HT4576: iOS: How to adjust Time Zone Support for calendarsLearn about iOS: How to adjust Time Zone Support for calendars
Currently Being ModeratedMar 6, 2013 7:58 AM (in response to pinkfloyd1969)
What is so hard about this? I don't want ANY TIME ZONE FEATURES AT ALL. I want the calendar to behave JUST LIKE A PAPER CALENDAR. If I indicate an appointment in Paris at 10:15, it shouldn't matter whether I made the appointment while in Paris, New York or Timbuktu. When I put the time in my calendar I MEAN LOCAL TIME, as in when I will be there. You would think turning Time Zone Support off on all of your devices would accomplish this, but IT DOES NOT. Whenever I cross timezones, my appointment times all change! I WANT NO ONE TO CHANGE A TIME I PUT IN MY CALENDAR EVER, FOR ANY REASON! How f'ing hard is this to get, Apple? I have seen and read hundreds of similar posts for years. I am heavily invested in Apple equipment, so changing to Google calendars will be a pain, but I'm close to doing just that. Please make this fix, and start listening to your customers. LET US OPT OUT OF ALL TIMEZONE FEATURES!!!
Currently Being ModeratedMar 6, 2013 8:45 AM (in response to Beachbum33)
The problem, however, like I was mentioning in my last post - it doesn't matter what system you go to. Every calendar app you use (Google, Outlook, etc) will inherently want you to be more precise than your paper calendar because they are inherently different than a paper calendar. When you specify a time on ANY calendar app, you are inherently specifying a very precise point in time, not just a "time" (ie you are specifying that time in a given time zone) -- and this is a MUST for any calendar app to properly do its job (sharing calendars, meeting requests, etc). Think about it - if someone in a different time zone sends you a meeting request at "4pm", how in the world do you know when that appointment really is? Did they mean their time zone or yours? And if it were to appear at 4pm on both of your calendars, one of you is wrong.
Also - keep in mind...when you change time zones, the calendar is not changing when your appointment occurs..it's keeping it at the same exact point in time that you said it was - which is precisely why the time label changes when you go to a different time zone. Suppose you schedule an appointment at 5pm while in CST. If you fly to PST and the calendar still showed your appointment at 5pm, internally, it would have had to actually shift the start & end time of your appt by 2 hours (reschedule your alarms, etc).
Apple HAS given you three useful features already to navigate this: 1) with time zone support turned on, you can specify the time zone of the event you are scheduling -- so if you mean "4pm CST", you can set the time zone as part of setting the event (with time zone support turned off, Calendar just assumes you are specifying the time in the local time zone because it has no way of knowing otherwise). This is perhaps the most useful of all three features. 2) with time zone support on, you can lock all your calendar to a specific time zone. To me, this isn't a very useful feature because it would effectively make alarms useless to me while I travel. 3) You can use floating time zones where your events will shift to preserve the same "time" when you change time zones...Personally - I'd advise that you use those sparingly for alarm clock like features (like I want to run at 6am no matter where I am). I wouldn't advise using FTZ for scheduling appointments because you'll inadvertently end up making mess (consider the impact of all your appointments changing to an unexpected time because you have an unexpected business trip come up between now when when you thought you might be in a certain time zone).
You mentioned you wanted to switch to Google - but you'll have the same issue there as well. With Google, you must specify your "current" time zone. All events you schedule will be created in that time zone. Now, you could be tempted to leave your Google calendar in, say, CST, even when you fly out to the PST time zone. All your "times" will appear to be "correct" just like you entered them - but (just like option 2 in Apple's calendar app) if you rely on Google's text/email alarms - those alarms will be firing in whatever time zone the event is (so even though you are thinking about your 5pm appt as being 5pm PST, you've told Google it's 5pm CST, thus your alarm will fire 2 hours off of when you are expecting it). Additionally, if you send that meeting as an invite to someone else (or share your Google calendar with anyone), they will all see it as 5pm CST, not 5pm PST.
Google does give you 1 feature that Apple doesn't which is that you can lock a single calendar to a specific time zone. So if you live in CST and you often fly to PST, you can make a calendar that you use specifically for your PST appointments and just tell Google that your normal calendar is CST, but if you schedule any appointments on this one specific calendar, you will be specifying the times in PST.
Hope that helps clear things up a bit. I just didn't want you to be surprised when you moved to another calendar app that you'd discover it behaves just like Apple's does.
Currently Being ModeratedMar 6, 2013 8:55 AM (in response to Beachbum33)
Sorry you're so frustrated, but it's really not that easy to deal with phones that can move into different time zones. One cannot just opt out of that. Do you want your phone to only show you the time from its original time zone? If not, you'll have to do the math in your head to determine what time you need to add to an appointment.
I'll restate my point on time zone support. In iOS6 and Mountain Lion, if you turn ON time zone support and set your time zone to your home time zone, the calendar will work just as you want it to work. That is, the times on your calendar will not change when you travel to a new time zone, and all the times you enter will default to your home time zone, not your current time zone (the time zone can be changed per appointment).
