10 Tips for Mastering Apple Calendar


An online calendar is one of my most important tools for staying organized. It is the keeper of
appointments, events, birthdays, and reminders to give my dogs their monthly
heartworm pills. People use calendars to plan their lives, whether it’s figuring out
the best dates for a vacation or mapping out the key dates of a pregnancy.

If you use Apple’s Calendar app on an iPhone,
iPad, or Mac, you probably mastered the basic skills of creating and managing
appointments right away. Since the app’s debut, however, it has grown into a
much more interesting and useful tool. There are now a few additional skills
and features worth learning because they can make your calendar usage not only
more efficient but also richer.

10 Tips and Tricks for Apple
Calendar

Take a look at the 10 tips and tricks for
Apple Calendar below. Pick a few you might use, and spend a minute or two
trying them out. Hopefully, they’ll stick and make your life a smidge easier and
more organized. You can learn even more tips for your Apple devices with this
list of 21 hidden features of iOS 13.

1. Connect Calendars, Sync Faster

Apple Calendar has two purposes. First, it can
be an online calendar that you use to create and manage appointments, as well
as sync across your devices. It can also act as a calendar client app, meaning you can use it to view calendars that you have
created somewhere else, such as Google Calendar or Microsoft Exchange. You can
connect multiple calendars and color code them, too. On a Mac, go to Calendar
> Accounts and follow the prompts to connect a calendar. On a mobile
device, tap Calendars > Add Calendar and follow the prompts.

Apple Calendar sync

When you first connect a new calendar, you
won’t immediately see all your calendar entries from the other service pop up
in Apple Calendar. The reason is the apps sync only every 15 minutes by
default. You can speed it up by going to Calendar > Preferences > Refresh
Calendars and choosing the frequency you want.

2. Let Someone Else Manage One of
Your Calendars

Apple Calendar has a function called Delegate
that lets you share a specific calendar with someone else so that they can
manage it. The idea is to give a personal assistant (or maybe a business
partner) the ability to add and edit events on your calendar, track responses
to invitations you send, and so forth. There’s one major caveat for this
feature, however. It does not work with iCloud calendars. It’s really designed
to work with Microsoft Exchange calendars.

Share Apple Calendar

Lucky for us, there’s a workaround. If you want to
share an iCloud calendar, you can give someone View & Edit access. To share
an iCloud calendar, press the Calendars button next to the green full-screen
mode button. Click on the calendar you want to share. You can then type
someone’s name or email address; they must be listed in your Contacts app for
it to work. You know the calendar has been shared when you see a radio signal
symbol next to it. Note that only one person can edit a shared calendar at a
time.

3. Share a Read-Only View of a
Calendar

Another way to share a calendar is to let
people see it without giving them the ability to change anything on it. To do
that, you need to publish the calendar.

Apple Calendar share publish

Choose the calendar you want to share, and on
a Mac, click to the right of its name (if you click directly on the name, you
get an editing field), and then tick the box next to Publish. You don’t have to
be on a Mac. You can share a calendar from an iPhone or iPad,
too.

The app generates a URL that you can share
with people. You can copy and paste the URL or use the Share button to send it
to someone another way. If you don’t see the URL right away, close that little
window and reopen it. It should now appear.

4. Get to Your Calendar Without
Your Apple Device

What would you do if you were separated from
your Apple devices for some reason (lost, stolen, etc.) and needed to see the
details of your calendar? Did you know you can log into iCloud.com and see your
calendar there?

Apple Calendar in iCloud

Using any web browser, go to iCloud.com and
log in using your Apple or iCloud ID. For web access to work, your Apple
Calendar must be syncing with iCloud. Check on a Mac or mobile device by going
to Settings > iCloud and making sure Calendar is enabled to sync.

5. Get Notice of When to Leave
and Directions

If you turn on Location Services and you add
an address to a calendar event, Apple Calendar can tell you when it’s time to
leave, based on the directions in Apple Maps and current traffic. It also pulls
up those directions for you at the appropriate time.

Get directions in Apple Calendar

In the image, you can see the app specifies
going by car rather than walking, bicycling, or taking public transit. Those
options may vary depending on your location. If you see no options, the app
defaults to driving.

6. See Upcoming Events and Get
Directions on CarPlay

One of the new features in iOS 13 for CarPlay
is that you can now see details about your upcoming calendar events on the
dash.

Apple Calendar in CarPlay

Included in those details can be directions,
if you’ve added an address to the event or appointment and turned on Location
Services.

7. Automatically Open a File
Before an Event

Let’s say you have a recurring weekly meeting,
and you’re forgetful when it comes to setting an  agenda and jotting down the goals for the
meeting. When you create the calendar appointment for the meeting, you can also
set a custom reminder that opens a file (like an agenda template) however many
minutes before the meeting you choose.

Open file from Apple Calendar

To set up this trick, choose Custom reminder
when setting up the appointment and pick Open file. Then choose the file you
want to open. Another option is to send an email. This trick works wonders for
preparing in advance for meetings, and it’s also handy for updating regularly
scheduled reports, scheduling time to create an invoice, and other recurring
tasks.

8. Create and Modify Appointments
Hands-Free With Siri

I hardly ever use Siri, but I appreciate how
useful it can be for people with limited mobility or someone whose hands are
always full (new parents). I must admit that I was surprised at how well it
works with the Calendar app. When you enable Siri, you can ask for a summary of
upcoming appointments, as well as make new appointments.

Apple Calendar in Siri

The most delightful shocker, however, was
realizing I can also edit appointments. Being able to edit an existing
appointment or reminder is a gaping hole for some other voice assistants.
Saying, “I want to change something on my calendar,” led Siri to
prompt me about which appointment and what I wanted to change about it. If you
have a need to use Siri more and, like me, haven’t tried it out with the
Calendar app recently, you just might be as impressed as I was.

9. Show or Hide All-Day Events

Does your calendar ever look cluttered to the
point that it’s not very effective? Maybe you already know that you can view
and hide individual calendars, such as your Work calendar and your Personal
calendar to help you hone your focus. Did you know that you can also
temporarily hide or show all-day events, too?

Apple Calendar all day events

In the Mac app, go the menu bar and select
View > Show All-Day Events. If you want to see them, make sure the check mark
is visible, and vice versa to hide them.

10. See Scheduled Events From the
Year View

Sometimes it really helps to zoom out and look
at the yearly view of your calendar, such as when you’re trying to pick dates
well in advance for an event. When you look at the whole year, however, you
can’t see the details of what’s scheduled for each day. With Apple Calendar,
you can, although you can only see one day at a time. Simply click on any date to see a short
summary of what’s scheduled then.

Further Reading

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