iCal Time Zone Problems

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by LoneWolf121188, May 18, 2008.

  1. LoneWolf121188 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2007
    Longmont, CO
    OMG, sometimes I REALLY hate iCal. Its being too smart for its own good...so I disabled time zone support, because it was just screwing things up. My problem is that I go school in NY but live in CO. When I was in NY, I scheduled a whole bunch of stuff for the summer in mountain time (ie, if I had an appointment at 4PM mountain time, I put it in my iCal as 4PM while I was in NY). But now that I'm home, I switched my computer's clock to mountain time...and iCal shifted all the times by two hours accordingly. Is there a way to either a) stop it from doing that, or b) batch edit a bunch of events?
  2. redsteven macrumors 6502a


    Aug 22, 2006
    I don't know man, but I just wanted to chip in and say that I'm experiencing a similar problem.

    I live in New York and have an iMac and a Macbook Pro. Earlier this week I went to Nevada to see some family for a few days. The iMac of course stayed home; the MBP went with me.

    So while I'm in Nevada I change the time zone on my MBP to West Coast time (that's a three hours earlier from the west coast).
    I also added a few events to iCal while I was away.

    I come back to New York and change the timezone on my MBP back to East Coast time. Everything seems fine at first.

    But somewhere in between iCal syncing with the iMac, the macbook pro, and .mac , SOMETHING got screwed up with the MBP.

    Now everything on the MBP is three hours earlier.

    If I set an event for 5:00 on the MBP, then after a .mac sync, the iMac has the event time down as 8:00. If I then correct the time on my iMac to 5:00, then after syncing the MBP has the time down as 2:00.

    It's been a MAJOR pain for me.

    Your post got me thinking though... so I went to the preferences and enabled time zone support on the MBP. Everything's fixed now.

    I also enabled time zone support on the iMac, but that didn't change anything for better or for worse.

    I'm all good now... and my post probably hasn't helped you at all. Sorry.

    BTW, when you had time zone support enabled... did you make sure to check that you had the correct time zone set in iCal (in the upper right of the iCal window?)

    Also, (though this doesn't help right now), I highly recommend periodically backing up your iCal database.
    File menu -> Back up Database

    I have an "iCal backups" folder that I save it in every so often.
  3. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    yeah, I think I'd call this a bug. While I live in the same time-zone as I work and go to school in, during the daylight-savings time switch thing, I experienced the same problems, and ended up showing up an hour early (or was it last, I can't remember).
  4. mtfield macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2008
    my family is in ohio and i live in chicago... and i updated all my appointments when I was in ohio.. then when i got back to chicago i was late for everything! very bad... but this article really helped me understand how to use it to my advantage hope this helped http://www.macobserver.com/tip/2006/06/12.1.shtml
  5. bpelt macrumors newbie

    Oct 12, 2008
    North Oregon Coast
    re: iCal time zone problems

    You know, I have been looking through the Mac website forums and came across this guy just livid about this time zone issue. I thought, "Oh, I've dealt with that." But I remember I just decided to turn off the time zone support in iCal when bad things were happening. And at the time, I thought that just solved my problem.

    Upon further reading, I realized that he was saying the same thing that you guys are talking about here, but I didn't remember having this problem. But I am changing everything that I am doing, a lot so it is hard for me to know where the problem started or if I just didn't even notice after a fashion.

    I wonder, if this has anything to do with my Mobile Me integration? The weird thing is, is that I have time zone support turned off in both iCal and on Mobile Me and yet when I manually change the time as an experiment all times change in the iCal and the same on iPhone. Again, I swear I didn't see this happening before. This is a very messed up problem. The fact that there is no independence built in from all of the extras.

    I just want a plain calendar!!!
  6. Tigerator macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2008
    Quick hand workaround to fix iCal time zone shifts

    I faced this problem when moving from Beijing, where I created my calendars
    (importing several years of them from Palm Desktop), to Ottawa, where I normally work.
    Once you enter your events in one time zone, as soon as you change to another time
    zone everything shifts whether Time Zones are turned on or not.

    The result is that you have to turn on Time Zones and leave your calendar set to the
    original time zone if you want previously entered things to remain in their proper slots.
    This has other problems of course.

