Sunday, August 22, 2010

iPhone's very annoying calendar color limitation

There are three features of the iPhone Calendar that prove Apple is not made of geniuses ...
  1. The maximum alert time is 2 days. Sidekick for DOS 2.1 had longer alert times. If I could kick some engineer's butt for every birthday card I've sent late ....
  2. iOS can't handle birthdays for anyone over 77. Let's see - my parents, my aunts ...
  3. