Setting a timer on the Mac is pretty easy, though you’ll be forgiven if you assumed there would be a dedicated timer feature within the clock app of MacOS, as there is in the iOS and iPadOS world. It turns out that a timer functionality is not yet part of the clock app or clock widget on the Mac, but that doesn’t mean you can’t easily set a timer.
Instead, setting a timer on a Mac is accomplished with Siri. We’ll show you how.
How to Set a Timer on Mac with Siri
- Summon Siri on the the Mac, then say “Set a timer for (time)”
You can use seconds, minutes, hours, or days for your time measure.
For example, using “Hey Siri, set a timer for 5 minutes” will tell Siri to set a timer that alerts you in five minutes.
If you have Hey Siri enabled on the Mac you can use voice commands. Otherwise, activate Siri through the menu bar, or by launching it directly to issue the timer setting command.
If you use Type to Siri on the Mac, then you can simply initiate Siri then type out “set a timer for (time)” and it will accomplish the same thing.
If you’ve been previously setting a timer on iPhone or iPad either with the Clock app, or with Siri, you’ll likely find this functionality is familiar to you. Similarly, if you set timers with HomePod then you will be familiar with the Siri approach to this.
An interesting component of using Siri to set a timer on Mac is that it uses the Reminders app on the Mac to set the timer, and the timer does not count down visually like it does on iPhone or iPad.
Additionally, because the Mac Timer set by Siri is using the Reminders app, if you have Do Not Disturb or a Focus mode enabled, you might miss the alert signifying that the timer is up. This is worth paying attention to if you frequently use the Do Not Disturb mode features on the Mac (or have it always on, like me) to focus, and were planning on using a timer on the Mac as something like a pomodoro timer or time management trick (for what it’s worth, if you wanted to use the timer on the Mac for pomodoro or task management, then the Be Focused app is free on the Mac App Store and does that job from the menu bar).
So that’s the easiest way to set a timer on the Mac, thanks to good old Siri. Perhaps in the future the Mac will include a Clock app like the iPad and iPhone with more timer, stopwatch, and other type of features, or expand those functionalities into the Mac clock widget – shown at the top of this post – which could work too.
And by the way, sometimes you have to be persistent for Siri to figure this out and actually to set a timer on the Mac. In classic Siri fashion, it sometimes goofs up and seems to forget that Reminders exists or has that capability, but if you try a few times it works the second or third time – a very intelligent virtual assistant indeed.
If you continue to have struggle with Siri setting the timer, try opening the Reminders app first, then asking Siri to set a timer for the amount of time.
Do you have another technique or trick to set a timer on the Mac? Share in the comments your approaches, or if you find the Siri method to be satisfactory, and whatever your thoughts and opinions are.