If I type '1 pint' into Spotlight, I am told that this is equivalent to 0.47l. This is true for US units, but I am in the UK, where a pint is 0.57l. Many other imperial units, such as the gallon, are different in the UK, so this isn't a problem exclusively with pints.

I frequently make quick conversions using Spotlight for cooking and brewing, but have only recently realised that the system is set to use US unit measurements.

As far as I know, all my regional settings are set to UK, but I must have missed something somewhere. How do I tell Spotlight to use British measurements?

  • Have you put gallon or imperial gallon? An imperial gallon is the English version...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Mar 31, 2019 at 21:31
  • 5
    I'd call that a bug. a) you shouldn't have to type 'imperial' for it to understand what units you would naturally use in the UK & b) that doesn't work anyway
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 7:51
  • 1
    It may be that as gallon is no longer the correct unit in the UK - went metric a while ago but some people are slower than others... - it is the litre, then gallon automatically defaults to US units...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Apr 2, 2019 at 5:12
  • 2
    The reality is that the UK still uses the imperial system for many things. Pints are still used for drinks (I am a brewer), and there is little sign of this changing. I believe the situation is not dissimilar in Canada. I'd be surprised if Apple wasn't aware of this – surely there is a setting somewhere to use regional measurements? Commented Apr 2, 2019 at 9:54
  • A way forward is perhaps to a) install Alfred (which is both search and action), b) install the Convert workflow and c) modify its configuration files to use imperial units as default. It's the last part which is tricky.
    – Gilby
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 8:51

1 Answer 1


1 pint varies by country and Spotlight clearly does not use language settings to determine the correct value for 1 pint. It is 473 ml in USA and a few other countries. See Wikipedia. In Australia it is 570 ml, in the UK 568 ml, in India 330 ml and the list goes on.

I have submitted a Feedback Report to Apple FB9020879 and will report in comments what response (if any) that I get.

US measurements derive from usage in Britain before the War of Independence. The units were defined in 1707. Britain changed some definitions in 1824 to the current Imperial units whilst the USA kept to the earlier system. A bit like spelling changes where Britain has changed since 1776 but the USA has remained more consistent with older usage.

Just to make it harder for Apple, here in Australia, a pint glass of beer is 570 ml, except in South Australia where it is 425 ml.

I trust you don't consider this history too irrelevant in a technical forum, but @CaptainProg has referred to his interest in brewing.

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