If you're running earlier versions of iOS and Mac OS X, I guess it does not work the same way.
I see that chrismcs answered this much better than I did.
Message was edited by: mwestley
Currently Being ModeratedMar 25, 2013 9:06 AM (in response to mwestley)
When you say turn on time zone support do you mean in ical or the device clock or both. It would be nice if Apple had a knowledge base article explaining how thie various options work in osX and iOS, and how they interact.
The trouble with experimenting is that you run the risk of getting your calendar all screwed up.
Currently Being ModeratedMar 25, 2013 10:35 AM (in response to chrismcs)
It's funny, we start to get into a philosophy of time!
chrismcs, this seems to me very much an engineer's concept -- to be precise about what point in time we are talking about. In my view the ONLY time this is actually useful - pinpointing an actual time, then translating that into the local time of the individual users - is when planning a conference call/skype/gotomeeting/etc with participants from different time zones. That's the only case, and in that case I would be FINE with, say, a nominal time announced by the inviter (eg, 4:30 PST). BECAUSE if I am in NYC and you are in SF and we are planning to meet in person in SF, but we are planning the meeting prior to my trip, I need to translate when I make the appointment. That is, EITHER the meeting shows up in my calendar in PST or EST. If EST, my 4:30 meeting shows up in the calendar as 7:30. So if another friend says, hey, can you have dinner with me that night, I say no I can't I have a meeting at 7:30... no, wait I don't, that's actually.... 4:30, so OK!
95% of the time, what is important is the numerical time. So wherever you go, when you look forward to that appointment, you know what time it will be happening WHEN YOU ARE THERE.
Currently Being ModeratedMar 25, 2013 10:54 AM (in response to mesh-arc)
And it would be nice if there was a "fixed" option for times entered on the calendar so regardless of what time zone you are in, the calendar time and all associated alerts will stay fixed and will display and alert at the appropriate times.
To me, it doesn't make sense to have every timed appointment change times to whatever time zone I'm in. It's easier for me to make a time zone adjustment in my head when scheduling one event rather than view my calendar in another time zone, view all the times incorrectly and have to change the calendar time zone to view all times properly.
When a "smart" calendar causes people to miss events due to changing time zones it can't be that smart.
Currently Being ModeratedMar 25, 2013 1:48 PM (in response to mesh-arc)
mesh-arch: Given that I spend my days delevoping a Calendar app, I'm always thinking about the philosphy of time :-) So, you're probably right - I'm giving a more "engineery" type response because that's my world. For the record, I totally get the issue you are describing (and, in fact, have been bitten by it myself a couple times). Unfortunately, it's not one that there are easy solutions for because at some level, if you remove the burden of the user specifying the "intended" time zone, you are almost requiring that the Calendar app be able to read your mind....among other issues, a calendar app has no way to know if a given event actually involves people in other time zones. For instance - let me tweak your scenario: While you are still in EST, your wife says "be sure to call little Johnny every night before he goes to bed at 8pm". So, you put a 15 minute phone call on your calendar at 8pm for every night that you'll be in San Francisco. Once you hit SF, however, that appointment now changes to 8pm PST and you end up calling your son at 11pm his time.
So there's the rub - how does a calendar app know which events it should "shift" and which ones it shouldn't? Probably the best solution I've seen for this would be what I mentioned in my previous post..Google Calendar (and our calendar app for that matter :-)) support the ability to lock a single calendar into a given time zone. That way - it's exactly what you want: your dinner appointment shows up at the same time regardless what time zone you are currently in (and you are implicitly telling the calendar app that everything enter on this calendar is in time zone X and that you always want to pretend like you are in time zone X when you look at events on this calendar). In the above scenario, you'd schedule dinner appointments on your San Francisco calendar, but you'd put Johnny's phone call on your "home" calendar and everything works magically (unfortunately, Apple's calendar doesn't support this feature...).
Barring solutions like that, however, you'll keep bumping into problems where the calendar app simply doesn't know key information to do its job, like: where will you actually be during a given event, will this event ever be sent out as a meeting request to other people, is your calendar is being shared by people in other time zones, etc, etc...it has to be ready for any scenario, and that is why it's requiring you to be specific. The trick is finding a solutions that abstract the time zone complexity away from the user while still allowing the calendar to perform all its time zone-specific duties (firing alarms at the right time, sharing calendar data with others, etc) -- those aren't always easy solutions to come by.
