Mac Developer Library Developer


This manual page is for Mac OS X version 10.9

If you are running a different version of Mac OS X, view the documentation locally:

  • In Terminal, using the man(1) command

Reading manual pages

Manual pages are intended as a quick reference for people who already understand a technology.

  • To learn how the manual is organized or to learn about command syntax, read the manual page for manpages(5).

  • For more information about this technology, look for other documentation in the Apple Developer Library.

  • For general information about writing shell scripts, read Shell Scripting Primer.

AT(1)                     BSD General Commands Manual                    AT(1)

     at, batch, atq, atrm -- queue, examine, or delete jobs for later execution

     at [-q queue] [-f file] [-mldbv] time
     at [-q queue] [-f file] [-mldbv] -t [[CC]YY]MMDDhhmm[.SS]
     at -c job [job ...]
     at -l [job ...]
     at -l -q queue
     at -r job [job ...]

     atq [-q queue] [-v]

     atrm job [job ...]

     batch [-q queue] [-f file] [-mv] [time]

     The at and batch utilities read commands from standard input or a specified file.  The commands are
     executed at a later time, using sh(1).

     at      executes commands at a specified time;

     atq     lists the user's pending jobs, unless the user is the superuser; in that case, everybody's jobs
             are listed;

     atrm    deletes jobs;

     batch   executes commands when system load levels permit; in other words, when the load average drops
             below _LOADAVG_MX (1.5), or the value specified in the invocation of atrun.

     The at utility allows some moderately complex time specifications.  It accepts times of the form HHMM
     or HH:MM to run a job at a specific time of day.  (If that time is already past, the next day is
     assumed.)  As an alternative, the following keywords may be specified: midnight, noon, or teatime (4pm)
     and time-of-day may be suffixed with AM or PM for running in the morning or the evening.  The day on
     which the job is to be run may also be specified by giving a date in the form month-name day with an
     optional year, or giving a date of the forms DD.MM.YYYY, DD.MM.YY, MM/DD/YYYY, MM/DD/YY, MMDDYYYY, or
     MMDDYY.  The specification of a date must follow the specification of the time of day.  Time can also
     be specified as: [now] + count time-units, where the time-units can be minutes, hours, days, weeks,
     months or years and at may be told to run the job today by suffixing the time with today and to run the
     job tomorrow by suffixing the time with tomorrow.

     For example, to run a job at 4pm three days from now, use at 4pm + 3 days, to run a job at 10:00am on
     July 31, use at 1_am Jul 31 and to run a job at 1am tomorrow, use at 1am tomorrow.

     The at utility also supports the POSIX time format (see -t option).

     For both at and batch, commands are read from standard input or the file specified with the -f option.
     The working directory, the environment (except for the variables TERM, TERMCAP, DISPLAY and _), and the
     umask are retained from the time of invocation.  An at or batch command invoked from a su(1) shell will
     retain the current userid.  The user will be mailed standard error and standard output from his com-mands, commands,
     mands, if any.  Mail will be sent using the command sendmail(8).  If at is executed from a su(1) shell,
     the owner of the login shell will receive the mail.

     The superuser may use these commands in any case.  For other users, permission to use at is determined
     by the files _PERM_PATH/at.allow and _PERM_PATH/at.deny.

     If the file _PERM_PATH/at.allow exists, only usernames mentioned in it are allowed to use at.  In these
     two files, a user is considered to be listed only if the user name has no blank or other characters
     before it on its line and a newline character immediately after the name, even at the end of the file.
     Other lines are ignored and may be used for comments.

     If _PERM_PATH/at.allow does not exist, _PERM_PATH/at.deny is checked, every username not mentioned in
     it is then allowed to use at.

     If neither exists, only the superuser is allowed use of at.

     Note that at is implemented through the launchd(8) daemon periodically invoking atrun(8), which is dis-abled disabled
     abled by default.  See atrun(8) for information about enabling atrun.

     -b      Is an alias for batch.

     -c      Cat the jobs listed on the command line to standard output.

     -d      Is an alias for atrm (this option is deprecated; use -r instead).

     -f file
             Read the job from file rather than standard input.

     -l      With no arguments, list all jobs for the invoking user.  If one or more job numbers are given,
             list only those jobs.

     -m      Send mail to the user when the job has completed even if there was no output.

     -q queue
             Use the specified queue.  A queue designation consists of a single letter; valid queue designa-tions designations
             tions range from a to z and A to Z.  The _DEFAULT_AT_QUEUE queue (a) is the default for at and
             the _DEFAULT_BATCH_QUEUE queue (b) is the default for batch.  Queues with higher letters run
             with increased niceness.  If a job is submitted to a queue designated with an uppercase letter,
             it is treated as if it had been submitted to batch at that time.  If atq is given a specific
             queue, it will only show jobs pending in that queue.

     -r      Remove the specified jobs.

     -t      Specify the job time using the POSIX time format.  The argument should be in the form
             [[CC]YY]MMDDhhmm[.SS] where each pair of letters represents the following:

                   CC      The first two digits of the year (the century).
                   YY      The second two digits of the year.
                   MM      The month of the year, from 1 to 12.
                   DD      the day of the month, from 1 to 31.
                   hh      The hour of the day, from 0 to 23.
                   mm      The minute of the hour, from 0 to 59.
                   SS      The second of the minute, from 0 to 61.

             If the CC and YY letter pairs are not specified, the values default to the current year.  If
             the SS letter pair is not specified, the value defaults to 0.

     -v      For atq, shows completed but not yet deleted jobs in the queue; otherwise shows the time the
             job will be executed.

     _ATJOB_DIR            directory containing job files (/usr/lib/cron/jobs/)
     _ATJOB_DIR/_LOCKFILE  job-creation lock file (/usr/lib/cron/jobs/...)
     _ATSPOOL_DIR          directory containing output spool files (/usr/lib/cron/spool/)
     _PERM_PATH/at.allow   allow permission control (/usr/lib/cron/at.allow)
     _PERM_PATH/at.deny    deny permission control (/usr/lib/cron/at.deny)
     /var/run/utmpx        login records

     nice(1), sh(1), umask(2), compat(5), atrun(8), cron(8), sendmail(8)

     If the file /var/run/utmpx is not available or corrupted, or if the user is not logged on at the time
     at is invoked, the mail is sent to the userid found in the environment variable LOGNAME.  If that is
     undefined or empty, the current userid is assumed.

     The at and batch utilities as presently implemented are not suitable when users are competing for
     resources.  If this is the case, another batch system such as nqs may be more suitable.

     Specifying a date past 2038 may not work on some systems.

     At was mostly written by Thomas Koenig <>.  The time parsing routines are by
     David Parsons <>, with minor enhancements by
     Joe Halpin <>.

BSD                            January 13, 2002                            BSD

Reporting Problems

The way to report a problem with this manual page depends on the type of problem:

Content errors
Report errors in the content of this documentation with the feedback links below.
Bug reports
Report bugs in the functionality of the described tool or API through Bug Reporter.
Formatting problems
Report formatting mistakes in the online version of these pages with the feedback links below.