I'd like to change the system clock on my Switch to affect another game I’m playing, but my SO and I are playing Animal Crossing New Horizons together. We've just bought large amounts of turnips, and we don't want these to spoil. As such, I’d like to avoid time traveling in Animal Crossing.

Our Switch is currently set to Synchronize Clock via Internet. I'm not sure how or when Animal Crossing determines the time has changed. I'm thinking it might work out if I do things in this order:

  1. Change the time
  2. Play the other game, save, quit to home screen.
  3. Set the Switch back to Synchronize Clock via Internet. Ensure the time is correct.
  4. Load up Animal Crossing, which hopefully believes nothing happened.

I'm not really in a position to test this myself right now. When I tried researching on my own, I only saw the negative impacts of time traveling in Animal Crossing by itself, but I'm not trying to time travel in Animal Crossing.

  • I've removed the Pokemon tag, as this is less about the Sw/Sh glitch and more about whether it's possible to adjust switch system time w/o triggering time-travel effects in Animal Crossing. May 17, 2020 at 20:29
  • @RavenDreamer thanks, that makes sense. I’ll go ahead and edit the question a bit to make it more general, in case there’s someone else with another game they’re trying to manipulate time in
    – zr00
    May 17, 2020 at 21:57
  • Hi @zr00, the fact that you're trying to use a glitch is actually irrelevant to the rest of the question. It might be better received if you boil it down to remove the extra details. IMO the important part is about whether AC can detect time manipulation that happens while it's not running.
    – Schism
    May 18, 2020 at 1:01
  • @Schism thanks for the feedback. I’ve edited the question further.
    – zr00
    May 18, 2020 at 1:17
  • 1
    Looks much improved. Good job, zr00! May 18, 2020 at 3:11

2 Answers 2


All Animal Crossings games check the time difference when the game is loaded up.

When you start the game, it checks the difference between the last time it was started and now and acts upon this difference (like, adding fossiles in the ground, creating a bunch of weed, populating your mailboxes etc.).

That's why, when the first time starting the game each day, the loading time is a bit longer.

Your procedure should be OK as long as AC is not running and nobody starts it while the clock is set back.

It's even something my SO regularly do to "not miss" an AC day (go back in time, play the day you missed then put the clock back on synchronize).

  • Thanks for answering. First time I read the last paragraph I was a little confused, but I think it makes sense now. To confirm I follow now, exact order of events is SO plays on 5/20; turns it off; misses 5/21 IRL; on 5/22 IRL SO sets Switch to 5/21; plays to catch up; logs off; sets time to sync; then plays 5/22 in real time. Please confirm... don’t want to have accidentally misread it twice!
    – zr00
    May 23, 2020 at 0:43
  • I confirm. That's what she does.
    – Fana
    May 23, 2020 at 6:26
  • As said, just make sure you don't start the game even once on the 22 before starting it with the clock back on 21. The key component is NOT STARTING.
    – Fana
    May 23, 2020 at 6:29
  • Understood on that last part. Gonna accept this as the answer!
    – zr00
    May 23, 2020 at 13:50

If it knows, it doesn't show.

The only thing that changes if you Time travel instead of wait is that if you have Turnips and do a time travel backwards (like you played at 4PM, but the next time you load the game its 3PM on the same day) your Turnips will spoil.

Going forward a day to make a construction complete and then back a day to get back to current time will not undo the building completion or anything. Everything works as intended, like if you just waited the time and connected at the hour your switch currently is.

  • I wasn’t the one to downvote. While this is good info for those who don’t know of the effects of time travel, I myself already knew it and it doesn’t answer my question. The only part that touches on it is the first line, but it’s not filling me with confidence.
    – zr00
    May 23, 2020 at 0:35

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