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iPhone calendar syncing wrong event times from your Mac’s iCal?

iPhone calendar syncing wrong event times from your Mac's iCal?

It’s a somewhat common problem for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users to find events synced to their calendar application have the wrong start and end times when compared to the iCal versions on their Mac.

A few weeks ago I noticed some new appointments I entered in iCal on my Mac were not syncing correctly to my iPhone. One event I created for 11am was oddly showing itself as 2pm. And another later that day was displayed as 5pm instead of the 2pm entered in iCal. If I corrected the error on my iPhone and synced to my Mac again, now iCal would have the wrong start and end times. It was pretty frustrating, to say the least.

Upon further research, I discovered this is actually an issue many people with iOS devices experience. Surely there must have been a software glitch to blame for all these headaches, right? It turns out that wasn’t the case. Neither iCal on my Mac nor the calendar app on my iPhone were configured to handle time zones correctly. Here’s how I fixed the issues:

Configuring iCal on a Mac

Assuming you’re using a Mac and not a Windows PC, the first place to go is iCal preferences. Under the Advanced tab, is “Turn on time zone support” enabled? If not, check the box to enable it. Now in the upper-right corner of the iCal window you will see a drop-down box with the current time zone and an option to change it. Every time you move between time zones and work in iCal, it would be a good idea to make sure this setting is correct.

Change time zone in iCal

Configuring calendar on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

The most important part of solving this issue is changing your iOS device’s time zone settings. To do this, go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars and scroll to the bottom of the list until you find Time Zone Support. Tap this field, switch Time Zone Support to the on position, and select the correct time zone below.

Change time zone in iOS calendar

After completing these steps my iPhone no longer displayed wrong calendar event times and accurately synced with my Mac. The cause of all my troubles was that my Mac was set to Pacific time, while my iPhone was incorrectly set to Eastern time – hence the persistent 3-hour difference.

From what I can tell, calendar time zones on all devices need to be manually changed every time a user travels. If anyone knows a way to make it happen automatically, please share in the comments!

4 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

I find the Time Zone support on the iPhone to be a bit of a nuisance. Instead, whenever I first setup my iPhone, I disable Time Zone support. I also have it disabled on iCal on my MacBook Pro.

Any events/meetings I enter in iCal sync to my Google Calendar, then to my iPhone.

In situations where I enter a 1:00PM CST meeting on my iPhone while in CST, when I land in New York (EST), my 1:00PM CST meeting is immediately shown to start at 2:00PM EST on the iPhone.

I find my Mac works similarly if I update the Time Zone that I am in when traveling. Although I typically don’t worry about iCal, as my iPhone is always in my pocket and correctly reminds me about upcoming meetings/events at the previously selected Reminder interval, irrespective of my geographic location.

To be honest, I still haven’t found a reason to actually use Time Zone support. But for those of you confused by the use…

From the iPhone manual:

When Time Zone Support is on, Calendar displays event dates and times in the time
zone of the city you selected. When Time Zone Support is off, Calendar displays events
in the time zone of your current location as determined by the network time.

Since I travel regularly, the last thing I want is to miss a flight because my devices shuffled my schedule around. By leaving TZ support OFF, a 5:00PM CST flight departure shows up as a 6:00PM EST flight departure, and I get a reminder as I previously selected.

That works for me…

Time Zone fix did not work for me.

I also noticed if I hit the Today button, the list view went to today’s appointments, it just said it was a different day (2 days after the fact, which is worse than a day early like most people are reporting).

It is defintely an issue with iCloud! Settings – iCloud – calendar – off – Keep on My iPhone (different from above). This kept all my appointments and fixed the date issue immediately. I went back into Settings – iCloud and turned the Calendar back on. The dates remained correct!

Thank you!!! This was easy to understand and worked perfectly for me.

Thank you so much! This worked a charm and solved the timing issues for me.

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