iPhone NSDateFormatter date formatting table

iPhone NSDateFormatter date formatting table

12th May 2011

This blog comes to you for two reasons: our sanity and yours. The number of times I’ve had to google this information only to lose the bookmark or scroll through the 5 mile long page at unicode.org trying to locate the NSDateFormatter string beggers belief and yes, you’d think I would know it off by heart now.

So here it is. Bookmark it, save it, memorise it, link to it. A simple resource that comes in handy.

Date formats for iOS 6+, OS X 10.8+

Field Sym. No. Example Description
era G 1..3 AD Era – Replaced with the Era string for the current date. One to three letters for the abbreviated form, four letters for the long form, five for the narrow form.
4 Anno Domini
5 A
year y 1..n 1996 Year. Normally the length specifies the padding, but for two letters it also specifies the maximum length. Example:

Year y yy yyy yyyy yyyyy
AD 1 1 01 001 0001 00001
AD 12 12 12 012 0012 00012
AD 123 123 23 123 0123 00123
AD 1234 1234 34 1234 1234 01234
AD 12345 12345 45 12345 12345 12345
Y 1..n 1997 Year (in “Week of Year” based calendars). Normally the length specifies the padding, but for two letters it also specifies the maximum length. This year designation is used in ISO year-week calendar as defined by ISO 8601, but can be used in non-Gregorian based calendar systems where week date processing is desired. May not always be the same value as calendar year.
u 1..n 4601 Extended year. This is a single number designating the year of this calendar system, encompassing all supra-year fields. For example, for the Julian calendar system, year numbers are positive, with an era of BCE or CE. An extended year value for the Julian calendar system assigns positive values to CE years and negative values to BCE years, with 1 BCE being year 0.
U 1..3 甲子 Cyclic year name. Calendars such as the Chinese lunar calendar (and related calendars) and the Hindu calendars use 60-year cycles of year names. Use one through three letters for the abbreviated name, four for the full name, or five for the narrow name (currently the data only provides abbreviated names, which will be used for all requested name widths). If the calendar does not provide cyclic year name data, or if the year value to be formatted is out of the range of years for which cyclic name data is provided, then numeric formatting is used (behaves like ‘y’).
4 (currently also 甲子)
5 (currently also 甲子)
quarter Q 1..2 02 Quarter – Use one or two for the numerical quarter, three for the abbreviation, or four for the full name.
3 Q2
4 2nd quarter
q 1..2 02 Stand-Alone Quarter – Use one or two for the numerical quarter, three for the abbreviation, or four for the full name.
3 Q2
4 2nd quarter
month M 1..2 09 Month – Use one or two for the numerical month, three for the abbreviation, four for the full name, or five for the narrow name.
3 Sept
4 September
5 S
L 1..2 09 Stand-Alone Month – Use one or two for the numerical month, three for the abbreviation, or four for the full name, or 5 for the narrow name.
3 Sept
4 September
5 S
l 1 (nothing) This pattern character is deprecated, and should be ignored in patterns. It was originally intended to be used in combination with M to indicate placement of the symbol for leap month in the Chinese calendar. Placement of that marker is now specified using locale-specific <monthPatterns> data, and formatting and parsing of that marker should be handled as part of supporting the regular M and L pattern characters.
week w 1..2 27 Week of Year.
W 1 3 Week of Month
day d 1..2 1 Date – Day of the month
D 1..3 345 Day of year
F 1 2 Day of Week in Month. The example is for the 2nd Wed in July
