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Upgrade to MobileMe Calendar by 5 May 2011

Apple has announced that all MobileMe members must upgrade to the new CalDAV-based MobileMe Calendar by 5 May 2011. It’s clear from Apple’s statement below that if you don’t upgrade manually (Apple won’t do it for you), you’ll lose syncing of events between your devices along with the ability to see your calendars on the Web site.

On May 5, 2011, MobileMe will transition completely to the new Calendar service that we launched in October. The new MobileMe Calendar includes calendar sharing, invitations, and a new Calendar web application. To maintain calendar syncing between your devices and to continue accessing your calendar at, you must upgrade to the new Calendar by May 5, 2011.

In general, the new MobileMe Calendar is a good thing, using the CalDAV standard and providing push updates to calendars made from any connected device, read-write calendar sharing for family and friends, calendar publishing for groups, and event invitations with RSVPs. It’s accessible via iCal, in the Calendar app of iOS devices running iOS 4.2.1 or later, via the Web site, and through some independent calendaring apps, like BusyMac’s BusyCal and Chronos’s just-released SOHO Organizer 9.

For most people, upgrading to the new MobileMe Calendar shouldn’t be a major fuss, and Apple has a MobileMe Calendar FAQ that provides links to instructions and covers most of the issues. However, there are some situations that require additional thought and effort ahead of time, and some people have had trouble that requires help from Apple.

First Things First -- Before you read any further or do anything, first back up all your calendars from iCal by selecting each one in turn and choosing File > Export > Export. That way, even if things go horribly wrong, you can at least tear everything down and start from scratch if necessary. There are other methods of backing up, but they may not work; this is what Apple recommends.

Also beware that any files you have attached to events in iCal will be removed from your events automatically, and you can’t attach files to events going forward. I suspect most people never attached files to events, but those who did should consider leaving existing calendars local (in the “On My Mac” category in iCal) and starting new calendars in MobileMe for sharing and syncing.

Finally, repeating events that cross Daylight Saving Time boundaries will reportedly have their times changed by an hour. There appears to be no workaround for this, so you’ll have to check manually after upgrading. It’s apparently best to fix such problems via MobileMe’s Web interface, probably because that’s the master copy of the data.

Use Appropriate Software -- Next, make sure you’re using the appropriate software. For the Mac, that means Mac OS X 10.6.4 Snow Leopard (or later). Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard also works, but with limitations, including the lack of push updates, the capability to share and accept shared calendars in iCal, and subscribed calendar syncing.

For iOS devices, Apple says you need iOS 4.2.1 or later, which automatically knocks the original iPhone and first-generation iPod touch off the MobileMe calendar bandwagon. For those devices, you’ll need to sync calendars and contacts via iTunes (select Sync Address Book Contacts and Sync iCal Calendars in the Info tab of a selected device in iTunes). Commenter MetalSamurai has noted that iOS 3.1.3 will actually work, but you’ll have to jump through hoops, including setting up a separate CalDAV account.

Windows users need at least MobileMe Control Panel 1.6.4, either Outlook 2007 or 2010 (32-bit), and iTunes 10. I don’t know if there are any gotchas with running those versions on standard Windows installations.

Using BusyCal -- If you, like us, relied on BusyCal for calendar sharing among a family or small workgroup before the MobileMe Calendar transition, you’ll need to run through a simple set of steps to upgrade to the new MobileMe Calendar and maintain your BusyCal calendars. If you’re using BusyMac’s older BusySync software, it can provide read-only access to the new MobileMe Calendar, making an upgrade to BusyCal the best option, although BusyMac has instructions for using BusySync in read-only mode with MobileMe as well.

Upgrading to the new MobileMe Calendar with BusyCal does require a change in how you share calendars. As BusyMac notes in a blog post, you’ll need to switch your LAN syncing (sharing from within BusyCal itself to other Macs running BusyCal on your local network) to cloud syncing (where your calendars are hosted on MobileMe or Google Calendar). Plus, since Google Calendar subscriptions won’t sync to both MobileMe and iOS devices, accessing calendars hosted on Google Calendar from an iOS devices requires syncing directly with Google Calendar. Again, BusyMac has instructions.

I was able to upgrade to the new MobileMe Calendar and set up BusyCal with no major problems, although I did have to juggle some files around, given that my BusyCal server was running on a Power Mac G5 under Leopard, so I couldn’t complete the upgrade within iCal on that Mac. I worked around the problem by moving my BusyCal backup file to my Mac Pro under Snow Leopard and performing the upgrade there. It’s also possible to export individual calendar files from BusyCal before the upgrade, perform the upgrade, create new calendars on MobileMe, and then import the exported calendars into the new MobileMe calendars.

Of course, the downside of the MobileMe Calendar is that everyone who wants to sync multiple devices needs their own MobileMe account, which may not be practical in a large workgroup. For such situations, it might make more sense to avoid MobileMe entirely and rely instead on a solution like Google Calendar. BusyMac also mentions using iCal Server (part of Mac OS X Server) and Kerio Connect.

I suspect there are additional questions and concerns that people may have with regard to Apple’s forced upgrade to the new MobileMe Calendar. If there’s something that’s not covered by Apple’s MobileMe Calendar FAQ, BusyMac’s instructions, or this article, leave a note in the comments, and I’ll see what I can figure out.


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Comments about Upgrade to MobileMe Calendar by 5 May 2011
(Comments are closed.)

odysseus  2011-03-03 19:25
"For most people, upgrading to the new MobileMe Calendar shouldn’t be a major fuss"

Not a major fuss? It requires OS X 10.6.4 minimum, right, and iOS 4.2.1, doesn't it? My wife happens to have an original iPhone (thus no iOS 4 for her), and she uses a PowerBook G4 (thus no Snow Leopard for her).

It's a major fuss for us. I've never understood such extreme hardware/software requirements for what is basically a CalDAV server. We're probably going to have to switch to Google for our shared calendars.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-03 19:30
No argument that it's going to be a fuss for you and your wife, with an iPhone that could nearly 4 years old and a Mac that's probably at least 6 years old. That's why I was so clear about the system requirements.

Google Calendar will work fine for you; I've used it with BusyCal with no problem other than having people edit events while being in different time zones.

But it's safe to say that most iPhone users are using iOS 4.2.1 (since most iPhones sold aren't the original model), and I suspect that most MobileMe users are using Intel-based Macs running Snow Leopard at this point.
I'd say there are quite a few 10.5 MobileMe users out there. Why upgrade to 10.6 if you didn't have to? Still too many bugs to be worked out in 10.6 or with some apps and 10.6.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-04 13:54
There's no arguing with "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," but in general, Snow Leopard is an improvement on Leopard - there are fewer bugs in Snow Leopard and modern apps, and since both are being upgrade, those bugs can be fixed, whereas the bugs still in Leopard and older apps are guaranteed to be there forever.

No one's saying you have to upgrade (unless you want to keep being able to run new software), but newer versions of software generally do get better, especially over time (and we've now had six updates to Snow Leopard, such that the bugs being fixed now are really tiny).
trippp  2011-03-08 17:21
I too would add that there are probably numerous Leopard systems out there. The G5 powermac is a great computer. I recently bought a new Mac Pro and it is only marginally faster than my girlfriends G5. Why should she have to pay several thousand dollars to get a service that we thought we already paid for and that they (Apple) have made obsolete through an arbitrary decision. We don't have or need any of these other iOS cash cows that Apple has deemed more important than our computers.

We would love to run Snow Leopard on the G5, but Apple won't let us.
Glenn Fleishman  2011-03-08 18:10
By what measure is it marginally faster? I've owned successive desktop Macs for years, including multiple G3s and G4s, skipped G5, and have had a Mac Pro for a couple of years. I can't even compare the performance of the Mac Pro for responsiveness and processing (especially in graphic design programs and even Web page display) to the G5.

Maybe you need more memory?
trippp  2011-03-09 18:36
Perhaps if you had not skipped the G5 you might know just how fast they are. And yes, mine is faster, but not that much faster. In case you hadn't noticed processor speeds hit a wall a few years back and the Mac Pro is only about 25% faster in clock speed for the same number of processors. And yes, newer graphics programs would also boost her speed. And several other bumps could be made. Memory and Hard drive But each of these cost more money. It seems a shame (shame on Apple) to have to spend four or five thousand dollars just to keep a service we already paid for on avery serviceable computer.

Just for the record our very subjective test was to put her system on my Mac Pro and let her use that for a month so she could get a feel if it might be worth the cash. The verdict was that it was not fast enough to warrant the out lay of several thousand dollars at this time.
Jeff Carlson  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-09 19:24
If you moved her G5 software to the Mac Pro, wouldn't everything be throttled because it's running through Rosetta?
trippp  2011-03-09 22:28
Probably, of course, but that again brings up the issue of spending more money. Upgrading to CS5 takes to much cash considering it only gets used a few hours a week. And that is just the beginning of the list. And with most of the usual mundane text stuff there was almost no benefit to the MacPro.It still boils down to being forced to spend money to keep something we already paid for.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-09 20:03
For my main Mac, I moved from a Power Mac G5 to a Mac Pro several years ago, and it felt like a significant improvement to me.

It's always hard to see a perfectly serviceable Mac cease to be able to keep up with current software and capabilities, but I can't see that changing, since the tech industry relies on the constant upgrade cycle, part of which means shedding backward compatibility to save dev and testing costs and to encourage upgrades.
But yet Windoze XP IS supported!? Hmmm...
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-04 13:20
It's more that all that's required are the MobileMe Control Panel and an older version of Outlook, I suspect, so compatibility with Windows XP is merely a side effect.
Mark W  2011-03-03 20:16
It also is a big deal for anybody running third-party synch software that requires access through Apple Synch, like Mark/Space's Missing Sync line, until the vendor adapts their software to use CalDAV instead (if they ever do).
I've have calendar entries going back 10+ years in my calendar and have heard reports that only 6 months of entries are converted. If this is true and losing that history is not an option, what are the options?
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-03 21:36
Two thoughts. First, I'm not entirely certain that MobileMe will delete events older than 6 months. When you're converting very large calendars, it takes a while for that to happen, and it goes from the newest backwards. So if you convert a large calendar and check in quickly, it will likely appear as though the events are lost, whereas they may still be converting.

That said, I can't rule out the loss of older events. So what I'd do is export calendars containing old events, change their names to something like "Home (Archived)" and then reimport them into iCal locally, without putting them on MobileMe.

That way, you can still access and search those old events; you're just not sharing them (which is less likely to be necessary).
Alarik Skarstrom  2011-03-03 23:07

Your second paragraph's suggestion offers some reassurance. Question: If I reimport an archived calendar into iCal won't that (also) be uploaded to the Apple server? And thus be subject to potential loss?

Second question: My initial impression was that the data, the user's data, would no longer be "on" his/her own machine but only on Apple's server. Is that wrong? Will the calendar data (going back years, to old versions of Now Up-to-Date!) still be on my computer?

Third question/observation. The reason why I haven't upgraded my iCal app on MobileMe was simple. There were huge problems, it seemed, with lost data. The Apple forums were rife with angry users and attempted/failed solutions. I haven't checked back recently, but the fulmination was as intense as any I've ever seen. Apple did little to make the "cloud" seem trustworthy.

By the way, this is a very elegant comment system, the colors, the windows that pop up, etc. Congratulations.


