Moving Subscription Calendars to MobileMe.

One annoying issue with MobileMe is that it does not sync subscription calendars to your iPhone or the web app.

Like many people, I subscribe to a holidays calendar and, perhaps not like many people, a moon phases calendar. I wanted these back on my iPhone, and on the new Calendar web app as well.

Doing this is actually easy, it consists of bringing the calendar in as local instead of subscription:

1) Select a subscription calendar.

2) Choose File/Export… and use the standard dialog box to create a local iCal (.ics) file on your Mac with a slightly different name then the subscribed calendar.

3) Choose File/Import… to import the iCal file you just created. The Mac will ask which calendar you want to add the events to, choose New Calendar. It will create a new local calendar with the same name as the file.

4) Right-click the subscription calendar and delete it.

5) Now you can assign the calendar a color and then let them sync up to the web app and iPhone.

There’s a couple things I’d like to point out:

  • I have issues with MobileMe whole-calendar syncing to the iPhone. For both my iPhones I needed to turn OFF calendar syncing, then turn it back ON, before the new calendars appeared. Given the variation in MobileMe issues, YMMV.
  • The supposed advantage of subscribing to a calendar (e.g., it’s maintained by someone else, always current, etc.) are obviously lost when you make them local. However, in my case we’re talking US Holidays and Moon Phases. The latter does not change, and the former rarely so. Further, they extend into the future longer than I’m likely to be using them.

While the number of calendars you can subscribe to is broad, how many do you really need to keep on a subscription basis? Just as well to have them local as far as I’m concerned.

I’m happy to have both these calendars back on my iPhone, and it took just a few minutes. It was so easy even I could do it.

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12 thoughts on “Moving Subscription Calendars to MobileMe.

  1. To get around the whole B-Day one i have mobile me syncing to my laptop but i just directly sync the calendars on my phone to my laptop. (i still keep contacts synced through mobile me though) its a slight inconvenience but im always syncing my songs or apps so my calendar will be frequently updated anyway.

    Hope it helps some people not prepared to lose the subscription privileges until apple give us a proper solution.

  2. Pingback: Moving Subscription Calendars to MobileMe. « The Small Wave. | Tekkie Bob

  3. Thank You, Thank you, Thank you. I have been searching and searching for a fix – I HATED not having b-days on my iPhone

  4. Thanks, Tom. Sorry – must have overlooked that disclaimer. When you select to use the Birthdays calendar, the one that is automatically populated by the birthdays added to the Address Book, it appears in iCal as a Subscription. So, while I am happy now to see my birthdays within the calendar on my iPhone, I guess I will have to periodically re-export/import the birthdays to keep them up-to-date. At least until Apple figures this issue out. Is it really that complicated, Apple?

  5. Paul,

    I don’t use the Birthday calendar, but isn’t it a local calendar anyway? It seems to me it doesn’t apply to my article, but then again I may be wrong.

    In any case. if the Birthday calendar IS online (i.e., subscription) then, yes, you are correct. But I already explained that in the second point I noted in the article:

    “The supposed advantage of subscribing to a calendar (e.g., it’s maintained by someone else, always current, etc.) are obviously lost when you make them local. However, in my case we’re talking US Holidays and Moon Phases. The latter does not change, and the former rarely so. Further, they extend into the future longer than I’m likely to be using them.”

  6. Wait – doesn’t this mean that changes to the calendar subscription will not make it to my iCal? For example, if I use this approach to get my Birthdays Calendar to finally sync properly between my iCal, MobileMe and my iPhone, if I add someone’s birthday to my Contacts, the new birthdays are not going to appear in my Birthdays Calendar since it’s an imported version of a local copy, from a specific point in time. So, this is just a temp fix to make it look like things are all synced up but things really aren’t synced, are they?

  7. You’re awesome. You just fixed what was a major complaint with mobile me. Thanks so much.

  8. You are a GENIUS!!! I was about 5 minutes away from deleting my trial MobileMe account, as I heavily rely on work, school and other calendar subscriptions. Your fix is amazing even though I’ll have to periodically update and re-import those calendars, at least it’s on my iPhone now!!! You rock!

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!

  9. Vic,

    Sorry it did not work for you. I’m curious, after you imported the holidays locally and did a sync, did they appear on the Calendar web app?

    If they’re on the web app, then they made it to the cloud and the issue you have is iPhone-specific. However, if they did not make it to the web app then the issue is with your Mac’s syncing to the cloud.

  10. Did NOT work for me… went through everything several times, turned of Syncing of Calendars on iPhone, then back on, etc. No dice. Replaced ALL data on MobileMe with new data from iMac after republishing Calendars – and everything else – and nothing I do lets me use Holidays on the iPhone…

  11. Thanks for the tips. Worked great! Just what I needed.
    May the four winds blow you safely home.

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