Working with people in different time zones can be difficult when planning a virtual meeting time, whether it’s Zoom, FaceTime, another video chat app, or just an old-fashioned phone call. Time has to be right for all parties, and it’s not easy to remember UTC offsets and do mental math. Fortunately, there is an easier way to handle time zones on your iPhone.
The built-in manners aren’t really that good
By far the easiest way to find out how many hours are out of a time zone is to ask Siri. Whether in the US or another country, say or type, “What time is it in [City̵
The second easiest way to find out the difference in hours between you and someone else’s location is to use the Clock app. In the “World Clock” tab you can add different time zones per city, and you will always have the current time added for all time zones in a quick reference list that you can use for comparison. This is actually better than Siri as you will clearly see whether it is today or tomorrow.
Unfortunately, that’s the extent of Siri and Clock’s time zone capabilities. Ask Siri to convert a specific time to a different time zone or region, and you’ll just get more confused. There isn’t even a way to make Clock attempt to do such conversions. You could always google it, but opening a browser to see a time conversion isn’t very efficient.
A better, more customized way to calculate times
This is where “World Time Zones” come in handy. From anywhere on your device, you can use the shortcut to quickly convert your local time to other time zones, be it PST, EST, GMT, WET or NFT. All you need to do is mark the current time, run the shortcut and several popular time zones will appear that you can copy to your clipboard and paste into your email, message, note, etc.
- iOS 14: Although not technically required, you should use this shortcut with the latest iOS for optimal results. It has not been tested with iOS 13.
- Shortcuts: If you uninstalled the pre-installed app, reinstall it from the App Store.
- Allow untrusted shortcuts: Also make sure to enable “Add untrusted shortcuts” in Settings -> Shortcuts to install third-party shortcuts created by other shortcut users.
Step 1: Add the shortcut
Download the “World Time Zones” shortcut from RoutineHub user atnbueno using the iCloud link below. You can also download it from the RoutineHub page, where the shortcut is regularly updated. As of January 11th, the shortcut is on version 1.2.0.
If you are not automatically redirected to the Shortcuts app, tap “Get Shortcut”. If you’re viewing the World Time Zone preview in Shortcuts, scroll down and tap “Add Untrusted Shortcut” to add the shortcut to your library.
Step 2: Convert time everywhere
It doesn’t matter which app you’re working in, whether you’re reading a time in an email or typing a time in a text, mark the date and time or just the time. If you include a date, that date will appear in the calculations. Otherwise, it just thinks you mean the current day. The date works best if it is in the format YYYY-MM-DD, but it could also be something like “January 15th” and it will know what you mean.
For the time being it must be formatted in 24-hour time or in 12-hour time where PM, pm, pm, etc. are necessary to determine the midday and evening times. It doesn’t have to be perfect either. For example: 7:30 pm, 7:00 am, 6:13 pm, 3:32 pm, 4:00 am, 9:45 am, etc.
It can also contain a time zone, eg Pacific time, pacific, PST, PT, PDT, pst, etc. And you can even mark a city such as London or Los Angeles. If no time zone or city is marked, your current time zone will be used as the time zone. When you highlight a time zone or city, the time when World Time Zones first appears is the converted time in your time zone. For example, if you marked “9:45 am London” and you lived in New York, you would show 4:45 PM (ie 4:45 PM) because it is five hours less than the time in London.
After marking the date, time, time zone, and / or city, tap the arrow in the action menu that appears. If you don’t see it, tap the highlighted text once to display it. Then select ‘Share’.
This will open the Share sheet. Scroll down and select “World Time Zones” from the list of shortcuts. A date and time picker appears, where the highlighted date and / or time has already been converted to your time zone. It is only the same numbers that are marked if you have used your home time zone or city, or if you have not marked a time zone or city.
If the converted date and / or time is incorrect for any reason, you can manually adjust it in the date and time picker. When you are done, tap “Done”.
For reference, a list of eight different popular time zones appears with the name of the city and country. From there, you can either glance at the time you are trying to convert it to and then exit the shortcut or tap “OK” to copy all converted time zones to your clipboard, which you can then paste where you were typing.
Note that you can also run World Time Zones from “My Shortcuts” in the Shortcuts app. Just tap the card and the date and time picker will appear where you can change it if needed.
Step 3: Adjust the listed time zones
If you regularly deal with the same people, the time zones and cities shown in the list may not even apply to them. But the list is customizable so you can replace the current one with your own time zone choices or just add extra.
To do this, go to “My Shortcuts” in Shortcuts, then tap the ellipse icon (•••) on the World Time Zone map. Then under the actions to determine your language, you will see a Dictionary box with “Time Zones” as the first item. Tap “8 items” next to it, and the list of currently selected time zones and cities will appear.
- Delete time zones with the red minus (-) button. Confirm with “Delete”.
- Add new time zones with the green plus (+) button. Use “Text” in the popup. Then enter your time zone indicator as key and the flag (optional), city, country as text. If you need help finding the correct time zone or UTC offset, Wikipedia has a good list of time zones by country that can help.
- Edit current time zones. Just replace the time zone indicator with the one you want. If you don’t know the designation or UTC offset, Wikipedia has a good list of time zones by country to help you out. Then change the city and country to the ones that match. These are just text fields, so you can just type in the name of the city and country. The flag is optional, which you can add from the emoji on your keyboard.
When you are done editing or adding time zones and cities, tap “Done” to return to the main editor, then “Done” again to return to “My Shortcuts”.
Now, the next time you run the shortcut, you will see all your changes. You can customize it even more and make it more specific to your workflow by changing the city, state and / or country names to the names of the people who live in that time zone. That way, you don’t even have to think about who is in which time zone.
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