    If all else fails, you can normalize the situation using a little hand-editing.
    Here's how it works.

    0. Back up your iCal database using File->Back up Database...

    1. With Time Zones turned on in iCal, set your global time zone
    (upper right corner of iCal window) to your current timezone (e.g., Canada/Eastern).
    Don't worry when everything moves.

    2. Export each of your calendars to iCal files on your Desktop, using
    File->Export->iCal. Quit iCal.

    3. Open all of the iCal files on your Desktop at once as text files by
    drag-and-dropping them onto Text Edit.

    4. Open the Text Edit search dialogue Edit->Find->Find...

    5. In the "Find:" box, enter the old time zone you are moving from
    (e.g. "Asia/Shanghai" in my case). In the "Replace:" box, enter the new time
    zone you are moving to (e.g., "Canada/Eastern" in my case).

    6. Click "Replace All". Do not close the find dialogue.

    7. Save and close the iCal file you are editing.
    The next of your calendars will then be the foreground text document.

    8. Repeat Steps 6 and 7 until all your calendars are done.

    9. Open iCal. Do NOT delete your old calendars.

    10. Import each of your edited iCal files using File->Import.
    Choose "New Calendar" when it asks which calendar to import to.
    The edited calendar will be imported using its original name with a "2" on the end,
    for example "Personal 2" for a calendar originally named "Personal".
    All events in this new calendar should be at the right time in your current time zone.

    11. Delete each of the original old calendars by selecting them in the
    Calendars frame and hitting the Delete key.

    12. Rename and recolor your new calendars to remove the "2" at the end of each.

    13. Back up your new iCal database to a different file from your backup 0 above.

    Hope this helps some of you.
  7. ubercool macrumors 6502a


    Jan 31, 2008
    Las Vegas
    Wow! I just moved from the West Coast to Atlanta. You mean I have to do this to avoid the calendar changing all dates and times? How insane!!!! :eek: :rolleyes:
  8. solista73 macrumors newbie


    Jul 25, 2009
    Thank you Tigerator!

    I haven't tried yet but your solution seems to be the perfect one...
    What I really HATE is that when you change timezone it automatically changes all the events in the past. It screwed up my WHOLE schedule, all my flights, appointments, memories, for many many years in the past and there is not an undo button to go back!!!!
    It should at least give the option to change only future events or all the calendar. I'm gonna see if I can drop a suggestion to Apple, I think we should all do it, iCal needs a big improvement for timezone managing.
  9. John B macrumors newbie

    Aug 30, 2010
    This just proves that Macs aren't business tools...

    My work takes me to different European/Asian/US time zones at least once a week.

    Does Apple REALLY think that I can use my iPhone/PB effectively to enter flights or schedule meetings the way they've got their software set up? Haven't they gone through the use cases of people who need to schedule a conference call in a different location without actually physically moving there and resetting the time zone in iCal?

    And I'm not talking about Intl Date Line complexities, such as leaving New Zealand in the afternoon and getting to LAX on the morning of the same day.

    Just normal business activities

    My Palm PDA used to let me select a time zone for any activity. Just how difficult can it be?
  10. spgggm macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2010
    timezone support

    i have fought with this issue.

    the problem for me, as i see it, is that iCal does not allow you to have timezone support turned on, but have "floating" as the default "timezone".

    only occasionally is it important to me what timezone something is happening in. a phone conference call is a typical example. and then, i *want* timezone support and i want to be able to specify a timezone.

    but 99.8% of the time, i want "floating". i've gotten to the point where i try to remember to enter "floating" for most things i add, but that's a hassle, and i'm likely to forget it.

    so, what i really want is be able to choose "floating" as the default timezone.

    my 2c.
  11. ubercool macrumors 6502a


    Jan 31, 2008
    Las Vegas
    Yes, I noticed this has gotten more complicated with the release of iOS 4.0, which I finally upgraded to in Sept. While older versions would simply use the time set in the calendar, which I had, for example, set at 10a for 10a meeting in another timezone, it suddenly converted the time set to the local timezone.

    So now I have to actually think what time the appointment is in the Pacific timezone and then enter it at that time, a big hassle.

