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3 Ways to Fix the Ubuntu MATE Clock

Updated: 09-Dec-2020

What Happened To The Clock Settings?

Some time back (actually, beginning with release 19.10) Ubuntu MATE's change to the clock indicator in the top panel removed the ability to make changes to the clock format. No longer could you adjust the clock properties to display the day of the week, the month or even seconds. It seemed you were stuck with just the time. You couldn't even switch between the 12-hour and the 24-hour format! This article provides instructions on how to overcome this limitation.

Ubuntu MATE 20.10 Clock

There are a few of ways of getting the panel's clock to show day, date, etc. The first two methods do not require any additional software but the third is the simplest graphical method.

Ubuntu MATE 18.04 Clock Settings Ubuntu MATE 20.10 Clock Settings
Ubuntu MATE 18.04 ------ Ubuntu MATE 20.10

Method 1: Replace the applet with the "old" clock and the "old" indicator.

Remove the existing Clock:

  1. Right-click on the Indicator Applet Complete.
  2. Uncheck Lock to Panel.
  3. Right-click again and select Remove from Panel.

Add the new clock:

  1. Right-click on a blank space on the panel and select Add to Panel.
  2. Select Clock from the list and click Add.
  3. Right-click on the clock applet and select Move.
  4. Drag it to the far right end of the panel and press the 'Enter' key to stop moving it.
  5. Right-click on a blank space on the panel and select Add to Panel.
  6. Select Indicator Applet from the list and click Add. (Note: Do not select Indicator Applet Complete.)
  7. Right-click on the left end of the indicator applet and select Move.
  8. Drag it right so that it is just to the left of the clock and press the 'Enter' key to stop moving it.
  9. Once you have both applets in place you can right-click each in turn to lock them so you don't move them accidentally.

Method 2: Modify the existing clock - command line method

This list is for Ubuntu MATE 20.04 and earlier. See below for 20.10 and beyond.

You can use the "gsettings set" command from the terminal to make these changes. Here is how to do it along with an explanation of each command:

Method 3: Modify the existing clock - graphical method

This is for Ubuntu MATE 20.04 (and earlier) See below for 20.10 and beyond.

This method requires that you install dconf Editor and change the clock's properties ever so slightly.

  1. If you have install "Software" or the "Synaptic" package manager, you can search for dconf Editor and install it graphically. Otherwise open a terminal and type: sudo apt install dconf-editor.
  2. Open dconf Editor from the menu. You will get a scary warning asking you to promise to be careful.
  3. At the top of the application window (in the title bar click the magnifier icon) search for /com/canonical/indicator/datetime/.
  4. Select the switches "show-date", "show-day", "show-seconds" and/or "time-format" as you wish.
  5. Close dconf Editor.

Some additional settings you might want to adjust:

Ubuntu MATE 20.04 and earlier

Ubuntu MATE 20.10 and later


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