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UNIX time, also known as Epoch time, is a system for tracking time that defines the time as the number of seconds that have elapsed since 00:00:00 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), Thursday, 1 January 1970, not counting leap seconds. This system is used by many operating systems and file formats. However, it can be challenging to handle because of its format, which is a single, ever-increasing integer. For humans, it’s much easier to work with the typical date and time format. This is why developers often need to convert Unix time to the standard date and time format. In this article, we’ll explore how to do this in Swift.
// Get the current time in unix format let unixTime = NSDate().timeIntervalSince1970 // Convert unix time to date let date = NSDate(timeIntervalSince1970: unixTime) // Format the date let dateFormatter = DateFormatter() dateFormatter.timeZone = TimeZone(abbreviation: "GMT") // Set timezone dateFormatter.locale = NSLocale.current dateFormatter.dateFormat = "dd-MM-yyyy HH:mm" // Specify your format that you want let strDate = dateFormatter.string(from: date as Date) print(strDate)
Understanding the code
In the first part of the code, we get the current time in unix format. This is done by calling the `timeIntervalSince1970` method on the `NSDate` object. This method returns the time since 1970 in seconds as a `TimeInterval` (which is just a typealias for `Double`).
Next, we create a new `NSDate` object with this unix time by passing it into the `NSDate` constructor that takes a `timeIntervalSince1970` argument. The result is an `NSDate` object that represents the current date and time (based on the unix time).
After that, we create a `DateFormatter` object to help us format the `NSDate` object into a more human-readable format. We set the timezone to GMT by passing the string “GMT” to the `TimeZone` constructor. The `DateFormatter` object also has a `locale` property which is set to the current locale.
Finally, we specify the format that we want for our date and time by setting the `dateFormat` property of the `DateFormatter` to a custom string. The string “dd-MM-yyyy HH:mm” will give us the day, month, year, hour, and minute. The resulting string is then printed out.
The Importance of Timezone in Date Conversion
When converting Unix time to a standard date, it’s important to keep in mind the role of timezones. Unix time is in UTC, so if you want the date and time to be accurate for a specific location, you need to set the timezone correctly. The timezone can be set using the `TimeZone` function as shown in the example above. The timezone abbreviation for a particular region is used as the parameter in this function.
DateFormatter: A Workhorse for Date Conversion
DateFormatter is a class in Swift that lets you convert between dates and their textual representations. This class is great for converting dates to strings for display, and for converting strings back into NSDate objects for comparison and manipulation. As seen in our example, DateFormatter is used to specify the format according to which the date and time need to be displayed. The format can range from including just the month, day, and year to containing the hour, minute, second, and even nanosecond, depending on the level of granularity you want.