Converting unix timestamp string to readable date

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Problem :

I have a string representing a unix timestamp (i.e. “1284101485”) in Python, and I’d like to convert it to a readable date. When I use time.strftime, I get a TypeError:

>>>import time
>>>print time.strftime("%B %d %Y", "1284101485")

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
TypeError: argument must be 9-item sequence, not str

Solution :

Use datetime module:

from datetime import datetime
ts = int('1284101485')

# if you encounter a "year is out of range" error the timestamp
# may be in milliseconds, try `ts /= 1000` in that case
print(datetime.utcfromtimestamp(ts).strftime('%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S'))

>>> from datetime import datetime
>>> datetime.fromtimestamp(1172969203.1)
datetime.datetime(2007, 3, 4, 0, 46, 43, 100000)

Taken from

The most voted answer suggests using fromtimestamp which is error prone since it uses the local timezone. To avoid issues a better approach is to use UTC:


Where posix_time is the Posix epoch time you want to convert

>>> import time
>>> time.ctime(int("1284101485"))
'Fri Sep 10 16:51:25 2010'
>>> time.strftime("%D %H:%M", time.localtime(int("1284101485")))
'09/10/10 16:51'

There are two parts:

  1. Convert the unix timestamp (“seconds since epoch”) to the local time
  2. Display the local time in the desired format.

A portable way to get the local time that works even if the local time zone had a different utc offset in the past and python has no access to the tz database is to use a pytz timezone:

#!/usr/bin/env python
from datetime import datetime
import tzlocal  # $ pip install tzlocal

unix_timestamp = float("1284101485")
local_timezone = tzlocal.get_localzone() # get pytz timezone
local_time = datetime.fromtimestamp(unix_timestamp, local_timezone)

To display it, you could use any time format that is supported by your system e.g.:

print(local_time.strftime("%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S.%f%z (%Z)"))
print(local_time.strftime("%B %d %Y"))  # print date in your format

If you do not need a local time, to get a readable UTC time instead:

utc_time = datetime.utcfromtimestamp(unix_timestamp)
print(utc_time.strftime("%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S.%f+00:00 (UTC)"))

If you don’t care about the timezone issues that might affect what date is returned or if python has access to the tz database on your system:

local_time = datetime.fromtimestamp(unix_timestamp)
print(local_time.strftime("%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S.%f"))

On Python 3, you could get a timezone-aware datetime using only stdlib (the UTC offset may be wrong if python has no access to the tz database on your system e.g., on Windows):

#!/usr/bin/env python3
from datetime import datetime, timezone

utc_time = datetime.fromtimestamp(unix_timestamp, timezone.utc)
local_time = utc_time.astimezone()
print(local_time.strftime("%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S.%f%z (%Z)"))

Functions from the time module are thin wrappers around the corresponding C API and therefore they may be less portable than the corresponding datetime methods otherwise you could use them too:

#!/usr/bin/env python
import time

unix_timestamp  = int("1284101485")
utc_time = time.gmtime(unix_timestamp)
local_time = time.localtime(unix_timestamp)
print(time.strftime("%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S", local_time)) 
print(time.strftime("%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S+00:00 (UTC)", utc_time))  

In Python 3.6+:

import datetime

timestamp = 1642445213
value = datetime.datetime.fromtimestamp(timestamp)
print(f"{value:%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S}")

Output (local time)

2022-01-17 20:46:53



To save the date to a string then print it, use this:

my_date = f"{value:%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S}"

To output in UTC:

value = datetime.datetime.fromtimestamp(timestamp, tz=datetime.timezone.utc)
# 2022-01-17 18:50:52

Other than using time/datetime package, pandas can also be used to solve the same problem.Here is how we can use pandas to convert timestamp to readable date:

Timestamps can be in two formats:

  1. 13 digits(milliseconds) –
    To convert milliseconds to date, use:

    import pandas
    Output: '2017-04-30 05:31:01'
  2. 10 digits(seconds) –
    To convert seconds to date, use:

    import pandas
    Output: '2017-04-30 05:31:01'

For a human readable timestamp from a UNIX timestamp, I have used this in scripts before:

import os, datetime

datetime.datetime.fromtimestamp(float(os.path.getmtime("FILE"))).strftime("%B %d, %Y")


‘December 26, 2012’

You can convert the current time like this


To convert a date in string to different formats.

import datetime,time

def createDateObject(str_date,strFormat="%Y-%m-%d"):    
    timeStamp = time.mktime(time.strptime(str_date,strFormat))
    return datetime.datetime.fromtimestamp(timeStamp)

def FormatDate(objectDate,strFormat="%Y-%m-%d"):
    return objectDate.strftime(strFormat)

print FormatDate(o,'%d-%m-%Y')

Output 03-03-2013

timestamp ="124542124"
value = datetime.datetime.fromtimestamp(timestamp)
exct_time = value.strftime('%d %B %Y %H:%M:%S')

Get the readable date from timestamp with time also, also you can change the format of the date.

from datetime import datetime, timezone

dtobj = datetime.fromtimestamp(1284101485, timezone.utc)

>>> print(repr(dtobj))
datetime.datetime(2010, 9, 10, 6, 51, 25, tzinfo=datetime.timezone.utc)

Use the following codes, I hope it will solve your problem.

import datetime as dt

print(dt.datetime.fromtimestamp(int("1284101485")).strftime('%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S'))

import datetime
temp = datetime.datetime.fromtimestamp(1386181800).strftime('%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S')
print temp

Another way that this can be done using gmtime and format function;

from time import gmtime
print('{}-{}-{} {}:{}:{}'.format(*gmtime(1538654264.703337)))

Output: 2018-10-4 11:57:44

If you are working with a dataframe and do not want the series cannot be converted to class int error. Use the code below.

new_df= pd.to_datetime(df_new['time'], unit='s')

Use datetime.strftime(format):

from datetime import datetime
unixtime = int('1284101485')

# Print with local time
print(datetime.fromtimestamp(unixtime).strftime('%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S'))

# Print with UTC time
print(datetime.utcfromtimestamp(unixtime).strftime('%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S'))

i just successfully used:

>>> type(tstamp)
>>> newDt =
>>> type(newDt)

You can use easy_date to make it easy:

import date_converter
my_date_string = date_converter.timestamp_to_string(1284101485, "%B %d, %Y")

quick and dirty one liner:

'-'.join(str(x) for x in list(tuple([:6]))


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