Quickly Switching Between Analogue and Digital Clock in the macOS Menu Bar

1 Jan 2021, by Aadi

On previous versions of macOS, clicking on the time opens a drop-down menu, so changing modes was only a click away. Unfortunately, macOS Big Sur removes that option. I was used to conveniently switching between the compact analogue clock and the precise digital clock in the menu bar. Now, clicking on the time opens the new Notification Centre + Widgets pane.

The new Notification Centre in macOS Big Sur (Source: Apple)

The new Notification Centre in macOS Big Sur (Source: Apple)

After some digging1 and research, thanks to this StackOverflow answer I have an Applescript that checks and then toggles the state of the clock:

set currentValue to ¬
	(do shell script ¬
		"defaults read com.apple.menuextra.clock 'IsAnalog'") ¬
		as integer as boolean

do shell script ¬
	"defaults write com.apple.menuextra.clock 'IsAnalog' -bool " & (not currentValue) & ";"
Screenshot of Save As dialogue box

The Save As… dialogue in Script Editor

Once this AppleScript is saved as an application, just run it to switch modes!

video of menu bar

That easy!

I prefer using Spotlight to launch the app, that way I don’t have to switch away from whatever app is in the foreground. Another quick tip, I am not sure but it looks to me that enabling the Open in Low Resolution option found in the Get Info window makes this app a tad faster to launch.

  1. Basically used defaults find ↩︎