How can I get my computer's location to the granularity of city and country using the command-line?

I know I could get the IP of the correct network interface and do an IP lookup but I wonder if the system has a quicker way to access this. The system clock has the location so I am wondering if it's possible to get it that way.

1 Answer 1


Command line tool

I've made quick modification to an excellent robmathers app WhereAmI. You can find it on my github.

Once You compile it and run, that's the output:

Latitude: 40.714232
Longitude: -73.9612889
Accuracy (m): 65.000000
Timestamp: 30.04.2015, 11:37:45 CEST
Location: 277 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211, United States

If You want only the city and the country - changes in parsing json should be made (or grep the output). Sample json data can be found here.

Note: This is very quick implementation, but there shouldn't be any errors

Info from preferences

You can get info from preferences by running:

defaults read /Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences.plist com.apple.preferences.timezone.selected_city

You'll need to parse the output, because it looks like:

CountryCode = PL;
GeonameID = 3081368;
Latitude = "51.1";
LocalizedNames =     {
    pl = "Wroc\\U0142aw";
Longitude = "17.03333";
Name = "Wroc\\U0142aw";
Population = 634893;
TimeZoneName = "Europe/Warsaw";
Version = 1;
  • Well, this is awesome, but requires the internet. If I use that, I figure I might as well do an old-fashioned IP lookup. This is more accurate, I take it?
    – SimplGy
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 12:10
  • As far as I know, there's no offline database with locations assigned to lat/lon. The only thing I found is: /System/Library/PreferencePanes/DateAndTime.prefPane/Contents/Resources/TimeZone.prefPane/Contents/Resources/all_cities_adj.plist but that's only capital cities (?) list. Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 14:06
  • My clock does already know it's locale in order to set a time zone. Usually it even has the correct city. It knows this with or without internet connectivity, it just won't update the location without the internet.
    – SimplGy
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 14:07
  • 1
    @SimplGy the info is stored in defaults, updated the answer Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 15:12
  • That is so awesome!
    – SimplGy
    Commented May 4, 2015 at 6:45

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