I have been tremendously frustrated in trying to keep my calendar stable when I switch time zones. In the beginning, appointments seemed to change time willy nilly when I changed time zones, which I do a lot. I was ready to go back to something reliable, like a paper and pen, or a Palm.
The “fix” that I was told would solve everything was this nitpicky workaround: I turn on “Time Zone Support” and then, every appointment set in my Mac iCal I must set to a “floating” time zone. I can't make this the default—I have to make this a step in every appointment I make.
The iPhone has no option to choose a time zone in its calendar. When I make appointments on the road, I've been uncertain just what to trust. With my recent return from the Midwest, I made some tests.
I made test appointments on the laptop and the iPhone, and synced them in Chicago. I then synced the iPhone to the desktop when I got home to Seattle. Here are the results.
A 3pm set in Chicago in the iPhone shows up on both computers as 3pm in Pacific time.
A 5pm set in Chicago as “floating” on the laptop stays stable as 5pm “floating” on the laptop. On both the iPhone and the desktop it's now a 3pm appointment, but in the details it's a 5pm appointment in Chicago time.
An 8pm set in Chicago in Chicago time shows up in the 6pm slot in my calendar, but is still marked as beginning at 8pm, CDT. On the laptop everything is still at 8pm, and it's still set as Chicago time. On the iPhone it's a 6pm.
Whether you set an appointment in floating or the local time zone makes no difference. They still change when you change zones and sync to something.
In other words, I'm totally, but now knowledgeably screwed. Now I know I can't trust my calendar.