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Quick tip: Calendar color fix for iPhone and iPod touch

One of the many new features introduced in the iPhone 2.0 update is the ability for the iPhone’s calendar app to recognize multiple calendars you have in iCal or Google calendar. If you sync your calendar to your iPhone through USB, you may notice a bug where the colors displayed in the iPhone calendar don’t match up with the colors in iCal. Although this appears to be a bug that Apple will have to fix, there are a few homemade workaround solutions you can try if you’re as meticulous about your colors matching as we are.

Solution 1, syncing through MobileMe

Although syncing through USB doesn’t match the colors, push synchronization through MobileMe does. If you already have a MobileMe account, all you need to do is make sure iCal syncs with your account, and then you simply create your MobileMe account on your iPhone and set it to sync with your calendar. Make sure your iCal syncs with first, or you may lose the calendar data on your iPhone.

Another problem arises with this solution however, where subscribed calendars on iCal do not appear on Until Apple finds a solution for this, the only current workaround is to export your subscribed calendar in iCal and then reimport it as a new calendar. This will create it as new calendar and will properly sync with MobileMe, and to stop duplicate calendars from showing on iCal you can simply check one of them off to stop displaying it. The only problem with this is if you use subscribed calendars that others will change often, in which case you’ll have to do this each time you want to update the calendar on MobileMe and on your iPhone.

If you do not have a MobileMe account, 60 day free trials are available at

Solution 2, “choose” your iPhone calendar colors

Calendar on the iPhone will assign colors in a certain order for your first five calendars: red, orange, blue, green, and purple. Afterward, any more calendars are assigned a random color out of those five. To manipulate this, use iTunes to sync only selected calendars in the “Info” tab. First sync the one that you want to be red, then sync again including your second calendar that you want to be orange, and so forth. You can create extra calendars to use to “skip” a color if you wish, then delete later at your leisure.

There are a couple minor solutions you can try as well, in iTunes if you go to the “Info” tab and choose to replace your calendar info in the “Advanced” section, colors will be randomly reassigned to your calendars on your iPhone. You can keep doing this until you get lucky, or are satisfied with the colors for each calendar. One last thing you can do is simply change the colors of your calendars in iCal to match with the colors on your iPhone, although if you have been using iCal for a while and the colors are hard-coded into your brain, then this is probably not a particularly viable solution. Know of a fix not mentioned here? Be sure to let us know!


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