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Date and Time on old tablet (4.4.2)


Oct 28, 2017

I have an old tablet (Kitkat?) that I thought I would try re-purposing as a clock. I found a clock app in the Play Store, and I like it, but I noticed it was off. I realized that the time on the tablet itself was off, so I adjusted it manually. After doing that, the clock app was accurate as well.

Now, the reason I wanted to try this is because I'd like to have a clock that sets automatically, and is always accurate. I tried a few atomic clocks, but they just weren't working out, and I'm getting a little paranoid that if I keep sending orders back to Amazon, I may get flagged!

So, the story is just to let you know what I'm up to. The question I have is: Does Android 4.4.2 clock sync with the Internet, or am I just wasting my time? I'm wondering if the reason that the time was off was because this is the first time I have powered up this old tablet in many months.

Thank you for any replies!
Look in the system settings for "date and time", and make sure that "automatic date and time" is set on. That should allow it to sync the time from your network connection. The clock app will just show the system time, so whatever you do with the system clock will automatically apply to your app.

Network time sync has been an Android feature for as long as I've used Android (2.1 or thereabouts), and when I had an Android 4.4 tablet I never had any problems with the clock, but I can't make promises about a particular unknown device. With a tablet that old I'm slightly surprised that the clock wasn't set to midnight on Jan 1st 1970 (the default clock start on unix systems), since the motherboard backup battery will surely be flat. I guess there was still some power left in the main battery.

Note that the locations and names of items in settings may change between Android versions and also between different manufacturers (the manufacturers can customise the settings to their own preferences, so many of them do), so names of settings may be slightly different.
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Thank you for the reply. It's a Samsung. There is no "automatic" setting for Date and time. Only 5 options: Set date, Set time, Select time zone, Use 24 hour format, and Set date format.

Back when I used this tablet, the date and time was never something I really cared about, and I honestly don't remember if I had to occasionally reset the time or not. It sounds like my best bet is to just wait and see. If it stays accurate, great. If not, oh, well.

Considering I can't even remember the last time I powered this thing up, I guess it is pretty impressive that the time was within 5 minutes of actual, and the battery was even reading at over 80%!
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Your tablet needs a consistent online connection to keep its internal clock in sync with an online time server. This is just how all computerized devices and gadgetry work. There is an internal, hardware clock that's integral to the logic board inside your tablet, and it requires a minuscule amount of power to store the current date/time/time zone and online connectivity to regularly and periodically update itself to a pre-selected online time server. (Which through a network of also online time servers refer to main atomic clock in Greenwich.
By default the option in the Settings menu will be to automatically sync itself to an online time server on a periodical basis. Manually doing so isn't optimal since we're just as consistent. But again, your tablet's internal clock has to have power and be able to sync itself consistently to stay accurate. The clock circuitry by itself is only able to maintain accuracy to limited extent. Stop trying to manually micromanage it, just keep the battery charged up (not an easy task with such a dated device) and connected to WiFi as much as possible.
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There's an auto setting on my Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 (2012) but it always was an hour off for some reason so I often set it manually (the time zone was set correctly but it's like the tablet didn't know DST existed so it was always an hour behind). If Daylight Savings Time isn't a thing where you live, then it should just be set and forget. These things don't 'drift' like a mechanical clock did.

FYI the UNIX Epoch was December 31, 1969, not January 1st 1970. The IBM PC's launch was January 1 1980.

Never underestimate an old tablet. They truly don't make things like they used to. Heck, leaving my Galaxy Watch 4 off and uncharged for a month won't let it hold a charge. It would be on 0% and not turn on for an hour after putting it on the charger. My Gear 2 (from ten years ago) would still be holding 70% after a year of non-use.

My daily laptop is 16 years old and the original battery still works. Try that with a modern laptop in half that time and you'd be lucky if it still accepted a charge.
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I thought that I would share my results. It appears that my Samsung tablet running 4.4.2 does not synchronize with the Internet, and I cannot find any settings to make it do so. I have had it plugged in and connected 24/7 while running a clock app for about a week now. It continues to be about 20 seconds off. I intentionally set it off, so that I could see the results when/if it synchronized.

Atomic clocks just don't work for me. I must live too far away from the radio source. I suppose I'll start looking to see if there are any clocks that connect and sync to the Internet. I may check this thread again next weekend to see if anyone has any additional suggestions.

(nickdalzell: The desktop that I am typing this on is over 10 years old. I know what you're saying! Sometimes, I'll actually go to the kitchen while I wait for Firefox to open, but once it does, I'm good to go! And, since it's Windows 10, it gets security updates.)

Again, thanks a lot, everybody!
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