If you are dealing with files, you might wonder what the difference is between
mtime, or modification time, is when the file was last modified. When you change the contents of a file, its mtime changes.
ctime, or change time, is when the file’s property changes. It will always be changed when the mtime changes, but also when you change the file’s permissions, name or location.
atime, or access time, is updated when the file’s contents are read by an application or a command such as
The easiest way to remember which is which is to read their alphabetical order:
Atimecan be updated alone
Mtimewill update both