Although I keep my system time & date in check using time.asia.apple.com, I can't "Set time zone automatically using current location". I get the error message, "Unable to determine current location at this time" every time I try this.


Does anyone know why this is happening?


4 Answers 4


Apple uses one or more databases (I don't know how many) to map your ISP internet connection to a location in the world.

If you use the network utility to traceroute to that time server, you will see all the routers between you and that apple server. This software does the same thing and reports the hops - if Apple knows where any of the routers close to your mac are located, it will update the location. What it's telling you is it can't pin down where you are based on this information only.

If you can try connecting to a different network or a public network it might be more likely to know where you are. Many business internet connections pool the public internet access and the database is told to ignore that since the traffic isn't coming to apple close to your physical location.

Are you on a home network? Can you call your ISP to see if they allow or prevent location of their customers? It's a problem with the people supplying you with internet and not anything on your computer, so you can't do anything directly to correct it other than change your ISP or figure out how to get it mapped.

  • +1 - Very clear explanation bmike. Much appreciated. Yes, it is a home network. A rather weird heirachy here too. Total chaos in fact. When I get the mind to do it, I'll take the MacBook to a public network to see if it can do a better job.
    – boehj
    Commented Jun 24, 2011 at 14:31
  • By connecting your mac closer to the ISP (directly to a cable or satellite modem rather than through one or more routers) may help things. I don't know how many hops up the routing the software considers, but it's worth a shot.
    – bmike
    Commented Jun 24, 2011 at 14:36
  • For sure. There's far more NATing going on here than is healthy. I'll check it out tomorrow.
    – boehj
    Commented Jun 24, 2011 at 14:48

Had the same issue after traveling, and as @bmike mentioned, Apple uses your router to map your location.

In my case, the network location profile had some sort of an issue, and to fix it, all I had to do was create a new profile and restart.


  1. Go to System Preferences.

  2. Select Network.

  3. Click on the Location: Automatic dropdown.

  1. Click on Edit Locations....

  1. Click the + sign in the bottom left corner.

  2. Add a new profile, and call it Home (or something else).

  3. Select the new profile you created.

  4. Click Done.

  5. Click Apply.

  6. Restart the device.

This will be as if you just registered a new device on the router, and the device will be able to grab the location again.

If that doesn't work, try changing the network, and redoing the whole thing again.


Judging by the screenshot this appears to merely be a cosmetic issue. There is a location pin, a time zone and also a closest city.

Unless you are not at that location, of course.

  • I'd argue that it's more than cosmetics at play here. There's a function that's purported to be automated, that isn't (for me). I wonder if it works for everyone else?
    – boehj
    Commented Jun 24, 2011 at 13:50
  • That's not exactly what I meant. If you look at the screenshot, there is a location marked, so the feature itself appears to be working. Commented Jun 24, 2011 at 14:48
  • Sorry I wasn't very cleat. I put that location in and the OS claimed the credit!
    – boehj
    Commented Jun 24, 2011 at 15:02
  • Boo! Bad, OS! No! - In that case, disregard my non-answer. Commented Jun 24, 2011 at 16:51
  • Indeed.
    – boehj
    Commented Jun 24, 2011 at 17:04

I had a similar issue in mac os Catalina when I traveled to different time zone, it doesn't able to recognize the new timezone. later I opened the maps app, clicked on "show your current location" it was able to recognize my location, after that when I opened Date&Time, the error message disappeared, it was able to recognize the timezone.

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