    Had to turn on time-zone support in both iCal and on the iPhone to get this to work right to. A royal pain but I guess this is the "right" way of doing this, since the system before was technically incorrect. :rolleyes:

    How does "floating" work? :confused:
  12. Le Big Mac macrumors 68030

    Le Big Mac

    Jan 7, 2003
    Washington, DC
    What would be better is if "time zone support" meant actual support for time zones, as in Outlook/Exchange. I.e., you have a default time zone, but can set the time zone for any appointment to some other place as appropriate. Then when you switch time zones everything adjusts in the display but still is fixed to the appropriate UTC.
  13. marciohumpris macrumors member

    Jan 11, 2011
    Hi, everyone

    I have the same issue. Isnt there a way for us to suggest this to Apple? The default to be FLOATING or to auto grab timezone from system?

    Also, how do I edit the time zones I defined in upper right of ical where I can select timezone I desire?

    Can I add a timezone with a different name, instead of some other city/country I wanna inform something like "my city - DST time" for example...

  14. ubercool macrumors 6502a


    Jan 31, 2008
    Las Vegas
    Here's how I think I have it working right, but this only produces correct results on an iPhone or 3G iPad that automatically adjust to local time (so if you're abroad, only the iPhone will work, not the iPad because the iPhone uses the cell network to log in for receiving text messages, the iPad is typically out of luck, unless you turn on roaming support).

    Use your own base timezone, but mine is Pacific Time:

    MacBook Pro iCal Preferences: Turn on timezone support (check)
    Zone pop-up: Pacific Time (Your timezone)
    When scheduling appointments in a different timezone, use the timezone it is being scheduled in from the pop-up menu.

    iPhone/iPad Calendars Settings
    Time Zone Support: On
    Time Zone: Las Vegas (Your timezone)

    Your iPhone and iPad (only in the U.S.) will now correctly alert you to the appointment, but your MacBook will not work correctly, unless you change the timezone to the local timezone, which I usually don't.

    Hope this helps but it's a huge hassle that's for sure. Before, I use to be able to simply ignore the time zone and set the appts as if it was in my own timezone and the iPhone would alert me at the right time, but then something changed and it no longer worked correctly. :rolleyes:
  15. MovingWater macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2010
    Can I suggest to take a look at BusyCal from busymac.com? I use time zones in BusyCal without issues. In BusyCal, in the "Info Panel Preferences", set "Start time zone" and "End time zone" to be shown and you can then specify the time zone an event is for, including floating. BusyCal uses the same database as iCal. It might be easier to import using BusyCal than iCal. Their forum is http://groups.google.com/group/busymac -- maybe someone there has done what you need.
  16. ubercool macrumors 6502a


    Jan 31, 2008
    Las Vegas
    I know that the minute I pop $50 for BusyCal, Apple will fix it in Lion, so I'll just hold off a little while longer. I already have BusySynch so I have Google Calendar synching, which is all I really need. :p
  17. MovingWater macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2010
  18. ubercool macrumors 6502a


    Jan 31, 2008
    Las Vegas
  19. marciohumpris macrumors member

    Jan 11, 2011
    Thanks, guys!

    But does anyone know, how do I edit the time zones I defined in upper right of ical where I can select timezone I desire? I mean the name of the time zone, it has to be one of the pre-defined ones? Can I add a timezone with a different name, instead of some other city/country I wanna inform something like "my city - DST time" for example...

    Also how do I clear what I already put there?

    So you guys think Apple will change this to support floating events? Where can we suggest this to them? :)

  20. spencertherover macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2008
    Would you also like to change the names of the months and days of the week? Firstday, Secondday, Middleweek, Anotherday, Yeayday, Sportsday, Restday?

    Timezones are internationally recognised and therefore there is no need to rename then. I live in Zurich but travel weekly to the West and East and have no problem with Ical timezone support. It works correctly both on my MBA and Iphone.
    This whole thread is unfortunately user error and not a software issue.
  21. marciohumpris macrumors member

    Jan 11, 2011
    What I mean is the pulldown menu where you choose the timezone, it has static names, was just wondering if I could customize it. For example there isnt the time zone for my country with DST. So I have to choose my country without DST and some other country which uses same time zone as my country with DST.

