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How To: Fixing iCal iPhone Sync Issues

One of the the iPhoneWriter.Com team's favorite features about the Apple iPhone is integration with the iCal and Contacts applications. Sure, this is a cool feature for just about any "smartphone" on the market today, but no third-party software is required for the Mac user to synch with his iPhone. Instead, one simply uses iTunes to synch the iPhone with the iCal and Address Book applications (and also the Mail and iTunes Music applications.) Despite the simplicity and ease, an issue with syncing the Apple iPhone and iCal appears from time to time.

You'll know the syncing issue when you see it, because the new events you enter into the Calendar on your Apple iPhone will not appear in iCal. Said another way, you'll enter a new event into your iPhone, use iTunes to sync with your Mac (or MacBook in our case) and the new event on your iPhone will not show up in iCal. Keep trying, synch as you might, iCal and the Apple iPhone just won't get along.

Here's the down and dirty fix:
  1. Open iCal and backup or export your entries. Make a note of the fie name and location, you're going to need them in a minute. Once your backup/export is completed, close the iCal application.
  2. Open Finder and remove everything inside the "Username/Library/Calendars" folder. For instance, if your username is "Joe", then move everything inside the "Joe/Library/Calendars" folder.
  3. Open the iSync application. It's located in the "/Applications/" folder. Once iSync is opened, go into the iSync Preferences (iSync -> Preferences) and push/click the "Reset Sync History" button. Then, close the iSync application.
  4. Re-Open the iCal application and Import (File -> Import) a new calendar. When prompted, use your notes from Step #1 to select the file your created earlier. Once completed, close the iCal application (you should have all of your calendar entries back.)
  5. Open the iTunes application and connect your Apple iPhone to the computer. 
  6. Within the Advanced section of the Info tab for the Apple iPhone, check the box the overwrites/replaces the Calendar data on the Apple iPhone.
  7. Click the Apple/Sync button. New, modified and deleted entries should now be syncing correctly.
That's it! You should be all set and iTunes, iCal and our Apple iPhone should all be playing nicely as friends again. We've used the exact method to repair our own Apple iPhone at least once... maybe even twice.

47 comments:

Marook said...

Hi.
The issue is actually in ~/Library/Application Support/SyncServices/Local/

iSync seems to mess up the references to the calendars, especially if you rename a calendar.

Delete that folder, re-sync and you should be good to go... use it own risk!

Christopher's Mom said...

I tried both and the first one did not work (it didn't even delete my files). Also, I wasn't able to reset my sync history as I don't use iSync...
I created a new folder on my desktop and moved the contents of Local there just in case. Then I synced my phone once. It worked like a charm. I can't comment on the long-term use as I just did it, but it worked! :)

SCCB87 said...

I followed the on screen instructions and..... oh wait.. :) - it just worked. cool, thanks. until next time..

Kat Mathers said...

It worked. I didn't think iSync was relevant to the way my iPhone & laptop communicated. I don't use it normally, and I don't tend to turn BlueTooth on either - but followed those instructions and it worked. Yay. Yay. Thank you.

eB photography said...

Lifesaver. I barely used the .mac/MobileMe services in the first year so I canceled my $99/yr subscription. This solved cloud syncing at a premium for products made by the same company that ship with a sync cable.

Marc said...

I'm trying it but iSync has the reset history button darkened out. I can't reset the history so the the files just keep getting recreated. I'm stuck. I also tried removing the local folder with not results. Any ideas?

Milliken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Milliken said...

I used this procedure and found it to work.

The one snag I ran into was the inability at first to reset sync data through the iSync preferences. However, I realized that I had not followed the instructions because I had left iCal open after exporting the calendars.

The fix was to close iCal, again move the items out of ~/Library/Calendar and proceed with the rest of the items.

Helen Wattie said...

This worked perfectly, thank you sooooo much. After many hours of frustration I finally found and followed your instructions. All good, thanks. Helen

Marcelo said...

In order to reset sync services, follow this instructions:

http://support.apple.com/kb/ts1627

Nicklas Danko said...

Finally! After two days of struggling with my iPhone I finally managed to sync them again!

I followed what is stated in this blogpost, but that did not work, so then I erased everything in the local folder, and erased the history in iSync.

Then it worked. I dont know how the problem happened from the beginning. But now, it is working anyway!

Beth said...

When I got to the iCal preferences, the "Reset Sync History" was grayed out. The language in the window referred to my Palm OS device and not my iPhone, so I wonder if there's some conflict between the two. I've not made a complete transition from my pda to the iPhone contact info, thus I still have the Palm info backed up on my iMac. What to do?

Beth said...

Ok. I made it to the next step. In step one I removed all my Library/Calendar info to a folder on my desktop. When I try to import it though, the Import button is grayed out. Not sure what to do from here. Help?

Erika said...