g 1..n 2451334 Modified Julian day. This is different from the conventional Julian day number in two regards. First, it demarcates days at local zone midnight, rather than noon GMT. Second, it is a local number; that is, it depends on the local time zone. It can be thought of as a single number that encompasses all the date-related fields.
week
day
E 1..3 Tues Day of week – Use one through three letters for the short day, or four for the full name, five for the narrow name, or six for the short name.
4 Tuesday
5 T
6 Tu (OS X 10.9+ & iOS 7+)
e 1..2 2 Local day of week. Same as E except adds a numeric value that will depend on the local starting day of the week, using one or two letters. For this example, Monday is the first day of the week.
3 Tues
4 Tuesday
5 T
6 Tu Tu (OS X 10.9+ & iOS 7+)
c 1 2 Stand-Alone local day of week – Use one letter for the local numeric value (same as ‘e’), three for the short day, four for the full name, five for the narrow name, or six for the short name.
3 Tues
4 Tuesday
5 T
6 Tu Tu (OS X 10.9+ & iOS 7+)
period a 1 AM AM or PM
hour h 1..2 11 Hour [1-12]. When used in skeleton data or in a skeleton passed in an API for flexible date pattern generation, it should match the 12-hour-cycle format preferred by the locale (h or K); it should not match a 24-hour-cycle format (H or k). Use hh for zero padding.
H 1..2 13 Hour [0-23]. When used in skeleton data or in a skeleton passed in an API for flexible date pattern generation, it should match the 24-hour-cycle format preferred by the locale (H or k); it should not match a 12-hour-cycle format (h or K). Use HH for zero padding.
K 1..2 0 Hour [0-11]. When used in a skeleton, only matches K or h, see above. Use KK for zero padding.
k 1..2 24 Hour [1-24]. When used in a skeleton, only matches k or H, see above. Use kk for zero padding.
j 1..2 n/a This is a special-purpose symbol. It must not occur in pattern or skeleton data. Instead, it is reserved for use in skeletons passed to APIs doing flexible date pattern generation. In such a context, it requests the preferred hour format for the locale (h, H, K, or k), as determined by whether h, H, K, or k is used in the standard short time format for the locale. In the implementation of such an API, ‘j’ must be replaced by h, H, K, or k before beginning a match against availableFormats data. Note that use of ‘j’ in a skeleton passed to an API is the only way to have a skeleton request a locale’s preferred time cycle type (12-hour or 24-hour).
minute m 1..2 59 Minute. Use one or two for zero padding.
second s 1..2 12 Second. Use one or two for zero padding.
S 1..n 3456 Fractional Second – truncates (like other time fields) to the count of letters. (example shows display using pattern SSSS for seconds value 12.34567)
A 1..n 69540000 Milliseconds in day. This field behaves exactly like a composite of all time-related fields, not including the zone fields. As such, it also reflects discontinuities of those fields on DST transition days. On a day of DST onset, it will jump forward. On a day of DST cessation, it will jump backward. This reflects the fact that is must be combined with the offset field to obtain a unique local time value.
zone z 1..3 PDT The short specific non-location format. Where that is unavailable, falls back to the short localized GMT format (“O”).
4 Pacific Daylight Time The long specific non-location format. Where that is unavailable, falls back to the long localized GMT format (“OOOO”).
Z 1..3 -0800 The ISO8601 basic format with hours, minutes and optional seconds fields. The format is equivalent to RFC 822 zone format (when optional seconds field is absent). This is equivalent to the “xxxx” specifier.
4 GMT-8:00 The long localized GMT format. This is equivalent to the “OOOO” specifier.
5 -08:00