    All I wanted was to rename the label of the time zone in upper right menu. And how to clear that menu completely.

    From what I read in this thread, if iCAL had a feature to auto adjust timezone, it would be solved. Seems like a SW issue, actually.

  22. redsteven macrumors 6502a


    Aug 22, 2006
    I nominate this thread for most resurrections EVER

    May '08 --> october '08 --> october '09 --> august '10 --> october '10 --> march '11

    That's 5 resurrections (counting the august-october one because it was a full ~60 days)

  23. rossclark macrumors newbie

    Nov 3, 2011
    Surrey UK
    Another Resurrection! Problems not solved

    I've just returned from an appointment where I arrived an hour early. In Spain last week [GMT +1hr] I made an appointment using my iPhone and Calendar for 12:30 today in UK. Spain's Daylight Saving Time [+1hr] ended on Sunday morning, [as did UK's]. I came back to UK on Monday and - as I have just discovered - the appointment was automatically switched by iCal from 12:30 to 11:30.
    So, after 3+ years of this thread Apple have not solved this problem. Worse still for them, they haven't even managed to SELL me anything to solve it!
  24. PaperQueen macrumors 6502


    Aug 16, 2007
    Just this side of insanity (Minneapolis)
    Time to resurrect the thread again.

    In my case, I live in Minneapolis, but travel all time zones for work. Twice in the past two weeks, I've nearly missed flights from EST locations because iCal is adjusting for time zones, through iCloud.

    If a flight is entered on my iPhone while standing in one time zone, it hits both computers back home with another.

    If TripIt posts flights to my iCal in the office, iCloud/iCal adjust it on my phone to whatever time zone I'm standing in at the moment (which isn't the correct departure time).

    Anyone know how to fix this mess? (Hope the bump helps kick start the discussion.)
  25. frido macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2007
    It works, but needs more features.

    I've been using iCal since its inception for all of my diary needs. This is the only way it works for me:

    - Understand the difference between the time zone of the event and the time zone you're viewing your calendar.

    - Turn on time zone support in iCal and iOS.

    - Enter each event with the correct timezone according to where it's happening. Here's how: In iCal, you set the event time zones in the drop-down menus in the event editor panel (provided you've set time zone support on in the prefs). In iOS, you can only enter the correct times according to the time zone you've selected in Preferences>Mail, Contacts, Calendars>Time Zone Support.

    - Make sure you view the events according to the time zone you're in. iCal allows you to select the viewing time zone in the top right corner drop-down. In iOS, it's the above mentioned preference.

    Ok, there's been talk about missing flights, so let's use flights as an example:

    Say I live in Miami and I'm planning a trip to Paris. So I enter my restaurant reservation in iCal for 9pm on the 20th, but in the Central European time zone! As iCal still displays events by Eastern Time, it appears 6 hours earlier, 3pm, in the day/week views. Don't let this confuse you, it shows up fine in the event editor alongside the correct time zone. Once I get to Paris, or maybe during the flight, I change the drop-down menu to show Central European Time. And bingo, it all makes sense while I'm in France.

    But, here's the real bummer, and this is where iCal is missing a feature. Start and end time timezones! Say I want to enter my flight. Outbound leg Miami to Paris. Departure 2000h (8pm), arrival 0700h (9am) the next day. I enter the departure as 8pm Miami time, then what? I have to adjust the arrival manually, so I enter 1am (Miami) as my arrival time. It makes sense when I switch the display time zone in France. But I shouldn't have to do this. How can iCal not have separate time zone selectors for start and end times of events? Anybody who travels across time zones has this problem, be it by plane, train, helicopter, ocean liner!!!! Busycal has this feature, why not iCal???!!! The above method AFAIK is the only way the sync across iOS devices and OSX works properly and consistently, so start and end time zones should be a basic feature both in iCal an iOS Calendar. Please, everybody, send iCal feedback to Apple requesting this. Feel free to also ask for timezone selection when entering events in iOS Calendar. As I couldn't find specific iOS Calendar feedback forms, I would suggest the iPhone and the iPad ones.

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