When a new update to Minecraft - Pocket Edition [$6.99] hits, we can't help but wonder how many potential players aren't playing this game. Minecraft is baffling for some folks; it's not the best at expressing what it is and what you can do in it. And even when you do figure out that punching blocks yields resources, you've still got to figure out the whole living through the first night thing. And crafting. There's a lot for the uninitiated to learn.

Try telling a friend about how to play Minecraft. Provided they haven't seen it before, you'll probably blow their mind. They'll stop you and say, "uh what" a lot. And you'll forget to mention a few things. There's a lot of rules, stuff to build, and a lot of weird concepts to talk about, after all.

We maybe missed the boat a little bit, but we wanted to go ahead and just handle this issue in our own little way in light the game's latest update. In this guide, we'll be going over the basics of surviving and thriving in your first 20 or so minutes in Pocket Edition on Survival Mode. We won't hit everything, of course, but we're pretty sure that by following these tips, you'll get a handle on how to roll in the game.

Your Fists Are Your Friend

So, you've just started a new world. Congratulations! You'll probably die pretty soon, though, so don't get too attached to this specific life. Go ahead and punch a tree. No, seriously -- hold down on the screen and punch a tree. If you punch long enough, the wood will break and you'll collect some logs. You'll need these.

The Sun Is Not Your Friend

You're working on a limited schedule here because, when it gets dark, zombies and other bad things will come out at night and try to eat your fleshy bits. Your goal for the first night is a simple one: dig a good-sized hole in the side of a mountain. We'll get back to this in a second.

Continue Punching Stuff

You can punch other stuff, too, including the ground. Notice how dirt drops dirt blocks and sand drops sand blocks? Resources, which are the end result of bashing something, can be crafted into items, which will allow you to survive and, eventually, thrive. But first you've got to get a crafting table for the high-level stuff.

Crafting 101

You've got some logs. Hit the triple circle thing on your inventory bar. This is the crafting menu. You can build things from here. Click on the block at the top and look for "wooden planks." Turn your logs into planks. Now, turn a few of those planks into sticks. Piece of cake!

Make Some Tools

Provided you've got enough planks, you should be able to make a crafting table. This is where the magic happens. Make some wooden tools, first. Make a wooden axe, wooden pick-axe, and a wooden shovel. Axes cut wood faster than your fists. Pick-axes break down rocks quicker. Shovels churn through dirt quicker.

Coal Is An Even Better Friend

You thought your fists were important, right? Coal, which is dropped from gray blocks with black splotches all over them, is a way better friend. When combined with a stick, you can make torches. These allow you to see in the dark and keep the wicked away. The wicked being those dudes who want to eat you. Remember?

But Where Do I Find It?

Coal appears above ground, usually on the side of tall mountains. Stretch your legs a little bit and start walking around. Find a mountain. Get some coal.

Get Comfy

That mountain where you got the coal? Start digging into the side of it, maybe about five or six blocks deep. Throw a couple of torches in there. Congratulations, you now have your first home, your first dirt palace. It probably smells bad and, yeah, it's not exactly an ambitious project, but it's going to save your bacon when the sun goes down.

With Your Extra Time

Beat up some more trees with your axe. Crunch some rock with your pick-axe. Now, with these rocks you can make even stronger, more durable tools -- tools with actual sharp edges. Iron and diamond are even better tools, but you haven't started digging down.

Now It's Time To Mine

Go back into your home. Use a couple of blocks to seal the entrance. This will keep the monsters away from you. Now, start digging down -- not straight down, mind. Pretend like you're making a dirt and rock staircase to Hades. This strategy makes it easier to avoid falling into a hole by accident.


The point of mining is to gather more precious materials -- stuff like diamonds and iron and gold. With these components, you can make armor, which dampens the amount of damage you take from monsters. You can also make stronger tools, as well as a sword. You'll need a crafting table for this stuff.

Build A Furnace

You can also smelt sources to make better ones. A furnace requires a trivial amount of basic rock blocks. You should have plenty of those. Build one and click on it. Check out all the stuff you can make.

What Else Can You Make?

Lots of stuff. Beds, for example. You can make books and bookshelves and paintings. You can form bricks from bits of clay, if you build that a furnace. Sop and take note of all the things available to you via the furnace and table. You might be surprised by the sheer amount of things you can slap together.

Now What?

You've got the basics. You know how the world works, and you've got your head around the game's twisted logic. Now, go build a brick house in the middle of a desert. Build a mighty sheep farm. Do whatever you want!


It's hard not to get wrapped up in Minecraft. It's an amazing game where you sorta shape your own survival narrative, while creating some awesome things along the way. Hopefully we helped a couple of you out there who couldn't quite get past the learning curve of the first night.

If you've got any tips for new players, throw 'em into the comments. We're sure folks will be thankful down the road. Also, if you're a pro, don't forget to check out the game's latest update -- the addition of armor, signs, and new blocks like, say, Smooth Stone is pretty exciting.

  • iarepan

    Is it possible to fall in a naturally formed cave as the article suggests?

    • Wikilix

      No. They have yet to add them.

      • loophole

        They're adding them in the next update (0.9.0) along with infinite worlds, biomes, and bunch of other sweet stuff!

  • isway

    Yes and no

  • Ace43

    As of now there aren't caves in the pocket edition. It was mentioned that maybe in a later update it would be an option to turn on and off. Also, it mentions finding SILVER & diamond. There's no silver, but there is gold. I just thought I'd point that out so people aren't confused going "I've been digging for hours, where's the silver!!"

