Since a few days my MacBook Air 2020 shows the wrong date when set to "Set date and time automatically". This is regardless of the chosen NTP server.

When time set manually, querying a NTP server from the command line returns:

$ sudo sntp -sS pool.ntp.org 
-9.789671 +/- 0.018845 pool.ntp.org

Which does not show date and time, but also no major offset.

The offset is consistent at 5 months, 2 days, 3 hours and 10 minutes.

  • Tried time.apple.com and pool.ntp.org. No luck.
  • Tried different time zones. No luck.
  • Tried VPN to fake a different physical location. No luck.
  • Changed WiFi networks, including using my phone as hotspot. No luck.
  • NVRAM reset didn't help. No luck.

Manually set correct date and time

Date and time set automatically —> Wrong, today is 30/9/2020


It somehow got fixed when I installed sntp via homebrew and ran it in combination. After running

sudo touch /var/db/ntp-kod
sudo chown root:wheel /var/db/ntp-kod

Excellent question. There is a lot that you can do to inspect this process.

Some things to point out:

  • Check which time servers you have selected
  • Change them and retest
  • If you have a VPN, try that and be sure you try without
  • Look over your time zone (set it if it’s not correct while you sort out the time servers

Some computer is telling yours the wrong time, so think about networks and then dig into the command line tools if needed.

  • Thanks @bmike. I added some information to my original question.
    – Volsk
    Oct 1 '20 at 6:36
  • Awesome! Just making the tracking file seems a bit silly we have to do that in some cases... @Volsk - well done.
    – bmike
    Oct 1 '20 at 14:27

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