Date Pickers

A date picker lets the user choose a date, a time, a date and time, or a range of dates. Both Gregorian and non-Gregorian calendars are supported.

Choose a style that suits your app. There are two styles of date pickers: textual and graphical. The textual style is useful when space is constrained and you expect users to make specific date and time selections. The graphical style is useful when you want to give users the option of browsing through days in a calendar, when you want to let the user select a range of dates, or when the look of a clock face is appropriate for the user interface of your app.

For developer guidance, see NSDatePicker.

Textual Style

This style is represented by a text field containing one of the following combinations of date and time elements.

Combination Date Time
Date and time Month, day, and year Hour, minute, and second
Date and time Month, day, and year Hour and minute
Date and time Month and year Hour, minute, and second
Date and time Month and year Hour and minute
Date only Month, day, and year None
Date only Month and year None
Time only None Hour, minute, and second
Time only None Hour and minute

Screenshot of Date & Time preferences with two textual date pickers highlighted, one for the date and one for the time.

After selecting an element in the date or time field, users can enter a new value, or press the Up or Down Arrow keys to increment or decrement the element’s value, respectively. Date and time fields include a stepper by default, which the user can also use to increment and decrement the selected element’s value. You may choose to hide the stepper, if that makes sense for your app.

The order of elements displayed in a textual date picker may vary based on the user’s locale. For example, people in most European locales will see the date elements in DD-MM-YYYY order, while others in the world may use YYYY-MM-DD or MM-DD-YYYY, depending on their location. Users can change their locale in System Preferences > Language & Region > Region.

Graphical Style

When using a graphical calendar, people can navigate to and select a specific date, or—if enabled by your app—a range of dates. With a graphical clock, the user can change the time by dragging the hands to a new position.

Screenshot of Date & Time preferences with a calendar date picker and a clock date picker highlighted.