Android owners with 24-hour clock have a new, easier way to set times for appointments

The military era has its perks, but Android has always had a downside

As someone who was born and raised in the good old United States of America, I like to use 24-hour time. It’s a long story, but up to this point I find it a bit annoying that many Android phones don’t show the AM or PM signifier unless you dig a little – that kind of fussiness makes all the sense naught Clear information that you can get from a good smart watch, for example. In any case, 24-hour users on Android have had to deal with a somewhat inconvenient interface when setting times for calendar events, appointments, and the like for the longest time. But thanks to some work by Google’s material design researchers, this UI will soon be overhauled.


Until recently, when setting the time in the 24-hour format, users had to select the hour on a dual-ring analogue dial with hours 1-12 on the outer ring and 13-24 on the inner. Once the user selects the hour, the UI advances to the minute setting. However, those with bigger fingers will know the frustration of touching the wrong hour because the targets, especially on the inner ring, were just too close together – you’d have to tap back to the hour field and then re-select the hour you actually wanted to enter.

Google System Blog<\/a>“” data-modal-id=”single-image-modal” data-modal-container-id=”single-image-modal-container” data-img-caption=””””>


Android has been presenting this interface in some form for many years. We actually spotted an example from 2013 via the old Google Operating System blog that swapped the positioning of the hour rings.

Google<\/a>“” data-modal-id=”single-image-modal” data-modal-container-id=”single-image-modal-container” data-img-caption=””””>

24 Hour Clock Face Material Design 1

The Material Design team attempted to address the accessibility issue of the 24-hour two-ring dial in 2020 by introducing a single-ring dial that only displayed the even hours between 2 and 24. This was part of a broader redesign of the time-selecting user interfaces, and while the rest of the set lay around, 24-hour clock users were reclaiming the old two-ring watch face – apparently they weren’t too pleased with the odd-hour placement to have to derive.

The researchers decided to undertake a thorough, albeit limited, study of the subject by subjecting 50 people to time-setting tests using a variety of different dial-based designs—out of 50 original designs, four made it to the candidate stage—followed by surveys.

Google<\/a>“” data-modal-id=”single-image-modal” data-modal-container-id=”single-image-modal-container” data-img-caption=””””>

24 hour clock face material design 2

The team concluded that no 24-hour dial design was intuitive enough to set the time accurately and reliably. Considering the rarity of such a design on physical watches, this really shouldn’t come as a surprise.

So the Material Design team made a digital input option the new standard – it was introduced with the Material Design time picker update in 2020, and users can tap a keyboard button in the watch face’s prompt box to access it if they still do not done is a requirement. The digital input will live alongside the existing analog dial for 24-hour users. As the team collects data on user behavior, the company may choose to default time settings to digital inputs.

It remains to be seen if there’s a future without the 24-hour clock face on Android, but I wouldn’t, in my dissatisfaction, stand for analog clock faces to go away either, so… there it is.

UPDATE: 2022/12/04 7:24 PM EST BY JULES WANG


A previous version of this story implied that the digital input option was introduced recently when it was actually introduced during the 2020 update. We regret the mistake.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *