How to convert Unix timestamps to human readable date format in Bash?

I recently got asked how to convert Unix timestamps to human readable date format in Bash.

Here is an example of how to generate a Unix timestamp using the date command:

date +%s

This will output a long string of numbers like this:


This number represents the seconds since 00:00:00 UTC on 1 January 1970.

So here’s how to convert Unix timestamps to human readable date format in Bash!

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Bobby Iliev
Site Moderator
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November 25, 2020
Accepted Answer

In order to convert a Unix timestamp to a human-readable date format, you can use the date command with a -d flag followed by the timestamp with a @ prefix.

So if we run the command from above to generate a new timestamp:

  1. date +%s

Then copy the output and run the date -d @time_stamp command to decode it:

  1. date -d @1606320072

You will get an output with the date in the following format:

Wed Nov 25 16:01:12 UTC 2020

Also, in order to get the exact Unix time starting point, you could run the above command with a 0:

  1. date -d @0


Thu Jan  1 00:00:00 UTC 1970


How to convert Unix timestamps to human-readable dates in Bash

I hope that this helps! Regards, Bobby

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