-07:52:58

The ISO8601 extended format with hours, minutes and optional seconds fields. The ISO8601 UTC indicator “Z” is used when local time offset is 0. This is equivalent to the “XXXXX” specifier.
O 1 GMT-8 (OS X 10.9+ & iOS 7+) The short localized GMT format.
4 GMT-08:00 (OS X 10.9+ & iOS 7+) The long localized GMT format.
v 1 PT The short generic non-location format. Where that is unavailable, falls back to the generic location format (“VVVV”), then the short localized GMT format as the final fallback.
4 Pacific Time The long generic non-location format. Where that is unavailable, falls back to generic location format (“VVVV”).
V 1 uslax The short time zone ID. Where that is unavailable, the special short time zone ID unk (Unknown Zone) is used.

Note: This specifier was originally used for a variant of the short specific non-location format, but it was deprecated in the later version of this specification. In CLDR 23, the definition of the specifier was changed to designate a short time zone ID.

2 America/Los_Angeles The long time zone ID.
3 Los Angeles The exemplar city (location) for the time zone. Where that is unavailable, the localized exemplar city name for the special zone Etc/Unknown is used as the fallback (for example, “Unknown City”).
4 Los Angeles Time The generic location format. Where that is unavailable, falls back to the long localized GMT format (“OOOO”; Note: Fallback is only necessary with a GMT-style Time Zone ID, like Etc/GMT-830.)

This is especially useful when presenting possible timezone choices for user selection, since the naming is more uniform than the “v” format.

X 1 -08

+0530

Z
(OS X 10.9+ & iOS 7+)

The ISO8601 basic format with hours field and optional minutes field. The ISO8601 UTC indicator “Z” is used when local time offset is 0. (The same as x, plus “Z”.)
2 -0800

Z
(OS X 10.9+ & iOS 7+)

The ISO8601 basic format with hours and minutes fields. The ISO8601 UTC indicator “Z” is used when local time offset is 0. (The same as xx, plus “Z”.)
3 -08:00

Z
(OS X 10.9+ & iOS 7+)

The ISO8601 extended format with hours and minutes fields. The ISO8601 UTC indicator “Z” is used when local time offset is 0. (The same as xxx, plus “Z”.)
4 -0800

-075258

Z
(OS X 10.9+ & iOS 7+)

The ISO8601 basic format with hours, minutes and optional seconds fields. The ISO8601 UTC indicator “Z” is used when local time offset is 0. (The same as xxxx, plus “Z”.)

Note: The seconds field is not supported by the ISO8601 specification.

5 -08:00

-07:52:58

Z
(OS X 10.9+ & iOS 7+)

The ISO8601 extended format with hours, minutes and optional seconds fields. The ISO8601 UTC indicator “Z” is used when local time offset is 0. (The same as xxxxx, plus “Z”.)

Note: The seconds field is not supported by the ISO8601 specification.

x 1 -08

+0530
(OS X 10.9+ & iOS 7+)

The ISO8601 basic format with hours field and optional minutes field. (The same as X, minus “Z”.)
2 -0800
(OS X 10.9+ & iOS 7+)
The ISO8601 basic format with hours and minutes fields. (The same as XX, minus “Z”.)
3 -08:00
(OS X 10.9+ & iOS 7+)
The ISO8601 extended format with hours and minutes fields. (The same as XXX, minus “Z”.)
4 -0800

-075258
(OS X 10.9+ & iOS 7+)

The ISO8601 basic format with hours, minutes and optional seconds fields. (The same as XXXX, minus “Z”.)

Note: The seconds field is not supported by the ISO8601 specification.

5 -08:00

-07:52:58
(OS X 10.9+ & iOS 7+)

The ISO8601 extended format with hours, minutes and optional seconds fields. (The same as XXXXX, minus “Z”.)

Note: The seconds field is not supported by the ISO8601 specification.

Full documentation:

OS X v10.9 and iOS 7 – http://www.unicode.org/reports/tr35/tr35-31/tr35-dates.html#Date_Format_Patterns

OS X v10.8 and iOS 6 – http://www.unicode.org/reports/tr35/tr35-25.html#Date_Format_Patterns

 

Older versions:

iOS 5 – http://www.unicode.org/reports/tr35/tr35-19.html#Date_Format_Patterns

 

OS X v10.7 and iOS 4.3 – http://www.unicode.org/reports/tr35/tr35-17.html#Date_Format_Patterns

 

iOS 4.0, iOS 4.1, and iOS 4.2 – http://www.unicode.org/reports/tr35/tr35-15.html#Date_Format_Patterns

 

iOS 3.2 – http://www.unicode.org/reports/tr35/tr35-12.html#Date_Format_Patterns

 

OS X v10.6, iOS 3.0, and iOS 3.1 – http://unicode.org/reports/tr35/tr35-10.html#Date_Format_Patterns

 

OS X v10.5 – http://unicode.org/reports/tr35/tr35-6.html#Date_Format_Patterns
OS X v10.4 – http://unicode.org/reports/tr35/tr35-4.html#Date_Format_Patterns

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