This worked for me! I can't believe it and I have no idea how this worked! Removing all the files from username/library/calendars did not remove them for me either, Christopher's Mom, but this solution seems to have worked so far. I am so glad my calendar on my iphone will now sync to my ical on my macbook! Too bad iTunes had already deleted my entire calendar on my iphone:(

BallerBaggins said...

Worked like a charm. You're amazing.

Jacqui said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
droodles said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I'd been having this problem for MONTHS, and searched and searched, to no avail. You've just made my day.

Thank you!

damills said...

Sadly did not work for me. for some reason when I go to the info tab of my iPhone in ITunes it does not show all my iCal calendars in the "sync iCal Calendars" section. since it can't see them I assume it can't sync with them. have no clue how to fix this but it pretty much makes a major reason to have my iphone (i.e. my updated calendar) useless

very frustrating. i expect better of Apple

Isaac Marion said...

What if your iCal is empty and what you want to transfer is the data on your iPHONE? I don't want to overwrite the phone because that's where all the info is.

Joanna said...

Thank you! Thank you! It seemed that the first option did not work until I added Marook's Local file deletion. I am indebted to you both.
Cheers!

Nickname unavailable said...

That worked THANKS!
In my case the sync problem came after changing computers - but it was as you described, i.e. calendar info would not sync from my iPhone to the computer, so i actually had an empty iCal calendar. So i did the export from my old computer but otherwise followed your protocol.

Mike said...

Thank you - after hours of frustration this did the trick!
Mike

Mindy said...

Thank you soooo much! You rock.

swimswithsharks said...

Heres a solution - instead of wasting countless hours getting two calendars both made by the same company whose software developers are too lazy to make sure they can sync with each other why not print out a calendar on an extra large piece of paper, write your appointments on it, fold it up and carry it around in your pocket. When it disintegrates just start again - you will only lose a few appointments. Sound like a lot of hassle? yeah but definitely less frustrating than trying to sync between two Apple products. Funny that was one of the main reasons I bought an iPhone - synchronised calendars - oh the naivety!

Larry D said...

Thanks for "the gift that keeps on giving"! This did the trick for me (when all the Apple support forum answers did not).

Mark said...

I had this very problem and this blog post solved the problem exactly as described ... almost.

The last step says "New, modified and deleted entries should now be syncing correctly." The problem I discovered, though, is that the calendar entries I was entering on my iPhone that weren't syncing to my computer didn't appear even after doing all of these steps as directed.

However, now when I re-enter the events on my iPhone (or on my computer), all the events sync as they should. So you may want to make a note of the events on your iPhone that aren't showing up in iCal so you can re-enter them manually after the reset.

Jim said...

I can't believe that something as simple as syncing my Apple iPhone with my Apple iMac using Apple itunes could be so difficult.
Apple should take a look at Google to see how easy it should be.

Jackie said...

I can't seem to make this work. firstly, I can't seem to get rid of what is in Username/library/calendars, and it won't let me empty my trash - the calendar cache is, apparently, 'still in use'. Secondly, that doesn't seem to be helping.
I think my problem may be a little different. I have updated my calendar on my iphone but the corrections are not syncing BACK with my imac. It's showing that I have appointments I no longer have. I'm trusting what is on my iphone is correct (because I'm pretty sure), but I can't risk doing that last sync and risk overwriting my iphone calendar when what I'm seeing in iCal I KNOW is not correct....

Please help....

Anita said...

Thanks a lot! It worked!

Crystal's Place said...

This worked, but now I have duplicates of events in my iCal. For ex. I had one event that was in my iCal at 2pm today, but I changed it to 3pm today in my iPhone. After completing all the steps and syncing, my iCal is now showing both, the one at 2pm and 3pm (and a thousand times over w all my other entries). HELP! Thanks a mil!

:D said...

Yay. thanks!

Unknown said...

I followed instructions up to find application/isync. I don't have an isync file anywhere except for microsoft isync. But since my calendars were in the trash I did a sync and it worked!!! all appointments from iphone are now on mac. Thanks so much.

Unknown said...

this totally works for me but i seem to have to do it once a week now. has anyone figure out a longer term fix? is apple working on it? tried to create a workflow in automator but it doesn't include these actions.

MMC said...

I got it! Called tech support and bought an Apple 2 year plan ($249.00) and they told me iCloud required Mountain Lion 10.8.2 ($19.99) and, while downloading, that I would do well to get a virus protection package ($59.00). Now my iCal will sync to my iPhone calendar over iCloud. Phew! That was easy!

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Unknown said...

These steps would replace every calendar item on your iPhone with what is in iCal on your computer.... that doesn't make sense, because this is supposed to fix the problem that the calendar items on your iPhone are not going into iCal on your computer. What if I don't want to lose everything on my iPhone??? How do I get my iPhone to sync to iCal without the step where everything on your phone is overwritten from iCal???

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