How to Change the Time on Your MacBook Featured Image

How to Change the Time on Your MacBook: 5 Quick Methods

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Last updated: September 6, 2023

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Changing the time on a MacBook may seem like a trivial task, but with the intricacies of modern technology, it’s important to have a clear understanding of how to do it correctly.

From deadlines and appointments to staying in sync with global events, keeping accurate time on your MacBook is essential. Whether you’ve recently traveled to a different time zone, experienced a daylight saving time change, or simply need to adjust the clock on your MacBook, this guide will show you how to change the time on your MacBook.

Why Do I Need to Change the Time on My MacBook?

There are several reasons why you may need to change the time on your MacBook. Here are a few common scenarios where adjusting the time becomes necessary:

  1. 🌍 Time Zone Changes: If you travel across time zones, updating the time on your MacBook to match your new location is crucial. You should also switch your calendar’s time zone. Keeping your device in sync with the local time ensures appointments, reminders, and scheduled events reflect the correct time.
  2. 🌞 Daylight Saving Time: In regions that observe daylight saving time, the clock is adjusted forward or backward by an hour during specific periods of the year. To maintain accurate timekeeping, you’ll need to update your MacBook accordingly. Failing to do so can lead to discrepancies between your device’s time and the actual local time.
  3. ✈️ International Communication: In our interconnected world, you may need to communicate with individuals or businesses in different time zones. By adjusting your MacBook’s time to match their time zone, you can better coordinate meetings, calls, or other time-sensitive interactions.
  4. 💻 Software Compatibility: Some software applications and online services rely on accurate time settings to function correctly. For instance, online banking transactions, email verification protocols, and certain software licenses may require your MacBook’s time to be precise. Failure to adjust the time can result in errors and security issues.
  5. 📅 Personal Organization: Keeping accurate time on your MacBook contributes to efficient personal organization. It allows you to set reminders, alarms, and notifications that align with your daily routine, helping you effectively manage tasks, deadlines, and important events.

How to Change the Time on Your MacBook

Keeping accurate time on your MacBook is vital for staying organized, scheduling appointments, and ensuring seamless communication. Below, I’ve shared multiple methods to effortlessly change the time on your MacBook and stay in perfect harmony with the flow of time.

1. Automatically Set the Date & Time in System Settings

The easiest way to change the time on your MacBook is to set the date and time automatically in System Settings. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Apple menu located in the top-left corner of your screen and select System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. In the System Settings window, click General and select Date & Time. An icon with a calendar and a clock represents it.
click General and select Date Time
  1. In the Date & Time settings, toggle on the Set time and date automatically switch to enable automatic time synchronization.
toggle on set time and date automatically
  1. Enter your administrator username and password and click Unlock.
enter your administrator credentials and click unlock
  1. Once enabled, your MacBook will attempt to connect to an internet time server to set the date and time automatically.

Now, your MacBook will automatically retrieve the date and time information from the selected time server whenever it is connected to the internet. This ensures your device stays accurately synchronized with global time standards.

2. Use a Different Server to Automatically Set the Date and Time

When you enable the automatic date and time setting on macOS, your MacBook typically retrieves accurate information from an Apple server. In most cases, this results in correct time synchronization. However, server issues or miscommunication sometimes occur, leading to incorrect time display on your Mac.

During such situations, you can explore alternative servers for the accurate date and time. By adding different servers and observing the outcomes, you can potentially get the correct date and time information.

Here’s how to change the date and time server on your Mac:

  1. Click the Apple menu located in the top-left corner of your screen and select System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. In the System Settings window, click General and select Date & Time. An icon with a calendar and a clock represents it.
click General and select Date Time
  1. If the Set time and date automatically switch is on, you’ll see a button labeled Set next to Source. Click the Set button.
click the set button
  1. This will open a new window. Here, enter the address of the time server you want to use. By default, Apple uses time.apple.com.
enter the address of the time server

Here’s are some public time servers you can try:

  • time.google.com 
  • time.windows.com 
  • time.facebook.com 
  • pool.ntp.org

3. Use the Correct Region to Automatically the Set Date and Time

If you encounter date and time issues on your Mac, it could be due to an incorrect region setting. Fortunately, adjusting this setting is straightforward.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to changing the region in macOS:

  1. Open System Settings by clicking the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen and selecting System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. In the System Settings window, click General and select Language & Region. An icon with a globe represents it.
click general select language and region
  1. In the Language & Region settings, look for the dropdown menu next to Region and choose the correct country or region corresponding to your location.
choose the correct country or region
  1. Alternatively, click General and go to Date & Time in System Settings.
click General and select Date Time
  1. Toggle off the Set time zone automatically using your current location switch.
toggle off set time zone automatically using your current location
  1. Next, choose the Closest city from the drop-down menu under Time zone, which becomes clickable after you toggle on the Set time zone automatically using your current location switch.
choose the closest city from drop down menu under time zone
  1. Once you’ve selected the appropriate region, the date and time settings will automatically adjust to reflect the formatting and time zone associated with that region.