Michael Cohen  2011-03-04 00:53
As I understand it, the data is on your computer. However, it is a local copy: the master calendar, if you will, is on the server. This is a different paradigm than the old method, where each computer was the master, and the various computers and devices involved had to fight, via the Sync Engine, over which master was right, using the Conflict Resolver. Conflicts can still arise, of course, in the new paradigm, but now there is only one "Truth" database against which local copies have to align themselves instead of multiple Truth databases.
Gary F Heurich  2011-03-04 00:58
Alarik raises 3 excellent questions/issues, Adam, I hope you will address those.

And, let me add my own woes of lost calendar data, courtesy of MobileMe.

I've been meaning to contact Apple to gain their help in restoring from my Time Capsule calendar events that were lost during a sync issue a few months ago.

Interestingly, seemingly not whole swaths of time were lost (e.g. every event from January to March of last year), but an as yet undefined to me selection of events.

Should I still attempt to restore these with Apple support, of is this required upgrade going to make it all a moot point?

Thanks for your time, Gary
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-07 22:09
Honestly, Gary, unless those events are critical to your business (documenting key business transactions) or of great sentimental value (the record of your first dates with the love of your life), I'd let it go.

Life's too short to spend significant amounts of time and effort recovering metadata about the past.
That said, the upgrade to the new MobileMe is likely unrelated - I doubt it will magically recover your lost events, and I equally doubt it will lose more.

But make backups, just in case!
Adam, what a condescending way to answer a reader's concerns! Clearly Gary did make backups using timemachine. Second, calendar entries are not merely metadata. They are data, like letters you wrote years ago. On occasion the INS or IRS may even require you to report years' worth of international travel dates, or you might want to find out when it was that a friend visited last. Whatever the reason, Apple is not serving its customers by messing with their filed data. And you are not serving your readers by dismissing their comments or questions and telling them 'get a life'. Frankly, I am appalled.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-07 23:12
I think you're reading into what I wrote. For most people, in most situations, past calendar events are uninteresting. For instance, I don't care that I had an event on the calendar to pick up Tristan after school on October 10th, 2004. In an ideal world, I'd retain that forever, but if it gets lost for reasons beyond my control, it's not worth any effort to recover.

My advice to Gary was that if his data is NOT special in some way, that he let it go. Obviously, if it is special, then yes, he should contact Apple and put significant effort into recovering it, but since he's been putting it off for months already, my suspicion is that the data isn't that important.

I am not being harsh or telling anyone to "get a life." I'm just stating that different data has different levels of importance, and lost data that someone hasn't tried to recover for several months probably isn't sufficiently important to put much effort into.
jcerro  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2011-04-05 09:17
Fair enough, but it's also worth mentioning that, for many people, calendar entries are important business records. I like iCal, but, given uncertainty about its syncing reliability and how upgrades are managed, it may not be appropriate to use it (and Mobile Me) for business purposes.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-04 13:26
Glad you like our TidBITS Commenting System, Alarik!

You can reimport an archived calendar into a local calendar in the On My Mac collection, which isn't synced to MobileMe. So that avoids any problems (but doesn't have any syncing or sharing capabilities).

The data in calendars in the collection is indeed stored on MobileMe's CalDAV server, and synced down to your Mac. So the "master" copy is MobileMe, and each device that syncs it is a "client," as I understand it.

I totally understand your hesitation based on the early complaints. I hope Apple has been resolving those sorts of things behind the scenes (which is where everything happens with MobileMe). But talking to people like BusyMac has improved my opinion of the service; they've become more positive.

And, of course, the simple fact is that this isn't a democracy - Apple's making the switch and we don't get to vote, except with our feet. :-(
Alarik Skarstrom  2011-03-04 17:48
Adam, thank you.

I'll have to take some time absorbing what has been said here. What Michael, above, calls the "Truth" database and you the "master" (publishing terminology?) raises this question. What if the master, on the CalDAV server, is rendered false by the masters? My client/slave, after all, is or was the true one--a poor thing but mine owne. So the sync propagates itself and the error?

Long-term, the problem is this. In the old days, such as now, the operating system and the data files were separate. Something goes wrong, I can reinstall the operating system and my files are still there, apart. Everything changes with the cloud, so called. The operating system (the other's) and the data files (mine) merge. The other's failure is my loss. I can't reinstall the other's system. This puts us at the mercy of the cloud's masters.

Here, on the one hand, are my books. There, on the other, the Dewey decimal system. Abolish that system, I still have my books. In the cloud?

Thanks! A
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-04 18:04
The truth database is, I believe, a thing of the past with the new MobileMe Calendar. Previously, with Sync Services, it mediated changes among multiple devices that were all peers.

With the new CalDAV-based MobileMe Calendar, the copy on MobileMe is always the master copy, and it mediates between devices that sync to it.

I don't think there's any difference with the separation between OS and data files; it's just that the data files are in an Internet-based storage location (and thus probably backed up and maintained better than most people do locally). You do lose some perception of control, but for most people it was merely an illusion of control anyway, since they lack the expertise to understand the system deeply enough.
Thank you for the comment. By "sharing" do you mean with others or amongst MacBooks and iOS devices. If it the former, no big deal but the latter is a big deal as that is the whole reason to sync calendars. Can calendars still be synced to an iOS device via a USB local sync.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-04 13:57
If you want to share calendars between Macs or with other people, you'll need to use MobileMe (or BusyCal, with or without MobileMe). With iOS devices, you don't have to use MobileMe, since you can still sync calendars via iTunes and a USB-based sync (or you could use Google Calendar and Google's syncing solution, again with BusyCal on your Mac). But with a USB-based sync, you lose push updates.
Dana Claudette  2011-04-13 16:44
Like kesj and Alarik, I have many calendars (14) spanning over 10 years. I have never been a MobileMe user but just signed up now that I have an iPad to sync with my iMac and iPod Touch (too many cable syncs)!

