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The Best Countdown Timers For Mac

5 min read

We’re always waiting for something. Sometimes, it could be as significant as a wedding or long-awaited vacation and, sometimes, as simple as a new music album release or just plain old Friday. Whatever it is, research tells us that actively anticipating something gives us almost the same amount of joy as the event itself. So why not use it to your advantage? 

You can, of course, mark the day on your printed calendar or even the calendar you use on your Mac but, chances are, you’ll quickly forget about it until it’s just a week or a month away. The question is, how can you enjoy something that you can schedule several months or even a year in advance? You need a countdown clock app.

What Are Countdown Timer Apps? 

Countdown timers are apps that allow you to specify any event in the future and then automatically create a countdown to date for it. These apps differ by the style of the date countdown — some include progress trackers, for example — and features like notifications. Sometimes, you can also specify the design to distinguish different events. 

Another critical difference is between online countdown timers and native apps for Mac that usually let you create more custom countdowns for your needs. Let’s take a look at both.

Online countdown timers

There are numerous event countdown websites to be found online. Even most search engines (e.g. Google) have one as a feature. They are free and convenient to use since they don’t require you to install any software on your Mac beforehand.

At the same time, they usually only allow for one entry at a time and thus lack the functionality that would allow you to fill out your countdown calendar of upcoming events. Moreover, such online countdown timers are only active for as long as you have them open in your browser tab and would reset as soon as you close your browser window, whether by accident or not. So they are best used to something that’s coming up the same day. 

To use a countdown clock app in Google, simply search for “timer” to call up the widget. Enter the exact amount of hours, minutes, and seconds, and click Start. You can even 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. 

Google countdown

If you want to use a dedicated online countdown timer instead of Google, try online-stopwatch.com. The idea is the same: you enter the hours, minutes, and seconds, then click Set, then Start. Since it’s a dedicated website, you get a nice feature of your timer being repeated live as your browser tab title, so you can watch the countdown timer app without it even being open. 


For those who would like to add some beauty to their date countdown, there are options that feature animations or interesting graphics as well. One of these examples is timeanddate.com. 

When you visit timeanddate.com/countdown/create, you can: 

  1. Choose a custom background for your countdown timer
  2. Specify the title and its font style
  3. Pick a destination date and time
  4. Select whether the time should count down to the second or just days

Create your own countdown

How to countdown to date on Mac

While you can set timers of all lengths online, you only truly experience the beauty of anticipation when you can reliably look at upcoming events day to day, which means getting a countdown clock app for your Mac. 

WaitingList is one of the most beautiful and intuitive countdown timers for Mac out there. It lives quietly in your menu bar and doesn’t get in the way, but at the same time remains easily accessible when you need to take a peek. 

You can use WaitingList to create as many timers as you want, and the app would suggest a unique background and title for each one, and then count them down simultaneously. You get a real soothing effect just by looking at everything that’s about to happen. 

To use WaitingList: 

  1. Click on its icon in the menu bar
  2. Hit the plus icon
  3. Choose your background from the dropdown menu first
  4. Give your event countdown a title 
  5. Specify a target date 
  6. Copy-paste a URL if relevant
  7. Press the check mark 

Waitinglist countdown timer for Mac

How to create custom countdowns on Mac

Even though you can create date countdowns for pretty much any event inside WaitingList (it’s really great for that), some people would love to track even more meaningful dates in their lives. For example, how much time in percentage terms has passed since the beginning of the year or how old you are in days. To get more flexibility out of your countdown timer app, you should use Moment. 

Moment is an all-in-one app for celebrating your life. Just like WaitingList, you can find it quietly tracking time in your menu bar, although you can specify for certain memorable events to have icons of their own. Moment clearly shows you how much time is left until a certain event, how much time has passed, and tracks event progress too. 

Using Moment is just as simple as using WaitingList: 

  1. To start a new event, click the plus icon in the menu bar
  2. Select from Date, Time Progress, or Life
  3. Name your event
  4. Input all the necessary dates
  5. Attach a picture if you want
  6. Hit the check mark when done

Moment countdown timer

As you can see, there are quite a few ways you can anticipate something exciting, from simply setting the online countdown timer to getting a dedicated Mac app like WaitingList or Moment to track all sorts of time progressions. 

Best of all, WaitingList and Moment are available to you absolutely free for seven days through a trial of Setapp, a platform with more than 220 best-in-class apps that will significantly expand the versatility of your Mac, from custom dynamic wallpapers (24 Hour Wallpaper) to customizable menu bar (Bartender). Try them all today at no cost and find out where you’ve been missing out!

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