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Working with Calendars and Reminders in iCloud

iCloud lets you keep your calendar events and reminders in the cloud, automatically synchronizing them among all your devices. Tom Negrino shows you how to use iCloud to manage your appointments, your events and your life!
This chapter is from the book

One of the best—and incredibly useful—features of iCloud is its ability to keep your calendar events and reminders in the cloud, automatically synchronizing them among all your devices. Imagine you’ve just finished an appointment at the dentist, and the receptionist asks to set up your next date. Whipping out your iPhone, you enter the next appointment into the Calendar app, and in a moment, that appointment appears on the rest of your devices.

Similarly, iCloud can create synchronized reminders for things you need to do. With the iOS Reminders app, you can even set a reminder to appear only when you arrive at a particular geographical location.

But probably the most useful feature of iCloud calendaring is that you can share your calendars with family, friends, and colleagues. So when your daughter adds her soccer practice to the family shared calendar, it appears on the rest of the family’s schedule as well.

Setting up Calendars

You begin with calendars in iCloud by creating them, in either the Mac or iOS Calendar app (beginning in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, iCal’s name was changed to Calendar to bring it in line with the iOS equivalent). You can also create calendars on the iCloud website circle_a.jpg, which I’ll discuss later in this chapter.


Click to view larger image

circle_a.jpg The Calendar application on the iCloud website has a variety of calendar views.

There’s one important concept to get when you start managing your schedule and to-dos with iCloud. There are two kinds of items that iCloud deals with:

  • Events are items that appear in the body of your calendar views. They will appear in the Day, Week, Month, and List views. They always have dates and times associated with them (though sometimes the associated time is “all-day”).
  • Reminders are to-do items. They work differently than they did with MobileMe and the former iCal, in that you work with them in the Mac and iOS Reminders apps, rather than with the Calendar app. Reminders don’t appear in the calendar views. Reminders may have a date and time associated with them, but don’t have to. Unlike Events, you can also set a Priority (None, Low, Medium, High) for a Reminder. Using a feature called “geofencing,” they can also be set to trigger on your iOS device when the device is physically near a location, using your device’s GPS and Location Services. Even cooler, geofencing can be set to trigger the reminder when you arrive at or leave a particular location. So that’s how the Siri personal assistant built into the iPhone 4S and later can deal with commands like “Text my wife when I leave the office.”

In this book, I’m focusing on iCloud, rather than working with the Mac or iOS Calendar app, so I’ll deal mostly with working with events on the iCloud website, rather than in the Mac or iOS programs. However, because Reminders are so intimately connected with iCloud, I’ll be going into detail with the iOS Reminders app in the “Working with Reminders on Your iOS Device” section, later in this chapter, and there’s a similar section about working with the Mac Reminders app, in the “Working with Reminders on the Mac” section. Mountain Lion brought changes to how notifications work, so I’ve also added the “Managing Notifications on Mac and iOS” section in this edition of the book.

To create a calendar on a Mac

  1. Launch Calendar circle_d.jpg.

    Click to view larger image

    circle_d.jpg On the Mac, Calendar for OS X has a faux-leather look that people either love or hate.

  2. Choose File > New Calendar > then either iCloud or the name of another shared calendar service, or On My Mac.

    Choosing iCloud will place the calendar on iCloud, where it can be shared by your other devices and by other people. Calendars on other services are shareable according to the particular rules of those services (check with your system administrator). If the calendar is on your Mac, it will be private and will only exist on the Mac where you created the calendar.

  3. The new calendar appears in the Calendars List as Untitled, allowing you to name it circle_e.jpg. Enter the name, then click anywhere else to save it.

    circle_e.jpg Begin creating your new calendar in the Calendars list.

To create a calendar on an iOS device

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, start the Calendar app.
  2. Tap the Calendars button.
  3. The Calendars (iPhone) or Show Calendars (iPad) popover appears circle_f.jpg.

    Click to view larger image

    circle_f.jpg On the iPad, the Show Calendars popover tells you the status of all your iCloud calendars.

  4. Tap the Edit button.

    The screen name changes to Edit Calendars.

  5. At the bottom of the iCloud section, tap Add Calendar.
  6. In the resulting Add Calendar popover circle_g.jpg, type the name you want for the new calendar.

    Click to view larger image

    circle_g.jpg Type the name you want for your new calendar.

  7. Tap next to the color you want the calendar events to appear as.

    You may be able to see additional colors by scrolling.

  8. Tap Done.

    The popover will go back to the Edit Calendars screen, and the new calendar you created appears in the list.

  9. Tap Done.

To edit a calendar on a Mac

  1. In Calendar, in the Calendars List at the upper left corner of the window, right-click the calendar you want to change, and choose Get Info.

    The info dialog appears for that calendar circle_h.jpg.


    Click to view larger image

    circle_h.jpg In Calendar on the Mac, each calendar has an info dialog.

  2. Do one or more of the following:
    • Change the name of the calendar.
    • From the color pop-up menu next to the Name field, choose the color in which you want the calendar’s events to appear. One difference in Calendar versus the Calendar app on iOS is that one of the color choices is Other, which when chosen brings up a color picker that allows you to choose any color you want, rather than a preset color.
  3. Click OK.

To edit a calendar on an iOS device

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, start the Calendar app.
  2. Tap the Calendars button.

    The Calendars (iPhone) or Show Calendars (iPad) popover appears circle_gray_f.jpg.

  3. Tap the Edit button.

    The screen name changes to Edit Calendars.

  4. In the Calendar list, tap the name of an existing calendar.
  5. In the Edit Calendar screen, change the name or the associated color of the calendar, then tap Done.

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