I spent 2 hours with an Apple "Genius" today only to get stuck in the process of importing the largest (first) calendar into MobileMe after successfully exporting all 14 to the desktop. It was taking TOO long and I had to leave. Also, I really don't NEED or WANT all that data in the Cloud. Keeping it local is ideal.

I want to follow your suggestion of archiving the old data and only uploading more recent calendar data to MobileMe. I've read this post several times, but feel like I need more detailed instructions. When in the process do I upload to MobileMe? Do I rename the calendar when I export it? Shouldn't I delete old data from one of the copies before uploading to MobileMe? etc.

Obviously, if I've saved this much calendar data for so long, I'm nervous about losing it. Thx
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-04-13 17:43
It's a little hard to give exact steps without seeing your setup in person, but the most important thing is that you have exported copies of each of your calendars as files on your Mac. If that's true, no matter what happens with MobileMe, you can reimport the calendars into local calendars.
Dana Claudette  2011-04-16 20:21
I imported all my calendars into MobileMe with what I thought were no problems. Now I'm noticing extra alerts that were not there before.

If the event had no alert on it, it has a "15 min prior" alert now. If it already had an alert, it has an ADDITIONAL "15 min prior" alert as well.

Do you think this is because MobileMe had the "add default alert to new events" turned on when I imported? Or because iCal had that setting on as well?

Should I scrap MobileMe calendars and reimport with those settings off (any way to know which one?) or is there a way to turn off the "new" unwanted alerts en masse?

Michael Cohen  2011-03-04 00:58
I think these are just rumors. Why? Because I converted my calendars months ago, and I have events going back many years that are still there. What IS true is that when you convert it does take some time before all of the older events appear, but they eventually do.

However, to be fair, stories of data loss are not "rumors": a small number of users HAVE lost data because of various issues. The "rumor" is that the new system ONLY converts events for the past six months.
Flash Sheridan  2011-03-04 19:41
Yes, I can confirm as well that events even further back than six months (the introduction of the Newton, in my case, though with time zone problems) get converted, if you’re lucky. But do be careful, even of things that Apple actually intended, e.g., “MobileMe: How to back up calendar data using the new MobileMe Calendar: Important: Do not rely on traditional methods for backing up calendar data”

(My whole sordid and messy story is at
It is a pity that my otherwise fully functional smartphone running Palm OS (remember that one?) is now Calender-less, with no way to sync it to my Mac anymore....
Forced obsolescence is a bit opposed to Apple's drive to more sustainably built hardware, I think...
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-03 21:57
Can you use The Missing Sync for Palm OS?
Nope, that uses the iSync engine, which has been bypassed for calendars with the new MobileMe...
Mark W  2011-03-04 09:18
And they don't plan to fix it, because Palm OS is an orphan.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-04 13:34
So you do want to use MobileMe for calendar sharing, but also want to sync to your Palm OS smartphone?

I'm just brainstorming here, but I wonder if there might be a way to use BusyCal to get the calendar from MobileMe and sync it up to Google Calendar on one Mac, then sync it down to BusyCal on another Mac and use The Missing Sync to sync it to your phone there.

Crazy, and probably wouldn't work, but sometimes you have to think out of the box with unsupported hardware.
Or perhaps try using Spanning Sync to bridge between Google Calendar and local iCal calendar?
It's going to be a bummer for me, too. I'm on OS 10.6.6, but using an original iPhone. My wife has a 3GS, but her black MacBook is on 10.5. My son has a new iPod Touch, but 'his' laptop is a G4 too.

System Prefs says I've been a iTools/ DotMac/ MobileMe customer since February 23, 2000 but iCal and MobileMe are going to be pretty disappointed soon.

P.S. "Pipe" character causes CR+LF in comments?
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-04 13:35
Sounds like Google Calendar is in your future. :-(

It does look like pipes are turned into returns - I'll report that to Glenn as a bug.
Paul Joynes  2011-03-04 06:01
So I moved my calendar to the new MobileMe type earlier this week and thought there were no issues but I have just noticed a major snag. The lions share of my calendars moved from "On My Mac" to my mobile me account which is fine except that I no longer have access to any of the attached files that were linked to the calendar events. I have 3 years of bill payment history that has just evaporated and am unsure about how to get this back.

Does anyone know how to get this info back by moving the calendars off of MobileMe and back onto the local machine or using my TimeMachine backup? Any help would be appreciated.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-04 13:39
Oh, that's an interesting gotcha. The only solution I can think of is to revert to a Time Machine backup of your calendar before the MobileMe upgrade, and then to keep that as an On My Mac calendar rather than one synced to MobileMe.

I'd also ask if it's worth the effort, purely because I worry it will be a complex and time-consuming task that's likely to be error-prone.

I don't know how attached files worked before or how they work now, but I'll look into it.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-07 22:18
I've looked into this now, and attached files are simply not supported. I've updated the article to note this.
jcerro  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2011-04-05 09:55
This is one of the things that drives me nuts about Apple and why I really can't trust it for business services. There is no mention of the attachment issue on Apple's calendar upgrade FAQ page or on its calendar upgrade troubleshooting page. Almost every other vendor of this type of software will beat you over the head with a "READ THIS BEFORE UPGRADING" document that goes into a detailed list of changes and gotchas -- particularly if something intentionally deletes existing data. Even though this particular glitch didn't affect me, it is inexcusable that such things are not highlighted, front-and-center, rather than scattered around in individual knowledgebase articles.
Damon Casey  2011-03-04 07:42
I've just updated to the new calendar and iCal shows duplicate entries for everything because of the new ME.COM calendars and ON MY MAC calendars. It's not clear which of these I should use for adding appointments. If using the ME.COM calendars, what happens when you have no Internet access? The other issue is that all the entries in the ME.COM calendars are an hour earlier than they should be. I'm in the UK on GMT.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-04 13:43
If you really have duplicates, you should turn off (uncheck) the ON MY MAC calendars right now so they don't display, and then use the ME.COM calendars going forward. Once you're certain everything is working properly, you can just delete the ON MY MAC versions (Control-click them and choose Delete).

