Converting unix timestamp string to readable date

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Converting unix timestamp string to readable date

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

Answer #1:

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'))
Answered By: Micha? Niklas

Answer #2:

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

Taken from

Answered By: Daniel

Answer #3:

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

Answered By: rkachach

Answer #4:

>>> 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'
Answered By: John La Rooy

Answer #5:

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))
Answered By: jfs

Answer #6:

In Python 3.6+:

import datetime
timestamp = 1579117901
value = datetime.datetime.fromtimestamp(timestamp)
print(f"{value:%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S}")

Output (in UTC)

2020-01-15 19:51:41



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

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

Answer #7:

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’

Answered By: Jared Burrows

Answer #8:

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'
Answered By: shubham

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