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iCal supports TimeZones very well for me. Go to iCal>Preferences>Advanced and you select "Turn on Time Zone Support"...

You will now see a drop down menu on the top right of the iCal window..

And you are welcome ;-)

Doug Plummer

I should have clarified in the post that that is precisely how I have iCal set up in both computers. I thought that was the fix--I'm reporting that it isn't.

Doug Plummer

Looking deeper into my calendar I learned that, thanks to my last iPhone sync, every appointment became reset to Chicago time. I'm really fed up with the arrogant Mac way now, at least in this regard.


Shouldn't this post be called "Fix the iPhone?"

I've been using iCal since 2003 with four different handsets and have never had any issues with time zone support...

Here's another wrinkle in the issue. I just did another test. I set my laptop onto Eastern time, and made an appointment. I used Time Zone Support and set the time zone to Floating. I did the same thing with the laptop clock set to Pacific time. Then I synced the iPhone.

The Eastern appointment shifted three hours on the iPhone. The Pacific one stayed the same, though I bet if I changed time zones with the phone it would alter.

I see no mechanism for keeping calendar times stable.


I agree - this is about the iCal/iPhone interface, not iCal itself. That said, I agree that the interface needs some work.

That said, your last example isn't clear yet. What time zone was your iPhone set to? Because the definition of "floating" seems to be a problem, when you have the iPhone picking up appointments in one time zone and then another. It seems totally unstable - thankfully I don't have this problem - but some more tests might be necessary.

With much respect, Bim

Robin Shapiro

When anyone makes a machine that can make (and never,ever lose or change) an appointment faster than I can in my old-fashioned, unerasable, unshiftable datebook, I'll buy the product. Until then I suggest a hard copy datebook.


Hi there,
yes i share the same issue with iCal. for those that don't understand, although time support is great for international collaboration. it is quite useless when you travel a lot. it becomes an over-managed-nightmare! imagine dealing with your san francisco appointments but planning your london ones at same time, which you would do. then also planning your return to sf, and then to nyc. youd have to switch calendars constantly just to see 'when' they really occur, as everything keeps being shifted.

AND u look at an event, and wonder if you did or didnt set it to Floating? good luck figuring that out, u have to double click ur important appointments to see that.

if ANYONE figures out how to make ALL previous and future appointments in a floating zone. it would be great to know.


Doug Plummer


Thanks for not arguing with me and agreeing with all my points. You are a blogger's dream date. It has been difficult to get people to understand the issue, and it's not easy to explain.

My solution now it to name the appointments by their time (I don't just have a dentist appointment, I have a 1:15pm dentist appointment) so I can see instantly if it has changed.


Go into SETTINGS on your iPhone. Go to GENERAL. Go to DATE & TIME. Turn OFF Time Zone Support. Have all of your events set to FLOATING and have TIME ZONE turned off on iCal too. This worked for me.


just discovered this wonderful new feature of the iphone. nearly missed a plane for it! ingenious!

here is how i almost missed a plane with iphone 2.0.

at first the calendar was set to support time zones. i think this was the default, hadn't looked, since the palm's calendar was boring and inefficient and kept dates and times where i put them.

anyway when getting off the plane, changing zones for the first time with the iphone, i noticed the time automatically adjusted. bravo! i thought.

the next day i entered a calendar item.

it showed up in the calendar as 3 hours before the time i'd given it.

"strange," i thought.

i edited the event and sure enough the time was correct.

at this point i remembered having seen a setting for "time zone support" somewhere. i went to the calendar preferences and there it was! the calendar was set to the old time zone! so i changed it to the new time zone.

the appointment was fixed! and i almost switched off the iphone, happy, when suddenly to my horror i looked down and saw that:


AND SO HAD THE TIME OF THE RETURN TRIP!!! the iphone was trying to make me miserable! or it had secret information! this was important to investigate.

but then, well, of COURSE the flight times were adjusted! hadn't i entered the time of the east coast time return trip as its west coast time equivalent? doesn't EVERYONE do that when they mark times in their calendars?

"who in the world," asked steve, "would ever be so simple-minded as to enter events in their calendar in SIMPLE LOCAL TIME. that is absurd."

so then i thought, "i know what i will do. i will turn off the time zone support altogether! all the times will return to how they were entered!"

and then i found the fine print in the calendar "time zone support" preference that said if i turned it off, my calendar dates would be at the whim of the iphone's internal sense of physical location. "oh dear god," i thought. "i have to be another three hours earlier to every flight. just to be sure."

once my giggling madness had subsided i realized the trouble was that the iphone knew where it was.

so i turned off time zone support.
then i turned off "date and time" : "set automatically" to OFF.
then i entered my home time zone.
then i set the clock to local time.

a couple applications hate this.

the calendar, however, is stable.



I agree with all the comments about the ridiculous iCal Time zone issue. i travel a lot and the bottom line is that I just cannot trust iCal to have the times of appointments posted correctly in the local time. I have used a PalmPilot since the original one and have never really had and trust issues. The underlying premise is that the appointments are welded to the day and time you set them at and don't change. That means a 3 PM Meeting on Oct 1 is always a 3PM Oct 1 Meeting regardless of where you are. Yes, that means that you need to figure out if you are in Madrid, what would the local time be. But at least it's consistent. The amount of effort to set and manage time zone changes in iCal is baffling - and then there is the trust issue. I'd rather it be consistent one way or the other - or EASY TO USE (which it isn't.) In either case, i still take my Palm Pilot along with the iPhone because of this, and iPhone's inability to make notes.

Doug Plummer

This post has an amazing half life. It must be at the top of some Google search.

Things seem to remain stable if I remember to set the time to "Floating" in iCal when I make the listing. But when the time is critical, I title the entry with the time I intend.

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