OS X: Incorrect date or time displayed in various applications


If an incorrect date or time is displayed in various locations throughout OS X, but the correct date and time are shown on the calendar and analog clock displayed in Date & Time preferences, then you may be using an incorrectly configured custom date or time format.

You may see an incorrect date or time due to an incorrect custom date or time format in apps, such as:

  • The Date Modified, Date Created, or Last Opened values of files displayed in Finder
  • The dates of messages in Mail
  • Dates or times displayed in Calendar
  • Other applications that display dates or times.

Note: Date and time formats are user account-specific, so one user account may see the correct date modified on a file, for example, while another user on the same computer may see an incorrect date modified on the same file.


To determine if you are seeing incorrect dates or times because of a custom date or time format:

OS X Mavericks

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. From the View menu, choose Language & Region.
  3. Click the Advanced… button.
  4. Click the Dates tab.
  5. Click the Restore Defaults button.
  6. Click the Times tab.
  7. Click the Restore Defaults button.
  8. Click OK.
  9. Quit the app where you were seeing incorrect dates or times displayed.
  10. Open the app again, and verify that the dates and times are now displayed correctly.

OS X Mountain Lion, OS X Lion, or Mac OS X 10.6

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. From the View menu, choose Language & Text.
  3. Click the Formats tab.
  4. Choose your desired region from the Region pop-up menu (any region other than Custom).
  5. Quit the application where you were seeing incorrect dates or times displayed.
  6. Open the application again, and verify that the dates and times are now displayed correctly.

If the above steps resolve the issue, but you would like to customize the way that dates or times are displayed, follow these tips:

  • Date and time formats can be customized by clicking the Advanced… button in the Language & Region preferences in OS X Mavericks, or by clicking the Customize buttons in the Format tab of the Language & Text preferences in earlier versions of OS X.
  • When customizing a format, only drag the the date or time elements into the text field in which the format is displayed, or change the order of the elements by dragging them around. Date and time elements can be identified by the blue oval surrounding the text. The example text that appears in the blue oval will be replaced with the actual date or time, when date or times are displayed in applications.
  • Any text you type into the format field will be displayed as a static part of the date or time.
    For example, if you delete the "Jan" date element (Month) from the Medium date format field, and type in "January", all dates displayed using the Medium date format will display the month as "January", regardless of the actual month. Instead of typing in "January" you can click the triangle that is part of the "Jan" date element and select "January" from the pop-up menu that appears, so that it remains a date element that will display the actual month when used in applications.

Last Modified: Sep 2, 2014
  • Last Modified: Sep 2, 2014
  • Article: TS3579
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