How to Set a 12-Hour Clock on an iPhone: A Step-by-Step Guide

Setting a 12-hour clock on an iPhone is simple. Just head over to the ‘Settings’ app, tap on ‘General’, then on ‘Date & Time’. Here, you can toggle the ’24-Hour Time’ off, which will automatically switch your iPhone to a 12-hour format. Now, your iPhone will display the time in a 12-hour format with AM and PM indicators.

Once you’ve completed the above steps, your iPhone will display the time in a 12-hour format instead of the military 24-hour time. This can be more familiar and easier to read for many users, especially those in the United States where the 12-hour clock is standard.


Ever glanced at your iPhone and got momentarily confused by the 24-hour time format? You’re not alone. Many users prefer the 12-hour clock format because it’s what they’ve always used. It’s the system that is commonly utilized in several countries, including the United States, where it’s often referred to simply as ‘standard time’.

Being able to read the time quickly and without confusion is essential. It’s especially important for those who may not be familiar with the 24-hour clock system, also known as ‘military time’. Imagine waking up, looking at your phone, and seeing ’14:00′ – for a moment, you might think you’ve slept through an entire day! Moreover, setting your iPhone to a 12-hour clock can prevent mix-ups when setting alarms, calendar events, or reminders.

For all iPhone users out there, knowing how to switch between the 24-hour and 12-hour format is a nifty little trick that can make life just a bit easier. Plus, it’s a breeze to change. Let’s get into how you can set a 12-hour clock on your iPhone.

Step by Step Tutorial on Setting a 12‐Hour Clock on an iPhone

Before we dive into the steps, let’s clarify what we’re aiming to achieve. By following these instructions, you’ll change the time display from the 24-hour clock to the 12-hour clock on your iPhone. This means your phone will display time with AM and PM indicators, rather than a continuous count from 00 to 23.

Step 1: Open the ‘Settings’ App

The ‘Settings’ app is the gateway to customizing your iPhone’s functionality.

The ‘Settings’ app icon typically looks like a set of gears and is found on one of your home screens or inside a folder. It’s your control center for making all sorts of adjustments on your iPhone.

Step 2: Tap on ‘General’

‘General’ settings allow you to modify system-wide preferences.

In the ‘General’ section, you can control various aspects of your iPhone’s system, including software updates, background app refresh, and, of course, date and time settings.

Step 3: Select ‘Date & Time’

The ‘Date & Time’ settings let you manage how time is displayed.

Within the ‘Date & Time’ settings, you can set your time zone, toggle the setting to set the time automatically, and change the time format.

Step 4: Toggle off ’24-Hour Time’

Switching off ’24-Hour Time’ will activate the 12-hour clock format.

Once you toggle off the ’24-Hour Time’ option, your iPhone will immediately reflect the change, and the time will be shown in the 12-hour format, complete with AM or PM.


FamiliarityMany users are accustomed to the 12-hour clock format, making it easier to read at a glance.
Avoids ConfusionEliminates potential confusion, particularly when setting alarms or calendar events.
User PreferenceAllows users to customize their iPhone experience according to their personal preference.


HabituationUsers accustomed to the 24-hour format may find the switch disorienting initially.
International UseThe 12-hour format is not standard in many countries, which might be inconvenient for travelers.
Military Time PreferenceSome users prefer military time for its precision and lack of ambiguity.

Additional Information

When it comes to setting a 12-hour clock on an iPhone, there are a couple of extra tips to keep in mind. If you travel a lot or have friends and family in different time zones, you might want to consider using the ‘Set Automatically’ option within the ‘Date & Time’ settings. This feature uses your location to automatically adjust your iPhone’s clock to the local time, including the correct AM or PM designation.

Another thing to note is that changing your iPhone to a 12-hour clock will also affect how time is displayed in other apps, such as the Calendar and Clock applications. So, if you’re setting a meeting or an alarm, the AM/PM indicator will help ensure you’re on schedule.

Lastly, if you’re someone who uses both the 12-hour and 24-hour formats regularly, getting familiar with how to toggle this setting can save you from time-related mix-ups. It’s just one of the many customizable features that make iPhones user-friendly.


  1. Open the ‘Settings’ App
  2. Tap on ‘General’
  3. Select ‘Date & Time’
  4. Toggle off ’24-Hour Time’

Frequently Asked Questions

Will this change affect my alarms and calendar events?

Yes, changing the clock format to a 12-hour clock will also change the way time is displayed in your alarms and calendar events.

What happens if I travel to a different time zone?

If you have ‘Set Automatically’ enabled, your iPhone will adjust to the local time zone and maintain the 12-hour format.

Can I switch back to a 24-hour clock?

Absolutely! Just follow the same steps and toggle ’24-Hour Time’ back on.

Does this setting affect the stopwatch and timer?

No, the stopwatch and timer in the Clock app are not affected by the 12-hour or 24-hour format setting.

Will the change be reflected in third-party apps?

It depends on the app. Some apps may follow the system settings, while others may use their own time format settings.


Understanding how to set a 12-hour clock on an iPhone is a simple yet valuable skill that can enhance your day-to-day interaction with your device. Whether it’s for clarity, convenience, or personal preference, switching from the 24-hour clock to the 12-hour clock is a customization option worth knowing. Remember, it’s not just about the time on your lock screen; it’s about making your iPhone work for you, in a way that suits your lifestyle and needs.

For folks who prefer the tried-and-true AM/PM system, knowing how to make this switch can save you a headache or two. So, go ahead and give your iPhone that personal touch. Happy time-telling!