How to time travel in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Bill Cooney
A screenshot of a player rolling a ball of snow with the Animal Crossing New Horizons logoNintendo

Time traveling in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a straightforward process for those wanting to alter time and seasons as they please. Here’s how to become an expert in time traveling in ACNH.

As with previous Animal Crossing titles, New Horizons operates in real-time, syncing with your system’s clock. This means the in-game time mirrors the actual time, but you can manipulate it to your advantage.

However, utilizing time travel to change the date and time can make things pass that much faster if you’ve already netted, fished, and collected everything that a particular month has to offer – or if you just want to check out more of the game’s content earlier in the year.

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A screenshot of a player in Animal Crossing: New Horizons digging near a tree in fall timeNintendo
New Horizons simulate all four seasons but players don’t have to sit around and wait for them to arrive.

How to time travel in Animal Crossing

For long-term fans of the series, time travel is the same, well-known one that’s been around in the community forever. If you’re new to Animal Crossing, though, you might not have heard about it before. Below, we’ll go through exactly how to do it, alongside some pros, cons, and a fun little hairstyle you can unlock.

How to change date and time in Animal Crossing

Before you go jumping through time, it’s important to note that things in the game will continue, simulating as if you had not been there. For example, weeds will cover your island and some of your favorite villagers might decide to hit the road, which can be a major bummer.

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  1. Go to the home screen, and make sure Animal Crossing is closed.
  2. Head over to ‘System Settings
  3. Select ‘Date and Time‘ and turn off the ‘synchronize clock via the internet’ option.
  4. Set your time and date to whatever you want.
  5. Open Animal Crossing back up and you will have time traveled!

You don’t necessarily have to change things by months and weeks though: you could simply change it from day to night in order to try and catch a certain fish or bug instead of waiting to do it later. Smaller time changes would also make it less likely your villagers will split on you.

A screenshot showing how to change the date to time travel in Animal Crossing: New HorizonsNintendo
Changing the time and date on your switch allows you to hop back and forth throughout the year and beyond.

Time travel pros in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Obviously, for all the collectors out there, being able to travel through time will allow them to race to completion even faster, and you’ll also earn massive amounts of interest on Bells stored in your account during the change. However, this does not account for any bells that are stored within your pockets/inventory.

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Another fantastic way to increase your amount of Bells is with money trees. Our guide will tell you all you need to know about utilizing this method to make the big bucks.

If you have three other friends willing to participate, you could even set it up to have each person’s island on a different season at the same time, and visit them at your leisure to experience each!

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Time travel is undoubtedly a great method for those who don’t have the option to invest in the game on a daily basis – allowing you to time travel backward to experience prior events (though this does not happen when traveling forward).

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A group of villagers with a player in Animal Crossing: New HorizonsNintendo
Making big Bells fast means you’ll have to wave goodbye to some neighbors and be ready to pull some weeds.

Time travel consequences in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

There are a handful of consequences that you should be aware of when you’re time traveling in Animal Crossing, though. These are:

  • If you travel backward in time, or forward enough that you pass a Sunday, any turnips that you possess (in your pockets, or out in the world) will turn rotten, likely losing you a tonne of Bells.
  • Your mailbox will likely become full, meaning you’ll need to dig through lots of letters from your villagers, Mom, and the Happy Home Academy.
  • Time-traveling ahead more than one day at a time will reset any Nook Stop bonus streaks you’ve got going, resetting it back to day one.
  • Some of your villagers may have grown restless, and may have bubbles above their head, showing that they’re thinking of leaving your island!
  • Cockroaches are highly likely to appear in your home, though this can be easily fixed – step on, and squish them!
  • Weeds will begin to sprout all over your island! Though you might like the look of them, they can knock your island’s rating as they grow out of control.

One of the biggest downsides, though, would be that this cheat does ruin New Horizon’s continuity. But, in the end, it really all depends on how you want to play the game.

Bedhead time travel Animal CrossingNintendo / YouTube: Cordless VII
One fun side-effect of using time-traveling is this cool hairdo.

Time travel bedhead in New Horizons

Utilizing the time travel feature can also land you with this fun little intro upon loading up your game – messy bedhead hair! Despite this, it will be instantly fixed by your character upon exiting their home.

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If this is your first time seeing the hairstyle, though, it will then be unlocked and added to the selection of hairstyles that you can choose from. The easiest way to accomplish this is to time travel forward by a month or more.

So, there you have it – everything you need to know about time travel in Animal Crossing.

For more tips and tricks to help you on your New Horizons island, check out our guides:

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All KK Slider songs and requests | How to unlock shops at Harv’s island | How to get Iron Nuggets fast | Villager gift guide | How to get a villager to move out | Time travel guide | Ordinances guide | Restarting your island | Funny catchphrases | Terraforming ideas guide – best island layouts | Brewster guide | Cooking and recipes guide | Planting and growing vegetables in New Horizons | How to get the ABD |

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About The Author

Bill is a former writer at Dexerto based in Iowa, who covered esports, gaming and online entertainment for more than two years. With the US team, Bill covered Overwatch, CSGO, Influencer culture, and everything in between.