    • Ace43

      By caves I mean there's not underground caves. You can dig for 5 minutes and suddenly stumble upon a cave with lava and all the other goodies from the PC version. There are above ground caves, which are really just huge overhangs.

      • Ace43

        Cant* I wish I could edit my posts on an iPod. You CAN'T stumble upon caves. Sorry bout that.

  • Platyrrhine

    Staircase to Hades sounds like the next hit single by Brad Nicholson, boy band heartthrob and TouchArcade editor extraordinaire.

  • lazrhog

    Plus using iExplorer you can copy pre-made maps from the internet into the minecraft game documents directory (not jailbroken) and they load up just fine on the pocket edition (did it last night)

    • http://twitter.com/manufracture D Schutz

      that's a fantastic tip. i've been holding off on getting MCPE due to its limitations but the fact it can use pre-made maps makes me consider it more.

  • http://twitter.com/UlickNOwen Fuzzy Dunlop

    You know the controls are by nature very clunky as compared to the PC version, right? I feel like control issues are often the unmentioned elephant in the room when it comes to ports of good games. Yeah, it's great that the game is in my pocket now, but still... that control...

    • King Random

      Totally agree...

    • SmackDatButt

      It needs more accessibility. There should be more in the options menu, like the option to have virtual sticks instead of the d-pad.

    • Shadowking2214

      Play with split touch,it feels much better than with the default controls

      • http://twitter.com/UlickNOwen Fuzzy Dunlop

        Thanks Shadowking I will give that a try!

  • Shadowking2214

    This article really takes me back to the first time I played minecraft on the PC,it was on 1.8.1 Beta and was still growing,it's amazing to see how much THIS version has grown since its release.

  • Outrager

    I actually bought Minecraft last year and tried to start a game like 4 times and each time I would just get killed before I could build a house. I was also too lazy to look for a guide so thanks for this. I never thought to make a cave my first home.

  • http://twitter.com/manufracture D Schutz

    are beds functioning like they do in the desktop version, or are they just for display at the moment? might want to explain to beginners why they would want to craft a bed (sleeping in one passes the night, and if you die you respawn next to the last one you slept in). while i don't have the pocket version, i found the Minecraft wiki to be very helpful for these details.

    • Holcman

      Beds work, but are glitchy sometimes. Try standing on the same floor level as it and clicking on the top half. It works that way for me.

  • .Asa

    It would be stupid for a beginner to try to survive the first night in survival with all the hostile mobs around. To avoid extreme frustration, go to the main menu > options > and turn on peaceful mode. Now there aren't any bad guys, so you can build your first house in peace. After you feel settled down, turn off peaceful mode, and watch out!

    • Cassahh

      Where's the fun in that?

  • swaggkidd25

    When is the multiplayer gonna be better

  • AceDeSpade

    On the bright side, no hunger.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kptvickers Karen Vickers

    I have mined some blocks with dark blotches on them but they leave nothing behind..... should they leave coal every time you mine them??? otherwise I cant get my torches to work.

    • Sorrento Williams

      You can make coal in your furnace, just put regular wood on top and on bottom.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jake.fryer.52 Jake Fryer

    if you cant find iron and gold and diamonds kill alot of cows and make leather armour for the first couple of days

  • Tiffany Renee

    can you please take me through what to use and how i get it when looking for diamonds.

  • McIPadgirl

    Thnx for the help! I have a question however. Does underground have monsters like the PC? I don't want to die underground.

  • Emydius Montes

    Well, I just downloaded Minecraft Pocket Edition, after using the PC and Xbox Edition a billion times. What I just did is karate chop a bunch of trees, build a tiny house without a roof, and stay inside. As the days went on I gathered more materials and made what is my house. Currently, I haven't done much, but I got some progress.

  • Keith Carrouth

    Try making a house like this...(6x6)

  • CaylaJlance

    I downloaded it in my iPhone 5 and my daughter and u can't even create a "world "


    How do you eat?? Im beatin up animals, collecting meats but i dont know how to eat, there isnt even a "hunger bar" on the pocket edition. Also how do you mine specific earth materials to craft tools? I'll hit something but i cant collect it and then the options to build a specific item isnt available to tap. Pls help!!! I cant just survive w/wooden tools haha

  • CrazyLee

    What are seeds?

  • Regina Parker

    to get the cocoa seed you have to mix red dye, yellow dye and black ink pod. it will "spawn" cocoa seed. this is then planted to make a cocoa tree. if you hover over your bottom icon on the crafting table, then page down to the cocoa seeds and look at the requirements on the right, it will show you what is required to "make" it. I've been desperately looking for the "octopus" to get an ink pod - so I could make some for ages. To get the red dye, you can make it from the beets, yellow dye comes from the yellow flowers.

  • steve huddie

    is it possible to retrieve minecraft world if inadvertently deleted from ipad app game

  • steve huddie

    is it possible to retrieve minecraft world if inadvertently deleted from ipad app game

  • Steve Hurley

    How do you open a chest or furnace etc.. without breaking it?.

    • Bill

      Just touch it once quickly.

  • Minecraft Momma

    I just gave permission for my son to buy "Mods" and "Mods for Minecraft PE" from the Apple store for his iPad game of Minecraft PE. Does anyone have a clue as to how to get these mods in his PE game?


    Frustrated Momma!

    PS. Developer is JK2Designs LLC (I have also sent them a message)

  • Sommer Atkins

    What is the little bread icons at the top and how do i get more?