As far as the time zone goes, there's a Turn On Time Zone Support in iCal's Advanced prefs that might help. Also make sure the time zone in the Date & Time preference pane in System Preferences is right (along with any daylight saving time settings).
jcerro  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2011-04-05 09:52
Apple has a knowledgebase article about resolving duplicate entries at Unfortunately, I followed the procedure, and, when I finished, what seemed to have happened was that Mobile Me blew away all of the calendar entries on my computer, including ones that weren't duplicates. Bizarrely, they didn't disappear until about a day after I went through the procedure. I exported the calendar before I did anything, so I do have a backup of the information, but I simply don't trust MobileMe any more.
MetalSamurai  2011-03-07 15:06
There seems to be some misinformation and confusion here

Firstly if you went through every step of the upgrade process you will no longer have any "On My Mac" calendars log back in to to complete the upgrade.
You shouldn't *need* iOS 4; an original iPhone with 3.1.3 is perfectly capable of using CalDAV calendars, just not automatically configured as part of your MobileMe account. You'll need to get the URL from iCal (or follow the Mac OS X 10.5 instructions) and set up a separate CalDAV account.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-04 21:02
That's interesting - I wonder why Apple gives iOS 4.2.1 as the required version if it could work in 3.1.3?

As far as the On My Mac calendars, yes, now that you mention it, you're right. My upgrade was a bit unusual because of BusyCal and moving things from another Mac so that comment didn't raise any flags for me.

That said, my response about being able to delete them after verifying that the data is on MobileMe is still valid, I believe.
MetalSamurai  2011-03-07 15:06
I assume it's the confusion factor. Your MobileMe data would be stored across 2 accounts in iOS 3.1.3: one for calendars, one for everything else (and must have calendars turned off to avoid problems).

Also also, once you've converted you calendars to CalDAV you *can't* use iTunes to sync them - iTunes will only sync On My Mac calendars.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-07 22:47
Curious. I plugged in an old iPod touch, and the Info tab in iTunes certainly was going to let me select calendars located on MobileMe. I couldn't easily go through with sync to see if it would really work, though, given that my Mac wasn't the sync host for this iPod.
MetalSamurai  2011-03-04 19:56
Oh. One other thing. The upgrade process *will* mangle any repeating events that cross Daylight Savings Time boundaries. They'll be an hour out.
Damon Casey  2011-03-05 20:43
I have major problems with my upgrade. I mentioned having duplicates with having an On My Mac and MobileMe versions of the same calendars. The MobileMe calendar events were all an hour earlier than they should be. I took it to the genius bar at my local store and they couldn't fix it.

They pointed me to the MobileMe support site and after a day and a half of attempting to fix this I've been left with calendars in the On My Mac section, and a single test calendar in the MobileMe section and syncing isn't working on either of my computers. My iPhone has no calendar entries and is a real problem for business and I've lost a day and a half from my business trying to fix it. I've spent all the time with AppleCare support and MobileMe support and no one knows how to fix it. New data entered into iCal works fine and I've reverted to a backup of the iCal data from before the upgrade to the new calendar and the previous data doesn't work with MobileMe at all. Very annoyed at losing this time.
MetalSamurai  2011-03-05 21:14
As I said above, the conversion process will mangle all your repeating events if they cross between summer and winter time. You'll just have to look up the dates the clocks changed and fix your calendars from there.

Fix it all using the web interface.

To sort your iPhone go in to Mail, Contacts, Calendars, tsp on your MobileMe account. Turn calendar syncing off and delete them from your phone (if asked). Then turn them on, launch the calendar app. And wait. And wait. And wait. If you have a big calendar it can take a long time for your appointments to all come in.
Damon Casey  2011-03-05 20:47
Thanks for trying to help everybody. I should also point out that the time zones, date and time information was correct on both Macs and iPhone. They're all using Apple's Time servers to keep the date and time correct and all set to UK time.
Damon Casey  2011-03-05 21:42
Thanks MetalSamurai. I don't have the opportunity to fix any appointments because I can't get my data into MobileMe calendars now. I tried to export the data from my On My Mac calendars and upload them and this causes errors for multiple events:

Access to “Event Name” in “Untitled” in account “” is not permitted.The server responded:“HTTP/1.1 403 Forbidden”to operation CalDAVWriteEntityQueueableOperation.

Presently, I have no way of getting my appointments into the new calendar. I'll be talking to MobileMe support again tomorrow morning.
Alarik Skarstrom  2011-03-07 16:47
I thought I should report back. I bit the software bullet, as it were, and upgraded to the so-called cloud-based version of iCal.
To feel secure, I backed up (exported) each individual calendar plus archived the whole. Then just went ahead and followed the instructions. It worked almost seamlessly and, a day later, my calendars go back a seven years, which is the full range for my iCal calendars.

Very satisfying.
Adam J Bezark  2011-03-08 01:23
Okay, I understand that it's possible to migrate BusyCal to the new MobileMe calendar, but the real question is: why should I?

I didn't mean that to sound snide. We've been using BusyCal in our three-person home office for several years, and we love it. But our main reason for using it is to synchronize our calendars without forcing everyone to join (and pay for) MobileMe.

But it appears that the migration to new MobileMe Calendars means that EVERYone who wants to sync calendars MUST be a MobileMe member. BusyCal can no longer create local shared LAN calendars, right?

So BusyCal has sadly lost its principal benefit. And we don't really need the other features of BusyCal (I don't have an urgent need to see the phases of the moon).

Are there other great BusyCal features that I'm missing? Would they make it worthwhile to stay in the BusyCal universe? Or should we just bite the bullet, buy everyone a MobileMe account, and switch back to iCal?
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-08 13:48
Luckily, it's NOT true that syncing calendars between BusyCal-using Macs on a local network requires MobileMe. You can Control-click any calendar in BusyCal and choose Publish to LAN, thus making it available to other copies of BusyCal on the local network.

Where MobileMe or Google Calendar come in is when you need to sync events to Macs or devices that are not on the local network.

Personally, I find BusyCal's interface FAR easier to use than iCal's; it drives me up the wall that double-clicking an event in iCal reveals event info and an Edit button that I have to click to edit the event. So I'd use BusyCal even if it had no syncing capabilities. :-)
landrey  2011-03-08 14:47
Rather than getting driven "up the wall" anymore, I've found that using command-i (or right-click -> Get info) on an event immediately opens edit mode, and then command-w closes the event's window (Note: 10.5 still works the old way.)
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-08 14:59
Oh yes, that's right, Apple improved that interface slightly in Snow Leopard. It's still annoying that you're forced to use the keyboard shortcut (since you're usually selecting with the mouse first), but it's better than in Leopard.
landrey  2011-03-08 15:47
Actually, you don't have to use the keyboard shortcut at all -- just [right-click] drag to [Get info] on the event with the mouse.
Pete Crosta  2011-03-08 03:08
Probably a set-back for me. I have an original PM G5 at the office (Leopard), iMac at home (10.6.6), and a brand-new Verizon iPhone. I'm almost always plopping new appointments on the office G5. So I'll soon be "up a creek."

Back in the day when I think I was running Tiger, I used to carry my calendar "on a stick" by manually syncing my iCal & Contacts. Export from office machine, import from stick at home, export from home before heading to work, import from stick to G5, and so on. Do you think this "antiquated" process will once again work??? I also have a PB4 still running Tiger, but gave up syncing that with the lot.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-08 13:52
I think you're OK to upgrade, actually. Your office Mac running Leopard will have a few limitations, but I don't think they're severe. See this article:
This will create issues for blackberry users, as RIM has yet to figure out how to make the BB Desktop Software for the MacOS work properly with MobileMe, based on the comments I see on the BB forums.
David Morrison  2011-03-08 05:18
"Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard also works, but with limitations, including the lack of push updates, the capability to share and accept shared calendars in iCal, and subscribed calendar syncing."

I can understand the first two limitations, but what does the last mean? If I have subscribed to some external calendars (eg, tides) on my Leopard machines, will they no longer be updated?
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-08 14:04
That's a good question, and not one I know the answer to. I've verified that you can still subscribe to published calendars on a Leopard-based Mac, but I don't know what Apple means by "subscribed calendar syncing."

It's possible that they mean that once you've subscribed to a public calendar, you cannot sync it to your iPhone, or up to MobileMe in any way.
landrey  2011-03-08 14:57
Out of habit I generally use Calendar -> Refresh All when I go to iCal, and (so far, at least) all my shared and subscribed calendars have been updated on my 10.5 PowerBook. (Whether or for which type it is necessary to do so, I have no idea.) HTH!
David Morrison  2011-03-09 02:38

All my subscribed calendars just disappeared in the upgrade. As far as I can tell, subscriptions happen only on the local machine. Or is this what they mean by the third limitation - they will not go to Mobile Me? Pretty rude to delete the existing subscriptions though. Fortunately I had recorded the URLs first.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-09 14:35
That's strange that the subscriptions would have gone away. I would have thought they'd just stick around, since they're essentially unrelated to MobileMe - your copy of iCal or BusyCal is just subscribing to a remote calendar.
Damon Casey  2011-03-08 09:00
I finally fixed my calendar upgrade after 2.5 days (losing 1.5 work days to the problem). I repeatedly deleted all but the default MobileMe calendar (had to do this multiple times due to the number of attempts to fix this), deleted all MobileMe accounts in iCal on both Macs and then unregistered both computers from the MobileMe service. Finally, I deleted the MobileMe account from the iPhone.

I went to, created a new calendar, made it default and deleted the previous default calendar. I created all other calendars I use in iCal (there are 7) and then re-registered one computer with MobileMe without activating syncing. I imported each calendar to the new MobileMe calendars in iCal one at a time (these had been exported earlier), checking each had the correct appointments. I activated MobileMe syncing on that computer without activating calendar syncing, re-registered the other computer and recreated the iPhone's MobileMe account and finally everything is working correctly.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-08 14:05
Thanks for the update, Damon. Sounds like tearing everything down to bare metal and rebuilding works, but is truly tedious. Sorry to hear it was necessary, but at least you're up and running now.
Bernard Lyons  2011-03-08 12:19
This is a total nuisance for me. My desktop Mac died a few months ago after 8 years of almost perfect service, and I'm currently using a TiBook running Tiger. Over the years I've upgraded all the way from Claris Organizer and the very beginning of iTools &, but I don't see a way forward from here.

Can't afford to buy a newer Mac at the moment. The new MobileMe calendars won't work, BusyCal won't run on it, and I don't want to keep my calendar in Google to be datamined and sold to whoever can pay for it.

Oh yes, and iTunes on this 'book won't talk to my iPhone 3GS. Back to FiloFax for me, for the forseeable future I think.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-08 14:14
Ach, sorry to hear it. Google Calendar would seem to be the answer, though I do understand that some people prefer not to store data with Google.

Personally, I have no problem with them, since Google is a massive target. If they were selling user data (which would be a complete violation of their privacy policy), there's no way it could be kept a secret. And if Google were caught selling personal data, it would be hugely damaging. So I don't see it happening. You can see Google's privacy statement about Google Calendar here (it links to the full Google privacy policy):

And anyone who has a Google account would be well-served to check out Google Dashboard, to make sure you're storing only data you're comfortable having on Google.
landrey  2011-03-08 15:20
I was reluctant to change since I can't use 10.6 on my workhorse PowerBook; however, I found that printing from iCal was much faster on my wife's MacBook (10.6) -- I had 23 calendars and sub-calendars from which to choose -- so I had begun to use it more and more. At any rate the MM update went flawlessly on both computers, and syncing works with my iPod touch as well (at least after I changed the default calendar on the iPod to one of the MMs since events added to the iPod's own "Calendar" don't sync).

One thing that I don't like in the new MM is that there can no longer be groups. I used to distribute a single link to a grouped calendar that showed twelve sub-calendars -- now I must send a dozen separate links to the individual shared calendars. I'm wondering if there is some workaround for this situation?
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-08 15:23
Thanks for the reminder about groups - that's absolutely true, no groups any more. It's not a huge deal for me, though I liked being able to hide and show groups of calendars before. I don't know of any workarounds, unfortunately. I can't see why something like BusyCal couldn't create groups locally, though.
landrey  2011-03-08 16:13
What I'm thinking of is a means (likely not iCal-related) of sending a single link which will in turn open a set of other links. Of course, each recipient would then need to accept the resulting public non-editable calendars, one at a time, into iCal or a Windows-based app. Doable?

Thanks, Adam, for both your article and your follow-up replies to our posts.
Liz Dexia  2011-03-08 18:03
Thanks so much for this info. My question: I have an iPhone and iMac, both compatible with the new iCal. My older laptop, which I use when I travel, is not. Since I love the iCal, couldn't I simply log into the Mobile Me online iCal when I travel for the updated version, rather than use the software on my laptop? I'm thinking that might be easier than switching to Google Calendar and learning its features because of this one device that won't work with it anymore. Also: If I can do this, would it perhaps be better to remove the iCal software from my laptop to avoid conflicts? Thanks!
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-08 18:40
If your laptop is using Leopard, you're probably still OK. If it's Tiger, then yes, you should be able to use the Web site.

There's no need to remove a very old version of iCal in such a situation. Even if you configured it, I don't think it could connect to the new CalDAV calendar.
Liz Dexia  2011-03-08 18:58
Thanks. I've got Tiger blood in my laptop, so I guess I'm bi-losing the iCal there. :)
trippp  2011-03-10 15:17
I just ran across a page on Apple's site that had a reference that Tiger has at least some function. It is unclear to me how much that is, but it does make reference to 10.4.11 and sync intervals. The page was just posted a few days ago. Which makes it more recent than most of the other pages I have seen.

This in my mind gives some hope to those on Tiger. I can not test it so I don't know how much. Good Luck....
trippp  2011-03-08 18:53
I am reading that there are calendars in the cloud on MobileMe and there are also local calendars "On My Mac" - Is that true?

But it appears that according to some people this is some sort of glitch. And that all of ones calendars should be moved to the cloud. (except for Subscribed calendars) - Is that true?

But what I want is to be able to do that on purpose. I would like some calendars to stay "On My Mac" and be local only - Is it possible to do this on purpose?

How do I make that happen?

Aslo, how would one then move a particular "calendar to the could?

And conversely how could one remove a particular calendar from the cloud to have it only on a local calendar?

Are there any services out there these days where we could sync calendars without MobileMe?

Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-08 19:25
Yes, there are both local calendars and remote calendars. Since my personal upgrade didn't quite go normally, I don't know exactly if you're allowed to choose certain calendars to keep local, but you can certainly do that after the fact.

Just make a backup of the calendars you want to keep local, and after the MobileMe upgrade, import those back into iCal by dragging them to the sidebar; they'll be in the On My Mac category automatically.

To move a particular calendar to the cloud, first export it, create a new calendar on MobileMe (File > New Calendar > your account) then use File > Import > Import to import it into the just-created calendar. Once it's in both places, delete the local copy. There are other ways, but that should work. The same should work in reverse for moving a calendar locally.

And for people using BusyCal, the process is essentially the same.

To sync calendars without MobileMe, your best bet is BusyCal and Google Calendar.
trippp  2011-03-08 20:30
Removed by poster.
Brain Hiccup.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-08 20:02
Oh, public calendars...

I don't know what's involved, but Apple still seems to have a list at:

and there's also iCalShare
trippp  2011-03-08 19:12
One of my biggest issues with this whole "New MobileMe" calendar is the lack of backup. At this point Apple is asking us to trust them with our data. Data that for many people could make or brake their business. Mine include.

From all that I have read for the last two days is that there is no one convenient way to back up these new MobileMe calendars. Apple gives a half baked scenario for backing up that entails either going to the cloud and performing an arcane set of steps of changing settings and then changing then back again that are guaranteed to make one crazy for one calendar at a time. Or you can open up iCal and do a different set of arcane steps to backup one calendar at a time.

Their official backup page says: Do not rely on traditional methods for backing up calendar data, such as exporting the iCal database, Time Machine, MobileMe Backup, or iTunes backups of iOS devices.

Is there any sort of automated backup that can be implimented or are we just bent over the rail?
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-08 19:36
I haven't tested seriously, but I think the "problem" with traditional backup methods is that when you restore, if MobileMe has calendar data on it already, all hell may break loose as events are duplicated or changed to avoid duplication.

So I don't really buy Apple's claim that traditional backup methods won't work. You'd just want to be really careful to reimport into local calendars, so there could be no conflict with the MobileMe versions. I'd probably then wipe MobileMe and move stuff over from the local version again.

The iCal Archive file is really a package with all the individual events inside, so I believe that in the worst case scenario, you could import them all manually. To automate that backup, the good folks at BusyMac wrote a script:
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-08 19:37
The other solution to the backup problem is just to use BusyCal, which automatically makes backups. From the help:

"BusyCal automatically backs up your calendars every 24 hours and saves your last 10 backups in ~/Library/Application Support/BusyCal/Backup. You can alter these settings to backup more frequently and store more copies, in BusyCal > Preferences > Backup."
trippp  2011-03-09 04:39
This all sounds plausible (both of your replies), but at this point we have no confirmation or corroboration. Is that correct?

I also have to wonder what would happen if someone were to replace there BusyCal database. Would "all hell break loose" as you put it? Someone needs to try this to see what happens. Perhaps BusyMac has looked into this issue. Although I have not found anything on their web site. I have yet to buy their software, but I certainly will if they can resolve this better than Apple.

And thanks for your help on this project. I'm sure everyone here appreciates your effort.

Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-08 20:58
It's really hard to test disaster scenarios, since you never really know what will happen.

That said, I can confirm that if you make an iCal Archive, and then go into the package and into the Events directory for each calendar (which are each in their own directory), you can drag multiple .ics files into a local On My Mac calendar to reimport them, totally separate from MobileMe.

So I'm confident this would work in iCal.

BusyCal's backups are similar packages, but they make a single .ics file for each calendar, so restoring manually would be even easier.

So I'd either automate those iCal Archive backups or use BusyCal, and then back up those files via Time Machine, CrashPlan, or other method. I think that's sufficient safety.
Thomas Maler  2011-03-08 22:03
Last year when they first came up with the calendar upgrade, I tried it and I lost essential functionality (on 10.6.4) of being able to publish a particular calendar and to Send Publish Email, so that anyone, including Windoze users could look at it in a browser. This Publish option simply disappeared in iCal menus after the upgrade. Fortunately there was a way to downgrade the mobileme calendar using Apple's own recipe and after some additional hassle (having to restore my iCal calendars database from my wife's Leopard computer) the option was back in my iCal and the publish option was there and it worked.
So naturally, I'll be afraid to do the upgrade again because I can't afford to loose the publish option for one of my calendars again. It's the single most valuable function of mobileme and if I can't have it, I might as well not use mobileme, request refund of my remaining subscription and move to Google.
Please let me know if there will be a way top publish a single calendar.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-08 22:44
There appear to be two options here.

First, for local calendars in the On My Mac category (which are not stored on MobileMe, even in in new system), you can Control-click one and choose Publish. Looks the same as it always did, I think.

Second, for calendars that are hosted on MobileMe, you can Control-click and choose Share Calendar. There you have two possibilities: share with everyone in read-only fashion (which is what I think you want) and share with only the people you invite (which is what you use to share the calendar in read-write fashion with family or colleagues). After it's shared, you can Control-click to get its URL or to send invitations.

So I think the functionality you want is there.
Thomas Maler  2011-03-09 00:40
Thanks Adam. The first option would do for me if it works and with the 2nd option, the share with everyone, would also do as long as people can see it in their browser when they click on a link and don't have to subscribe to it in iCal or outlook or another program.
So you think it's safe to try it now, right? Sometime they fix the numerous bugs after a while, but they've had about 5 months now to get it working.
I wish they did not keep changing things all the time. This painful forced transition is enough to make people run away from mobileme and even the free version may not make them come back. I am so grateful now for PwnageTool 4.2.1, I've already done 2 iphones, one more to go so that my wife will be able to continue sharing our calendars.
Thanks again
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-09 14:34
I think the second scenario is functionally equivalent to the first, so all should be fine.

Since Apple is saying they'll be shutting off the old calendar on May 5th, I think this is a good time to switch, since the support people are more likely to be overwhelmed later on, once people are forced to switch.
trippp  2011-03-09 22:46
"I think the second scenario is functionally equivalent to the first, so all should be fine."

I'm going to interject here that I have to wonder that the first scenario has a possible caveat. It might be that those calendars published that way (the old way) may still work, but they may also disappear on May 5. where the second is the current "correct" way, according to Apple. It is possible that the control click method you discovered might be an aberration that was overlooked by someone at Apple and is not supposed to be there. Or was left there until the May 5 deadline.

I don't really know. I was just wondering, as it seemed that they tried to take it away on one hand, but left it in another.

Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-09 22:50
I'm not terribly worried about this possibility, since calendars can be published to private servers as well as MobileMe, so it's not like MobileMe is doing anything special here. But we'll see in a few months.
Thomas Maler  2011-03-10 22:17
But I have payed for MobileMe partly for the ability to publish calendars anyone can see in a browser and I don't have another solution except for Google calendars. If Apple takes this away, there will be no point of me using MobileMe, since syncing of contacts and calendars and other functions can be done for free on Google anyway.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-11 21:04
OK, we've all tested this.

Option 1, publishing a local calendar in iCal works as it always has, providing a public calendar that can be subscribed to or viewed in a Web browser.

Option 2, sharing a calendar hosted on MobileMe, which is new, provides a public calendar that can be subscribed to in iCal or the like, but can't be viewed in a Web browser.

So this is pretty much solid now - I see no reason anything should change on May 5th.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-03-09 23:00
I've also just learned that if your MobileMe account was renewed automatically (presumably in the recent past, or at least since October 2010), that may trigger an upgrade to the new MobileMe Calendar, even if you didn't do it automatically.
I'm in France until May 10th & did not bring my laptop with me. Can I upgrade my Mobile Me Calendar using a friend's Apple laptop here or does the upgrade have to be done on my own laptop?
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-05-02 13:46
My understanding is that the calendar will be upgraded for you at that point. What I don't quite have my head around is what that will mean for the iCal connection on your Mac. You may lose some calendar functionality while you're away (not that that's as likely to be problematic) on an iOS device; just not sure.