I'm trying to change the date on my MacBook Air (2020, running MacOS 12.4). When I try to do so I'm met with this screen:

sys pref change time

"Set date and time automatically" is checked and cannot be unchecked, even after I've authenticated. The time zone tab looks like this:

set time zone

When I turn on location services for Date and Time it sets my time correctly, but then after a few minutes or hours that setting magically unchecks itself and I'm back to square one.

How can I fix this and either set my time manually or set my location correctly?


Interestingly, when I turn on location services this is what shows up:

location services pane

  • I've added general details. Are you on a highly protected network connection like work / military or in a country that doesn't have an Apple Retail Store in it?
    – bmike
    Jul 1, 2022 at 20:41
  • Thank you for the response. It is a company machine but the problem has persisted no matter what network I'm on. I can visit an Apple retail store. Would like to avoid a clean install if at all possible — I'm traveling now and wouldn't be able to do a backup for another six weeks. Jul 2, 2022 at 0:06
  • Just added an updated image. I've turned on location services for date and time and it shows two separate locations. I've also created a new account and found it to have all of the same issues, so I'm wondering if this is a problem with how the company manages their devices. We are based in Baku, for what it's worth. Jul 2, 2022 at 0:28
  • Yes Alex! That would very much be the most likely culprit for the location database being less accurate. See this page header - some services and features may not be available in that country. support.apple.com/en-az/guide/maps/mpsa33caac1f/mac
    – bmike
    Jul 2, 2022 at 1:15
  • The greyed out check boxes (even after unlocking the screens) suggests that there is some management of the device which prevents you making location and date changes. You don't say explicitly but I guess you are currently located not in Azerbaijan. You should be talking to your IT management.
    – Gilby
    Jul 2, 2022 at 7:47

1 Answer 1


Those panels store their preferences in a database that can be read and changed on the command line with “defaults”. Before going down the time settings:

  1. does Maps work to locate your exact location in the Maps app?
  2. Are you sure this Mac isn’t managed?

If so, do you have a good backup of your Mac and files?

A clean erase install may be needed to validate things work since these are system wide settings and not just a setting for your local account. I would restart to be sure you have a clean boot and repeat the test:

Maybe kick off a backup after the restart and while things are backing up, I might try making a new user account (make it an admin) and log out of your current user - sign in to the new account and make sure you repeat the steps above.

You should be able to have Time Zone set manually when things are working correctly.

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