Convert Unix timestamp into human readable date using MySQL

The Question :

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Is there a MySQL function which can be used to convert a Unix timestamp into a human readable date? I have one field where I save Unix times and now I want to add another field for human readable dates.

The Question Comments :

The Answer 1

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See also: MySQL documentation on FROM_UNIXTIME().

The Answer 2

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What’s missing from the other answers (as of this writing) and not directly obvious is that from_unixtime can take a second parameter to specify the format like so:

  from_unixtime(timestamp, '%Y %D %M %H:%i:%s')

The Answer 3

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I think what you’re looking for is FROM_UNIXTIME()

The Answer 4

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Need a unix timestamp in a specific timezone?

Here’s a one liner if you have quick access to the mysql cli:

mysql> select convert_tz(from_unixtime(1467095851), 'UTC', 'MST') as 'local time';

| local time          |
| 2016-06-27 23:37:31 |

Replace 'MST' with your desired timezone. I live in Arizona 🌵 thus the conversion from UTC to MST.

The Answer 5

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Why bother saving the field as readable? Just us AS

SELECT theTimeStamp, FROM_UNIXTIME(theTimeStamp) AS readableDate
               FROM theTable
               WHERE theTable.theField = theValue;

EDIT: Sorry, we store everything in milliseconds not seconds. Fixed it.

The Answer 6

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You can use the DATE_FORMAT function. Here‘s a page with examples, and the patterns you can use to select different date components.

The Answer 7

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Easy and simple way:

select from_unixtime(column_name, '%Y-%m-%d') from table_name

The Answer 8

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Since I found this question not being aware, that mysql always stores time in timestamp fields in UTC but will display (e.g. phpmyadmin) in local time zone I would like to add my findings.

I have an automatically updated last_modified field, defined as:


Looking at it with phpmyadmin, it looks like it is in local time, internally it is UTC

SET time_zone = '+04:00'; // or '+00:00' to display dates in UTC or 'UTC' if time zones are installed.
SELECT last_modified, UNIX_TIMESTAMP(last_modified), from_unixtime(UNIX_TIMESTAMP(last_modified), '%Y-%c-%d %H:%i:%s'), CONVERT_TZ(last_modified,@@session.time_zone,'+00:00') as UTC FROM `table_name`

In any constellation, UNIX_TIMESTAMP and ‘as UTC’ are always displayed in UTC time.

Run this twice, first without setting the time_zone.

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