I set up some custom date formats, and while at first the date in the menu bar did honor them, now I've noticed it stopped and it's just using a standard one.

How do I switch it back?

Screenshot: screenshot

If I click on it, it shows it using my custom format, but that's infinitely pointless.

I'm running 10.10.3, IIRC I updated yesterday (from a 10.10.?, likely the one just before this one), but I'm not sure it's this update who broke it.

  • Please show how you set it up
    – markhunte
    Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 11:22
  • does my answer here help? apple.stackexchange.com/a/181508/85275
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 12:35
  • @Tetsujin no, thanks. That's exactly what I have done and do not work anymore. It works on other places, just not on the menu bar.
    – o0'.
    Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 12:42
  • For the record, now I'm using yyyy-MM-dd, HH:mm • e/'w' – qqq,w.
    – o0'.
    Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 9:33

2 Answers 2


This is the new behaviour in Yosemite and it can't easily be changed. The menu bar format now doesn't read your custom format and instead displays a barely customizable format instead. The only available options for it can be found in System Preferences -> Date & Time -> Clock.

One thing you could do is use a third party utility like Day-O, which is free and does exactly what you seek -> https://shauninman.com/archive/2016/10/20/day_o_2_mac_menu_bar_clock.

If you want things more natively, you could try editing the corresponding plist file directly (com.apple.menuextra.clock). I haven't however had much luck with it.

Open Terminal and type the following:

Reading the current settings:

defaults read com.apple.menuextra.clock

Setting them:

defaults write com.apple.menuextra.clock "DateFormat" 'EEE hh:mm a'

Or 24 hours format with the (day of the) month and seconds:

defaults write com.apple.menuextra.clock "DateFormat" 'EEE d MMM HH:mm:ss'

Then refresh the menu bar using:

killall -KILL SystemUIServer

Using w you should be able to add week number, but I haven't had any luck with that and it keeps resetting the week number.

  • Have you manage to get the year in there. y MMMM dd
    – markhunte
    Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 13:10
  • 2
    Day-0 is working, thanks! I'll wait a few days, just in case it breaks, but if it doesn't you'll get the bounty! I'm a bit perplexed by its author claiming he "won't update it for Yosemite", since it actually seem to work anyway…
    – o0'.
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 9:05
  • 2
    It is mainly support for dark mode that it is lacking. If you don't use dark mode or aren't bothered by a weird UI in dark mode you should be fine.
    – Tum
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 9:19
  • As dark mode is now supported in v2 of Day-0 I updated the link
    – Tum
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 9:48

Day-O 2 is the best app for this IMO. https://shauninman.com/archive/2016/10/20/day_o_2_mac_menu_bar_clock

If you uncheck "Show Icon," it's basically identical to the default widget.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .