DATE(1) General Commands Manual DATE(1)
date – display or set date and time
date [-jRu] [-r seconds | filename] [-v [+|-]val[ymwdHMS]] ...
date [-jnu] [[[mm]dd]HH]MM[[cc]yy][.ss]
date [-jnRu] -f input_fmt new_date [+output_fmt]
date [-d dst] [-t minutes_west]
When invoked without arguments, the date utility displays the current date
and time. Otherwise, depending on the options specified, date will set the
date and time or print it in a user-defined way.
The date utility displays the date and time read from the kernel clock.
When used to set the date and time, both the kernel clock and the hardware
clock are updated.
Only the superuser may set the date, and if the system securelevel (see
securelevel(7)) is greater than 1, the time may not be changed by more than
The options are as follows:
-d dst Set the kernel's value for daylight saving time. If dst is non-
zero, future calls to gettimeofday(2) will return a non-zero for
-f Use input_fmt as the format string to parse the new_date provided
rather than using the default [[[mm]dd]HH]MM[[cc]yy][.ss] format.
Parsing is done using strptime(3).
-j Do not try to set the date. This allows you to use the -f flag in
addition to the + option to convert one date format to another.
-n By default, if the timed(8) daemon is running, date sets the time
on all of the machines in the local group. The -n option
suppresses this behavior and causes the time to be set only on the
-R Use RFC 2822 date and time output format. This is equivalent to use
“%a, %d %b %Y %T %z” as output_fmt while LC_TIME is set to the “C”
Print the date and time represented by seconds, where seconds is
the number of seconds since the Epoch (00:00:00 UTC, January 1,
1970; see time(3)), and can be specified in decimal, octal, or hex.
Print the date and time of the last modification of filename.
Set the system's value for minutes west of GMT. minutes_west
specifies the number of minutes returned in tz_minuteswest by
future calls to gettimeofday(2).
-u Display or set the date in UTC (Coordinated Universal) time.
-v Adjust (i.e., take the current date and display the result of the
adjustment; not actually set the date) the second, minute, hour,
month day, week day, month or year according to val. If val is
preceded with a plus or minus sign, the date is adjusted forwards
or backwards according to the remaining string, otherwise the
relevant part of the date is set. The date can be adjusted as many
times as required using these flags. Flags are processed in the
When setting values (rather than adjusting them), seconds are in
the range 0-59, minutes are in the range 0-59, hours are in the
range 0-23, month days are in the range 1-31, week days are in the
range 0-6 (Sun-Sat), months are in the range 1-12 (Jan-Dec) and
years are in the range 80-38 or 1980-2038.
If val is numeric, one of either y, m, w, d, H, M or S must be used
to specify which part of the date is to be adjusted.
The week day or month may be specified using a name rather than a
number. If a name is used with the plus (or minus) sign, the date
will be put forwards (or backwards) to the next (previous) date
that matches the given week day or month. This will not adjust the
date, if the given week day or month is the same as the current
When a date is adjusted to a specific value or in units greater
than hours, daylight savings time considerations are ignored.
Adjustments in units of hours or less honor daylight saving time.
So, assuming the current date is March 26, 0:30 and that the DST
adjustment means that the clock goes forward at 01:00 to 02:00,
using -v +1H will adjust the date to March 26, 2:30. Likewise, if
the date is October 29, 0:30 and the DST adjustment means that the
clock goes back at 02:00 to 01:00, using -v +3H will be necessary
to reach October 29, 2:30.
When the date is adjusted to a specific value that does not
actually exist (for example March 26, 1:30 BST 2000 in the
Europe/London timezone), the date will be silently adjusted
forwards in units of one hour until it reaches a valid time. When
the date is adjusted to a specific value that occurs twice (for
example October 29, 1:30 2000), the resulting timezone will be set
so that the date matches the earlier of the two times.
It is not possible to adjust a date to an invalid absolute day, so
using the switches -v 31d -v 12m will simply fail five months of
the year. It is therefore usual to set the month before setting
the day; using -v 12m -v 31d always works.