By ensuring the correct region setting on your Mac, you can resolve date and time discrepancies and enjoy accurate timekeeping and formatting that aligns with your specific location.

4. Allow Location Services to Automatically Set the Correct Time Zone

Using Location Services is a convenient and efficient method to automatically set the accurate date and time on your Mac, particularly the time zone.

By enabling this feature and ensuring the provided information is correct, macOS will automatically adjust the settings to align with your current geographical position. This includes updating seasonal changes in your time zone, such as daylight saving time, without requiring manual intervention.

Here’s how to enable Location Services on your Mac to determine your current location:

  1. Open System Settings by clicking the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen and selecting System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. In the System Preferences window, click Privacy & Security and select Location Services.
click privacy and security then select location services
  1. Ensure the Location Services switch is toggled on.
toggle on location services
  1. Scroll down to the System Services section and click Details.
scroll down to the system services section and click details
  1. In the System Services details, ensure the Setting time zone and System customization switches are toggled on.
toggle on setting time zone and system customization switches
  1. Next, go to System Settings > General > Date & Time and toggle on the Set time zone automatically using your current location switch to ensure your Mac always has the correct time and time zone information.
toggle off set time zone automatically using your current location

By following these steps, you can configure and enable Location Services, allowing your Mac to adjust date and time settings automatically. It also resolves potential prompts or issues related to Location Services and time synchronization.

5. Change the Time on Your Mac Manually

Manually changing the time on a MacBook can be helpful if there are issues with the automatic time syncing feature. Follow these steps to change the time on your Mac manually:

  1. Click the Apple menu in the top left corner of your screen and select System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Click General in the left sidebar and select Date & Time.
click General and select Date Time
  1. Toggle off the Set date and time automatically switch.
toggle off set time zone automatically using your current location to change the time
  1. Click the Set button next to Date and time.
click the set button
  1. In the new windows, type the correct date and time.
set date and time
  1. Tap the Set button to confirm the date and time.
click the set button
  1. Close the System Settings window.

That’s it! Your Mac’s time should now be updated to the new time you set.

How to Change the Time Format on a Mac

Changing the time format on your Mac allows you to customize how time information is displayed according to your personal preference or regional standards.

If you frequently communicate with individuals or businesses located in different regions, adjusting the time format on your Mac to match their preferred format can enhance clarity and avoid confusion during scheduling or time-sensitive discussions.

To change the time format on your Mac, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Apple menu located in the top-left corner of your screen and select System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. In the System Settings window, click General and select Date & Time.
click General and select Date Time
  1. In the Date & Time settings, toggle on the 24-hour time switch.
toggle on the 24 hour time switch
  1. This will change your time format to the 24-hour format.

Now, the time format on your Mac will be changed to your selected preference. The updated time format will be reflected in the clock display and various system applications and interfaces.

Keep Your Mac’s Time Up to Date

Knowing how to change the time on your MacBook keeps you on top of everything time-sensitive and doesn’t hinder your productivity. Some other tips to improve your MacBook usage are as follows:

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why is the time on my MacBook not updating automatically?

    The time on your MacBook may not update automatically due to potential factors such as network connectivity issues, incorrect time zone settings, or the disabled Set time and date automatically option. Checking these settings and ensuring a stable internet connection can help resolve the issue.

  2. Can I change the time zone on my MacBook without changing the time?

    Yes, you can change the time zone on your MacBook without changing the time. By adjusting the time zone setting in the Date & Time settings, you can specify a different region or time zone while keeping the current time intact. This allows you to accurately reflect the time of a different location without changing the local time on your MacBook.

  3. Can I schedule my MacBook to change the time for daylight saving automatically?

    Yes, you can schedule your MacBook to change the time for daylight saving automatically. By enabling the Set time and date automatically option in the Date & Time settings, your MacBook will adjust for daylight saving time changes based on your location, ensuring accurate timekeeping without manual intervention.

  4. What should I do if the time on my MacBook keeps resetting to a different time zone?

    If the time on your MacBook keeps resetting to a different time zone, try enabling Set time and date automatically in the Date & Time settings and ensure a stable internet connection. Manually selecting the correct time zone from the dropdown menu can also help resolve the issue. You can also try resetting the SMC or PRAM/NVRAM or contact Apple Support for further assistance.

Hashir Ibrahim

Author

I'm Hashir, a tech journalist with a decade of experience. My work has been featured in some of the top tech publications like MakeUseOf and MakeTechEasier. I have a bachelor's degree in IT, a master's in cybersecurity, and extensive knowledge of Apple hardware, specifically MacBooks. As the senior writer at MacBook Journal, I write in depth guides that help you solve any issues you have with your mac and unbiased reviews that help you make the right buying decisions.

Ojash

Reviewer

Hi there! I'm Ojash, a tech journalist with over a decade of experience in the industry. I've had the privilege of contributing to some of the world's largest tech publications, making my mark as a respected Mac expert. My passion lies in exploring, using, and writing about MacBooks, and I enjoy sharing my expertise to help others make informed decisions and get the most out of their MacBook experience. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of MacBooks together!

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