How do I get the time since the epoch, in milliseconds, in the OSX terminal?
The Linux/Ubuntu equivalent is
Linux $ date +%s.%N 1403377762.035521859
Which does not work in my OSX terminal:
OSX $ date +%s.%N 1403377800.N
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date program in OS X is different than GNU's coreutils
date program. You can install coreutils (including gnu-date), then you will have a version of
date that supports milliseconds.
As the installation from source can be a hassle for native OS X users I advise you to use Homebrew.
To install these tools using Homebrew run this oneliner in your terminal:
ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"
Homebrew is now installed (it is wise to follow the installer's suggestions after installation). Now we will install coreutils using
brew install coreutils
As the installation says, all commands have been installed with the prefix 'g' (e.g. gdate, gcat, gln, etc etc). If you really need to use these commands with their normal names, you can add a "gnubin" directory to your PATH (
You can now run
and this will output your time since the epoch in milliseconds.
gdatewas installed in
/usr/local/bin/gdate. Jun 22, 2014 at 13:22
date(instead of gdate) Jun 22, 2014 at 15:28
+%s.%Nformat gives the seconds down to nanosecond precision, not milliseconds. After I used brew to install
gdate, I checked the manpage to see whether milliseconds was available. It's not. It also didn't say that a precision for
%Ncould be specified, but I tried it anyway. I found that the command to get the seconds down to millisecond precision only (i.e., three decimal places) is
gdate +%s.%3N. Dec 14, 2016 at 17:12
Perl is ubiquitous.
$ perl -MTime::HiRes=time -e 'printf "%.9f\n", time' 1557390839.244920969
In OS X, just run
date +%s as OS X doesn't support any more precision than this in
date's output and any excess precision not supported by the internal representation is truncated toward minus infinity.
If you want milliseconds output, you can use the following command, although the output is just corrected by appending zeros rather than adding precision due to the aforementioned reason. The following does output correct milliseconds on systems which support the necessary precision.
echo $(($(date +'%s * 1000 + %-N / 1000000')))
Source for above command: Unix.SE – How to get milliseconds since Unix epoch
If you just want a command that appends the right number of zeros in OS X, you can use:
%-N, so that doesn't do anything (and could cause trouble if the shell variable
$Nis set). Just use
date +%s.000if you want the decimal point). Jun 21, 2014 at 19:24
datecommand just passes
N, it can interfere with the calculation. Try setting
N=7000000000000000000, then try the command... This is an unlikely case in practice, but I'd feel safer with something that didn't depend on the environment. Jun 21, 2014 at 19:30
this solution works on macOS.
if you consider using a bash script and have python available, you could use this code:
#!/bin/bash python -c 'from time import time; print int(round(time() * 1000))'
Or write a
python script directly:
#!/usr/bin/python from time import time print int(round(time() * 1000))
print()function instead of the
python -c 'from time import time; print(int(round(time() * 1000)))'This allows you to use the common
pythoncommand without having to worry about whether it will resolve to a path for python version 2 or version 3. Jan 19, 2022 at 16:03