How to put a countdown on Mac desktop

7 min read

Humans are very much preoccupied with time. Our schedules are filled with important events, appointments, deadlines, and tasks that we want to remember, complete on time, be ready for, and overall succeed at. With time being such an important commodity, we need to allocate it wisely and keep track of personal and professional moments that are time-sensitive. But when life gets ahead of us, a simple list or posted notes won’t suffice. You need a countdown timer and preferably one you can customize to your unique necessities.

Below is a complete guide to the best countdown timer Mac apps out there that can help you organize and control your schedule like never before, as well as tips on using the built-in Clock app and online tools to set a timer for the simpler things.

Reasons for setting a countdown timer on Mac

A countdown timer Mac is an app that allows you to specify any event in the future and then automatically create a countdown for it. While these types of apps differ by their style and functionality, their main purpose is to remind you of things happening some time later or set time limits for a specific task.

A few of the main reasons people want to know how to put a countdown on Mac desktop are:

  • Remember significant dates
  • Anticipate upcoming events
  • Be on time for meetings and appointments
  • Keep track of time spent working on a project
  • Avoid being late with deadlines
  • Stay on top of schedule
  • Better allocate time

How to count down to date on Mac

Since the anticipation can sometimes bring as much joy as the event itself, you can double the excitement with a good countdown timer like Due.

Due has a minimalistic and intuitive interface that makes it easy to stay on track and avoid missing deadlines. Due isn’t just a regular macOS countdown timer, it also acts as your virtual assistant by sending you persistent reminders about that one or multiple things you were always forgetting.

With Due, you can also customize the app’s settings to change the timer’s appearance, sound, and other options! Save your brain power by letting Due create reusable countdown timers, jot down instant reminders, and send you necessary notifications — all of this being a few clicks away.

Here’s how to add countdown on Mac with Due:

  1. Launch the app
  2. Select Reminders from the sidebar and click “+” to create a new one
  3. Enter a title for your countdown
  4. Set the date and time you want to count down to
  5. Choose the time frame for reminders from the dropdown menu in the Repeat section
  6. Click Done

Now Due will display a countdown timer Mac to your selected date and time!

Due app

How to create custom countdowns on Mac

If you want to track time more precisely, get more information about how much has passed (in percentage terms, for example), and need your countdown timer Mac to offer additional flexibility, Moment is the app for you.

Moment keeps you perfectly aware of every special occasion of your life and helps plan your time more mindfully. It can easily be named the best countdown app for Mac only because of how much timer customization it allows and how non-distracting it is.

Moment lets you create countdown events and look back to the starting point of something, track your progress and celebrate personal milestones, add moments to the menu bar as individual items, customize timers with photos or emojis, keep all events organized in Today Widget, and more!

How to put a countdown on Mac desktop using Moment:

  1. Launch the app
  2. Click the “+” icon in the menu bar
  3. Select Date, Time Progress, or Life
  4. Add a name for your event
  5. Input all the necessary dates and times
  6. Attach a picture if you want
  7. Click the checkmark to finish

Moment app

How to add a countdown widget to your Mac’s Notification Center

The Notification Center is a place where you can catch up on missed notifications and use widgets to keep track of your day right from the desktop. You can get into your Mac’s Notification Center by clicking the date and time icon in the menu bar and work with your existing widgets by clicking Edit Widgets at the bottom of the tab.

Widgets are basically mini-apps that sit on your Mac desktop and give you quick access to frequently used information or tools. To get the most of your device and make a custom countdown widget Mac, try WidgetWall.

WidgetWall is an app designed to help you personalize your Mac by adding favorite apps, pictures, Mac performance stats, and websites as widgets for more convenient access. Turn your desktop into a productivity hub by bringing all of your most-used tools to your fingertips in a widget format!

Here’s how to create a countdown widget Mac using WidgetWall:

  1. Launch the app.
  2. Click on the plus (+) icon to add a widget.
  3. Use the search bar to find specific widgets.
  4. Choose the widget you would like to add and click it.
  5. Click the gear icon to customize your widget.

create a countdown widget Mac in WidgetWall

Top online countdown timers

While some users are looking for the best countdown app for Mac to keep a close eye on their life’s most important events, others just need a simple one-time solution. And an online timer would work just fine in this case.

Here are some of the most used online countdown timers:

  • Google timer

Online timers attract users because they don’t require you to install any additional software on your Mac. That can be convenient, but at the same time, those online tools usually only allow for one entry at a time, thus lacking the functionality that would allow you to fill your countdown calendar with upcoming events.

Plus, online countdown timers are only active for as long as you have them open in your browser and reset as soon as you close that window, so it’s better to use them for things coming up that same day.

There are many event countdown websites you can find online, plus search engines like Google also offer one as a feature. To use the countdown timer from Google, follow these steps:

  1. Open Google and type “timer” in the search bar.
  2. Enter the hours, minutes, and seconds to your event.
  3. Click Start.

    countdown timer from Google

You can also expand the timer to take over your screen by clicking the icon in the bottom-right corner. When the timer runs out, you’ll hear a sound.

Online Stopwatch is another popular online tool that has a neat feature of showing your timer live as your browser tab title, so you can keep an eye on the countdown without having to open the timer window.

Here’s how to add a countdown on Mac with Online Stopwatch:

  1. Go to
  2. Enter the hours, minutes, and seconds to your event.
  3. Click Set, then click Start.

    Online Stopwatch

If you want to use an online timer that can add animations or graphics to your countdown, try Time and Date. Here’s how to set a countdown timer using this tool:

  1. Go to
  2. Choose a custom background for your timer.
  3. Name your countdown and select the font style.
  4. Enter the destination date and time.
  5. Select whether the time should count down to the second or days.
  6. Click Create Countdown.

    Time and Date countdown

FAQs about macOS countdown timers

The guide above has all the necessary information and tips on the best countdown app for Mac, but here are some additional answers to the most common questions regarding native timer apps and how to add countdown on Mac in general.

What is the best timer app for the menu bar on Mac?

As mentioned, Moment is a great menu bar app for Mac that can help easily keep track of your life by creating countdown events, adding personalized moments, keeping track of your progress, and planning your time mindfully.

What is the default timer app for Mac?

The native macOS countdown timer lives in the Clock app. Apart from starting a timer, you can also use the Clock app to see the time in cities around the world, set an alarm, and use a stopwatch.

What is the custom timer app for Mac?

A custom timer app for Mac is a third-party app you can install to get extra functionality. For example, we recommend Due for tracking reminders and times together, and Moment to track important countdown events from your Mac’s menu bar.

How do I put a countdown timer on my Mac desktop?

Open the Clock app on your Mac, select Timer at the top, set the duration of time and a sound to play when the timer ends, then click Start. You can also choose Pause to stop the timer, or Done to reset it.

Now you’re equipped with a few tools to anticipate the next exciting event in your life. Set a built-in macOS countdown timer, use one of the free online options, or treat yourself to a dedicated Mac app like Due or Moment to track all sorts of time progressions and improve your scheduling skills. And if you want to add a countdown widget Mac, WidgetWall is here for you!

All three apps — Due, Moment, and WidgetWall are available to you right away for free! A seven-day trial of Setapp, a platform of more than 240 essential Mac and iOS utilities, gives you access to any of its apps with no limitations. Try Setapp today and receive instant gratification in seeing how your workflow improves!

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