Adjusting the date by months is inherently ambiguous because a
month is a unit of variable length depending on the current date.
This kind of date adjustment is applied in the most intuitive way.
First of all, date tries to preserve the day of the month. If it
is impossible because the target month is shorter than the present
one, the last day of the target month will be the result. For
example, using -v +1m on May 31 will adjust the date to June 30,
while using the same option on January 30 will result in the date
adjusted to the last day of February. This approach is also
believed to make the most sense for shell scripting. Nevertheless,
be aware that going forth and back by the same number of months may
take you to a different date.
Refer to the examples below for further details.
An operand with a leading plus (‘+’) sign signals a user-defined format
string which specifies the format in which to display the date and time.
The format string may contain any of the conversion specifications
described in the strftime(3) manual page, as well as any arbitrary text. A
newline (‘\n’) character is always output after the characters specified by
the format string. The format string for the default display is “+%+”.
If an operand does not have a leading plus sign, it is interpreted as a
value for setting the system's notion of the current date and time. The
canonical representation for setting the date and time is:
cc Century (either 19 or 20) prepended to the abbreviated year.
yy Year in abbreviated form (e.g., 89 for 1989, 06 for 2006).
mm Numeric month, a number from 1 to 12.
dd Day, a number from 1 to 31.
HH Hour, a number from 0 to 23.
MM Minutes, a number from 0 to 59.
ss Seconds, a number from 0 to 61 (59 plus a maximum of two leap
Everything but the minutes is optional.
Time changes for Daylight Saving Time, standard time, leap seconds, and
leap years are handled automatically.
The following environment variables affect the execution of date:
TZ The timezone to use when displaying dates. The normal format is a
pathname relative to /usr/share/zoneinfo. For example, the command
“TZ=America/Los_Angeles date” displays the current time in
California. See environ(7) for more information.
/var/log/messages record of the user setting the time
The date utility exits 0 on success, 1 if unable to set the date, and 2 if
able to set the local date, but unable to set it globally.
date "+DATE: %Y-%m-%d%nTIME: %H:%M:%S"
In the Europe/London timezone, the command:
date -v1m -v+1y
Sun Jan 4 04:15:24 GMT 1998
where it is currently Mon Aug 4 04:15:24 BST 1997.
date -v1d -v3m -v0y -v-1d
will display the last day of February in the year 2000:
Tue Feb 29 03:18:00 GMT 2000
So will the command:
date -v3m -v30d -v0y -v-1m
because there is no such date as the 30th of February.
date -v1d -v+1m -v-1d -v-fri
will display the last Friday of the month:
Fri Aug 29 04:31:11 BST 1997
where it is currently Mon Aug 4 04:31:11 BST 1997.
sets the date to “June 13, 1985, 4:27 PM”.
may be used on one machine to print out the date suitable for setting on
sets the time to 2:32 PM, without modifying the date.
Finally the command:
date -j -f "%a %b %d %T %Z %Y" "`date`" "+%s"
can be used to parse the output from date and express it in Epoch time.
Occasionally, when timed(8) synchronizes the time on many hosts, the
setting of a new time value may require more than a few seconds. On these
occasions, date prints: ‘Network time being set’. The message
‘Communication error with timed’ occurs when the communication between date
and timed(8) fails.
As above, except for the second line, which is:
date [-jnu] [[[[[cc]yy]mm]dd]HH]MM[.ss]
When invoked in legacy mode, the following exit values are returned:
0 The date was written successfully
1 Unable to set the date
2 Able to set the local date, but unable to set it globally
For more information about legacy mode, see compat(5).
locale(1), gettimeofday(2), getutxent(3), strftime(3), strptime(3),
R. Gusella and S. Zatti, TSP: The Time Synchronization Protocol for UNIX
The date utility is expected to be compatible with IEEE Std 1003.2
(“POSIX.2”). The -d, -f, -j, -n, -r, -t, and -v options are all extensions
to the standard.
A date command appeared in Version 1 AT&T UNIX.
macOS 12.1 May 7, 2015 macOS 12.1