, place the sand on top, then stack the snow. Finally, stand in the hole, break the block, and enter sneaking.

Boat method[edit]

This method is fairly easy, and it only works by strip mining a few blocks, put a boat on the very side (close to the wall) and ride the boat. You also need to mine some blocks upwards so you won't suffocate when you leave the boat, the boat needs to be close enough to the wall and steer it if you haven't get the total vision of the side. You just need to remove the boat and place it again whenever the side goes dark. This is only effective on one side so you need to place the boat the other side if you want to see the other.

Java Edition[edit]

Piston and composter method[edit]

The setup for the piston-composter method.

This method works by pushing a piston onto the players head, which allows the player to see nearby caves and underground systems.

To x-ray downward, you need the following:

To begin, dig a 1-deep hole. Place the composter in the hole, and build a 2-block tall wall on either side of the hole. Then place and switch the lever on the top block of the wall. Finally, step into the composter and place the piston above your head.

Sand/gravel and composter method[edit]

This is a cheaper way of the Piston and composter method.

Instead of using pistons, you can use sand or gravel

You will need the following:


Dig a 3-deep hole. Place the composter inside the hole, then enter it. After entering, put the sand on the highest block, and you're done!

Water method[edit]

This method is simple because all you need is a pool of water with a one block over part of it.

You will need the following:

Swim under the block and swim up. Once your head is inside the block you will notice that your air bar is frozen at full and you can x-ray in all directions.

Side view of this method

Trivia[edit]

  • In Bedrock Edition the Stripe Lands may be considered an x-ray bug, in that they follow the same rules for what blocks are visible. This is why the sides of blocks do not always render.