pinkfloyd1969: The "fixed" option does exist in Apple's calendar app. With time zone support turned on, you can schedule events in a "floating" time zone -- which means the calendar will update those events (and alerts) whenever you change time zones so that the event (and alert) preserve their "time" in the local time zone. In my previous post, I mentioned some of the evils of floating time zones, but if you are willing to live with the limitations (and dangers) of them, that might be the way to go. One thing to keep in mind -- since you are binding those events to the "current calendar time zone", when you fly somewhere and update your time zone on your laptop, you also need to update your calendar's time zone as well so that the alarms on your floating events update to the local time zone...also - keep in mind that in our ever-connected world (where I'm actively sharing calendars with my wife and both my kids), events in floating time zones have some interesting properties. For instance, I schedule my event at 5pm EST with an alarm firing at 15 minutes before the event. I now fly to PST and update my calendar's time zone so that it reschedules my event for 5pm PST. I'm happy because my event shows at the "right" time in my time zone...but now suppose my wife is sharing my calendar back home. We will each get alarms for that same event at 2 different times (I'll get an alarm at 4:45pm PST, she'll get the alarm at 4:45pm EST). Also, we will each perceive that appointment as occurring at two different points in time (we each see that appointment occurring at 5pm in our own time zone - which means she never really knows if I'm in or out of my meeting....so by solving the problem for yourself, you created the same problem for evey single person who shares your calendar). Again - these may all be non-issues for your specific situation.
Currently Being ModeratedMar 25, 2013 2:09 PM (in response to chrismcs)
Does the floating time zone exist for the iOS version of ical? I know I can do floating time zones on osX. (I use busycal which has had that feature for a while, but I didn't think the feature was supported by iOS. Does iOS 6 incorporate that feature?
That would go a long ways towards solving my problem.
I also think having separate calendars for separate time zones would be a reasonable solution if apple offered that. Just for the sake of simplicity I am trying to stay within the apple eco system.
Currently Being ModeratedMar 25, 2013 2:19 PM (in response to waldhaus1)
Sort of. You can turn on Time Zone Support in the Mail, Calendar & Contacts settings. From there, it will show you the time zone that a given event is scheduled in. And if you've made a "floating" event, then it will show you that the time zone is floating...and if you change time zones, that event floats along just like on the desktop. However, I don't see any way within iOS to create a brand new event that is floating - it seems like you can still only create floating events on the desktop.
Currently Being ModeratedMar 25, 2013 2:21 PM (in response to chrismcs)
two good examples: With Little Johnny, I would MUCH rather say to myself, to call Johnny at 8pm, I'll need to call at 5pm PST, so I'll set my reminder at 5pm. So there my personal experience/instincts don't align to yours.
However, in the example of the shared calendar, shared between people in different time zones, that's thorny. And that's why you are thinking like an engineer. You want to avoid conflicts like that. The only solution is to be rigorous and use absolute time to set everything. But in the vast majority of cases - where appointments are personal or within a time zone, not shared between different zones - we want our appointments stuck to a number.The current time may change when we travel, but appointments are appointments. To account for the exceptions, I would allow an option in the calendar app (an option when you create an appointment) to set "absolute" time - this would peg the time to my current time zone and if I sent out that appointment, it would adjust itself to the recipient's zone. Default would be a fixed numerical time.
BTW, when I travel, I never change my laptop to the local time. It is way easier to do the math in my head when I look at the clock on the laptop than to deal with the insanity of shifting appointments. That is kind of lame, don't you think??
Currently Being ModeratedMar 25, 2013 2:29 PM (in response to waldhaus1)
iOS does not have a floating option, only iCal on the computer, which is how I've been doing it and it seems to work fine.
chrismcs, I don't have to worry about multiple people using my calendar. Personally, I think that's a dangereous thing to do anyway and I'd never do it. As I mentioned above, I use floating times for most everything.
"Fixed" would just be better terminology for it, rather than floating, since the time stays fixed regardless of time zones. To me, "floating" seems to infer that it would move around with you rather than be fixed. Maybe Apple needs to change their app to have a fixed option and a new floating option where new floating times actually change with time zones. This seems to me to be the most logical and simplistic way of doing things.
Either way, there are reasons for both fixed and changing times. However, I think more people would prefer "fixed" to be that standard method and only have to change new floating times when the need arises.
Having to change my calendar time zone to input an event, then choose floating to have it display correctly for all time zones is a backwards way of having to ensure that your calendar works the way you want it to work.
Currently Being ModeratedMay 21, 2013 11:14 AM (in response to Beachbum33)
I couldn't agree with you more!!! I'm sick of making appointments in one time zone and then not being able to see the correct time when I'm in another time zone. It's a big mess! I may have to go back to a paper calendar!
Currently Being ModeratedJun 3, 2013 12:48 PM (in response to pinkfloyd1969)
Again, I look at the replies and I come to the same conclusion. There are a subset of us who want NO TIME ZONE SUPPORT at all. We are not concerend with the impact an entry has on calendar sharing. I KNOW WHERE I'LL BE AND WHAT TIME I MEAN WHEN I ENTER AN APPOINTMENT! When I make an entry for next week at 2pm, I know what time zone I will be in and that's all that matters to me! I move around between time zones a lot, and am constantly missing meetings and running late (or early) because ICal keeps changing the time I entered. Turning off time zone support should do just that! It should turn all time support off and allow me to "fix" my appointment times to a universal time. Not only from this string of replies, but from conversations with others, I believe that this is a feature that many people want, and I can't understand why Apple engineers are so recalictrant about giving in on this.