Redstone Builders: A proposal for improvement of item control in MCPE

This article was written by reader Matthew Tatéossian as part of our Redstone Builders program, which allows anyone to submit articles to us to post. If you are interested, visit the About page for more information. Enjoy!

Control of items in Minecraft: Pocket Edition is severely lacking. Organization of any kind is tedious, tasks such as combining tools are impossible, tossing items on the ground is haphazard, frustrating, and unreliable, and crafting feels like ordering from a menu rather than building from one’s hard-earned resources (and it isn’t always the easiest or most organized menu to navigate, either). This inability to effectively manipulate one’s materials is a hobbling problem, and the below chart outlines my solution to that problem – and my vision for item control in MCPE.

A few small changes would be necessary to implement this. First, single tapping any square, be it an inventory slot, the furnace fuel slot, or a brewing stand potion slot, should surround the square with a light gray frame, much as it does on the hotbar already. Double tapping any square should surround that square with a different frame, one that’s hopefully brighter, perhaps green in color and maybe even slightly animated to draw extra attention to it.

Second, crafting interfaces (Crafting Table, Stonecutter) need a UI similar to PC, with a 3 x 3 grid of squares that can receive items for crafting purposes. The “Craft” button should be there as usual. The item crafted square should be able to be double tapped; hitting “Craft” after double tapping it would craft the maximum amount of that item.

Third, an item info box, accessible by double tapping then holding down a square, needs to be implemented (equivalent to hovering over an item in PC). It should stay in view until the square is tapped again, and should show the item’s name and (wherever applicable) enchantments, effects, duration, and more.

Fourth, while accessing one's inventory, it should be possible to tap outside (the small part of the screen where the world is still visible) as a way to throw items on the ground. See the chart for details.

Finally, for aesthetic reasons, I would love for the entire inventory to be accessible on UIs for furnaces, enchantment tables, brewing stands, etc. as well as for crafting tables.


To summarize, 1) Tapping around selects and deselects items; 2) Tapping a square then Hold + Tapping moves items around one at a time; 3) Double tapping a square then tapping around moves complete stacks at a time, and 4) Double tapping a square then Hold + Tapping moves half stacks at a time. To illustrate how this might work in gameplay, here are several examples.

I want to empty a slot on my hotbar in order to use my hand.

Before: Impossible without moving the stack of items outside of your inventory.

After: Enter your inventory. Double tap an empty square, and then tap the square you want empty. (They will trade places.)

I came back from clay gathering and have 4 stacks of Clay, plus an additional 12. I want to make them all into Clay Blocks.

Before: Select the Clay Blocks recipe in a crafting area. Tap “Craft” 67 times.

After: First, double tap the first stack and tap an empty square in the crafting area. Repeat with the other three stacks to form a 2 x 2 square of Clay. Double tap the Clay Blocks and hit "Craft".

Second, tap the stack of 12 Clay and Hold + Tap three clay into each crafting square. Double tap the Clay Blocks and hit "Craft" to craft the last three Clay Blocks.

I have seven cobblestone and six sticks, and I would like to make my first Stone Pickaxe.

Before: In a Crafting Table, search for the Stone Pickaxe recipe. Hit “Craft” once.

After: In a Crafting Table, tap the sticks, then Hold + Tap two of them into the right squares. Tap the cobblestone, then hold + Tap three of them into the right squares. Hit “Craft”.

In a chest, I want one gunpowder item in all four squares of a particular row so I can simply throw in more and it will stay organized.

Before: Not possible unless you have several stacks already.

After: Tap the gunpowder in your inventory, then Hold + Tap on the four squares to put one gunpowder item in each. If, for example, you have a full stack to throw in afterwards, you can double tap the stack, then tap the first square in the chest. The first 63 gunpowder items will go there, and the extra one will automatically be sent to the second square.

These 17 Cooked Salmon go in my inventory, not this chest.

Before: Hold down the stack until it is sent to your inventory. You cannot choose which spot it will occupy.

After: Double tap the salmon, and tap the empty spot in your inventory you want it to go to.

If implemented, these ideas may not make every single task quicker or simpler - however, I am convinced that it will make every task more organized, more logical, more effective, and more rewarding.

Thanks for reading! Reactions, suggestions, and spreading of ideas are welcomed!

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August 4, 2015 at 1:41 AM delete

Great article. And even with the current crafting system (MATTIS), they could still implement tapping and holding on the craft button to make the maximum amount of the item.

August 4, 2015 at 7:56 AM delete

Good ideas, and good that you simplified it in the end because I found it confusing at first.

August 5, 2015 at 9:43 AM delete

This is great. New item control in PE. Its so much different since you don't have a keyboard and mouse.

August 5, 2015 at 9:26 PM delete

I totally agree! I hate how the item organization works in PE-if you want to re-organize a chest you'll have to empty the whole thing first. Sadly it looks like this isn't very high on Mojang's agenda. Maybe you could try creating a petition :)

August 6, 2015 at 9:51 PM delete

I keep wishing until there is pc crafting but i dont know when

August 7, 2015 at 2:15 AM delete

That sounds like a great idea - could you tell me how I can do that?

August 7, 2015 at 2:24 AM delete

That sounds like a great idea - could you tell me how I can do that?

August 8, 2015 at 3:57 PM delete

Could you explain what you mean by creating a petition? I'd love to do that if it means more people will know about this.

Varun Lakshmanan
August 9, 2015 at 5:30 PM delete

Awesome article! I totally agree with you!