Eclipse Countdown and Notifications in TPE for iOS: Beta

This video demonstrates the new timeline event countdown and notifications functionality coming soon to TPE for iOS. It can be used during the upcoming solar eclipse to be notified visually and by sound of approaching eclipse events.

If you would like to try the beta, please leave a comment on this post, and we’ll get you an invitation to TestFlight

We show it here running alongside the Photo Ephemeris Web eclipse simulator for the short duration eclipse near the southern path edge in Newfoundland on April 8.

I’ll be showing this video during this morning’s webinar. Be sure to have sound on to hear the event announcements.

The beta should be available in the first part of next week.

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That is very cool! I’ve used “Solar Eclipse Timer” for 2017 and 2019. Gonna be hard to not use it, but I will definitely have yours on as well! Thanks for doing this!

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I’d love to test the beta as well. (Webinar was great, btw.)


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Please sign me up for the beta as well! It’s absolutely fantastic :slight_smile:

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@Rick, @Rosie - TestFlight invites are headed your way. :+1:

I should have the next beta version with the countdown timer functionality uploaded within the next couple of days. You’ll get a notification when it’s available.


I remain in awe of what you are able to do. Keep it up!

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Quick update on this - I expect to have something to share tomorrow (Apple overlords permitting).

There’s still a bit of tidy up to do - cosmetic work, flesh out the notification announcements for all event types, do some automatic notification rationalization (e.g. never announce New Moon or a meridian transit in the middle of totality!), but overall it’s getting there.

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I just released an updated build 4.14b567. Here are the TestFlight release notes for convenience:

4.14 b567
  • Night mode is no longer a separate mode - use the new timeline config controls (see below)

  • Timeline summary: tapping the Info button at the bottom right of the map displays a timeline summary with details timings of the day’s events. This also replaces the info button that previously appeared at the lower right of the timeline itself

  • Timeline configuration: tap the settings icon at the top of the Timeline summary page to configure what is displayed. You can turn Sun, Moon and the Galactic Center on/off independently, plus select which events are displayed in the timeline

  • Event Countdown: the app will display a timer countdown to the next timeline event. You can use rehearsal/replay mode for future or past events, or switch into Live mode to handle current events

  • Rehearsal mode: starting from the current selected date and time, press Play to watch a countdown to the next event. You can adjust the selected start time on the map using the normal controls, or by selecting an event in the Timeline summary page, or by tapping the -10s button on the Event Countdown page

  • Live mode: the app’s selected date/time is changed to ‘now’ upon enabling Live mode, so that the countdown is shown for today’s events (live mode does not change the selected map location however, so be sure to set that appropriately first)

  • Notifications: if enabled, the app will receive time sensitive notifications at key moments during event countdown. For example, for a total solar eclipse, announcement notifications are scheduled for 5, 2, 1 minute, 30s, 15s, and 5s prior to C2, at 15s and 5s prior to Max eclipse, and 15s, 5s prior to C3. After C3, notifications are given at 15s, 30s and 60s

  • Scheduled notifications: you can view the list of scheduled notifications and swipe left to cancel any you don’t want to receive

Notes on Notifications:

  • You must enable notifications, grant permission and ensure that your device’s focus mode and other settings are configured to allow the notifications to be received and/or heard

  • In rehearsal mode, notifications are scheduled when you tap Play and canceled upon Pausing. In Live mode, notifications are scheduled relative to the actual clock time of the corresponding events, irrespective of any time you select within the app.

  • You can background the app or quit it and notifications will still be received. This can be useful for testing your configuration.

  • We will be adding additional notifications for other events in a later beta build, plus support for announcements in other supported languages

  • In addition the notifications noted above for solar eclipses, the following events are currently announced in 4.14b567: C1 (15s, 5s), C4 (15s, 5s), Moonrise (5m, 60s, 15s, 5s). Other events are announced as they occur

Suggested testing:

  • Test an upcoming Moonrise in Live mode

  • Test the April 8 eclipse in Rehearsal mode

4.14 b563

  • The eclipse simulator view is now pushed onto the navigation stack instead of being presented as a modal. This makes it much easier to interact using a two-finger pan gesture or pinch-to-zoom without accidentally dismissing the simulator view.

Please send your feedback to

Let me know what you think - more polishing to come over the next few days…

I an unable to get the notifications thru my iPhone speaker. The little “bell” next to the Date and Time line has a slash thru it and I can’t get rid of it. I’m sure it is a user error, but I cannot figure it out

Hi Rick - did you tap that button to enable it? In rehearsal mode the notifications only get scheduled when you hit ‘Play’.

To hear them through the speaker, make sure do not disturb is off, silent mode is off and that the volume is turned up. Also, if you have an Apple Watch and the phone is locked, you won’t hear any sounds. I plan to document all this in detail, as there are a few things to check.

If it’s all set up correctly, and running, it should look something like this:

Let me know how you get on.

Also worth checking your notifications settings for TPE:

Thanks, Stephen! I checked ALL of that and the bell icon is still off. Please not that my screen shows “0 notifications scheduled” where yours shows 18. I’m obviously doing something wrong

PS. My map is at Mazatlan

Hi Rick - you need to tap the notifications bell icon to enable it before you hit play. (You can run the countdown without the notifications.)

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PS. I’ll add some text to make this clearer, e.g. “Tap to enable notifications” where it currently says “0 notifications schedule”

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Duh!! That was it! Thanks

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I see the date/time is getting truncated too - what phone model are you running? I’ll need to test on more screen sizes…

iPhone 14 Pro
Not the max

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I cleaned up the UI for notifications - it should clearer now when they need to be enabled. I’ll look at the text sizing issue this weekend.

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Testing now. One thing to note. The banner notifications MUST be set to Temporary. If set to Persistent, you will miss the callouts! FYI

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