Q&A: Setting date and time

Q I finally got round to upgrading my iMac, but am having problems setting the time and date on it. I ended up in the Language & Region pane in System Preferences, trying to customise the Dates and Times section there, but cannot work out how use it.

A To set the time and date, select the Date & Time pane, then click on the Date & Time tab in that. The easiest option, provided that your Mac has a permanently open connection to the Internet, is to select (tick) the option at the top to set them automatically, choosing the Apple Europe NTP server, time.euro.apple.com.

dandtsetThen check that your Mac is set to the correct time zone, in the Time Zone tab. Here you should be able to find a nearby city in its popup menu, which will ensure that summer time is applied automatically, for example. The Clock tab lets you customise any menubar clock you may wish to display.

dandtzonesShortly afterwards your Mac should connect to that time server and set its time and date for itself. If that does not work, or your connection is intermittent, you can set it manually by deselecting that option, then navigating through the calendar and clicking on the correct day of the month and year, or by setting the digital date above the calendar. Repeat this process for the clock, and click on the clock to apply the change.

The Language & Region pane is intended to allow you to change the formats used to lay times and date out. These are revealed by clicking the Advanced… button, and allow you, for example, to configure the default layout to give long dates as Wed Jan 5 2016 AD instead of the default British setting of Wednesday, 5 January 2016, and so on. Although those customisation controls may appear to allow you to alter the date and time itself, you can only do that in the Date & Time pane itself.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 27 issue 25, 2011.