Minecraft has a day and night cycle that affects the world in many ways, but users are unsure how long it lasts. Knowing that bit of information is pivotal n Survival Mode. That would let you plan hunting, fishing, building, farming, and other activities during the in-game day. Then, you can lock up your shelter to protect yourself, other players, resources, and livestock from hostile mobs. Spiders, zombies, creepers, and skeletons come to mind first, but there are plenty more dangers. For instance, you can run out of torches or fall into a cave system at night. Therefore, you need an answer to the question, “how long is a Minecraft day?”
How long does a day in Minecraft last?
A full day in Minecraft lasts 20 real-time minutes, and time passes 72 times faster in the game than in real-time. We found that out by comparing it to the passage of time in a real day (24 hours = 1440 minutes = 86400 seconds (3600 seconds x 24 hr)) compared to 1200 seconds (20 minutes) in a Minecraft day. If we assume the normal passage of time in a program loop the game calls ticks (there are 20 ticks per second, i.e., 0.05 second or 50 milliseconds), we also know each day has 24000 ticks. That equation 86400 seconds / 1200 seconds = 72 explains the comparison.
It is also important to note that Minecraft has a lunar cycle. In other words, the Moon has one of 8 phases every night, i.e., the cycle lasts 8 in-game days, then restarts. With all that in mind, we know that 1 second in Minecraft is 0.0138 seconds in real-time, i.e., 1 minute is 0.83 seconds and 1 hour is 50 seconds. Also, 1 second in-game corresponds to 0.27 ticks, if you need to use commands. To flip it around, 1 second in real time is 1 minute and 12 seconds (72 sec) of Minecraft time. Similarly, 10 seconds in 12 minutes, 1 minute is 1h hour and 12 minutes, and 1 hour is 3 days.
How does a 24-hour cycle look in Minecraft?
To save time and effort (and because not all times are noteworthy), we showed a breakdown of some notable times in a 24-hour Minecraft day cycle:
|06:00:00.0||0 minutes 0 seconds||The Minecraft day starts. You woke up at this time after using a bed you made. The Sun has risen an hour before.|
|07:00:00.0||0 minutes 50 seconds||If you use the /time set day command we’ll mention, time will shift to this in-game time.|
|08:00:00.0||1 minute 40 seconds||Villagers will start working.|
|11:43:22.8||4 minutes 46 seconds 15 milliseconds||If you open an in-game clock, it will show midday.|
|12:00:00.0||5 minutes||Marks noon. The Sun will be at its highest point.|
|15:00:00.0||7 minutes 30 seconds||Villagers stop working.|
|18:00:00.0||10 minutes||The day ends, and sunset begins. Villagers will head to sleep.|
|18:36:36.0||10 minutes 30 seconds 5 milliseconds||Opening the clock shows dusk (the moment between day and night).|
|19:00:00.0||10 minutes 50 seconds||Minecraft night starts.|
|19:11:16.8||10 minutes 59 seconds 4 milliseconds||Mobs start spawning in clear weather (they begin spawning approximately 10 seconds earlier in rainy weather).|
|23:50:34.8||14 minutes 52 seconds 7 milliseconds||Opening the clock shows midnight.|
|00:00:00.0||15 minutes||Midnight in the game.|
|04:48:46.8||19 minutes 6 milliseconds||The last time a mob can spawn in clear weather. Takes roughly 6 more seconds in rainy weather.|
|05:00:00.0||19 minutes 10 seconds||Sunrise in Minecraft.|
|05:02:27.6||19 minutes 12 seconds 1 millisecond||The clock shows dawn.|
The short version is that daytime is the longest period (10 minutes), starts at 06:00 in-game, reaches a mid-portion at 12:00 (5 minutes, noon), and ends at 18:00 (10 minutes). That’s when sunset starts and lasts 50 seconds, between 18:00 and 19:00. At 19:00, the night begins, and lasts 8 minutes and 20 seconds, reaching its mid-portion at 00:00 and turning into sunrise at 05:00. The period between sunrise and dawn also lasts 50 seconds, from 05:00 to 06:00, when the Minecraft day begins.
Using commands to alter time in Minecraft
First, we want to state that the daylight cycle only applies to the Overworld and that you can craft a Clock to keep track of it. However, if you transition to the End or the Nether, the Clock will spin randomly, as there are no daylight cycles in those dimensions. That brings us to the ability to use Minecraft commands to modify time. Although we won’t get into all possible variations, here are some time-related Minecraft commands you might find useful:
- /gamerule doDaylightCycle true (if you put false instead, you would disable the daylight cycle, and the time of day will be static)
- /time set day (you can also use noon, sunset, night, midnight, and sunrise instead. Those names correspond to the times in the table we provided)
- /time set 0 (sets the time to the beginning of a Minecraft day, i.e., 0 ticks. Since there are 24000 ticks in a day, putting that number ends the day. Similarly, 6000 would make the time noon and 12000 is the moment between dusk and sunset)
- /time add 24000 (Adds a certain number of ticks to the current time, pushing the day forward. Entering 24000 would shift the time for exactly 1 day)
Also, since the moon is at its peak at 14000 ticks or 20:00:00.0 or slightly over 16 minutes and 40 seconds, you can use the tick numbers to see all 8 phases. That would regularly take 8 in-game days or 160 minutes. Therefore, add 24000 to see the next phase, starting at /time set 14000 (first full moon), /time set 38000 (waning gibbous), /time set 62000 (third quarter), and so on. You would end with /time set 182000 (waxing gibbous, last phase). Finally, we want to mention that you’ll get a “Passing the Time” achievement when playing for 100 days, i.e., 33 real-time hours.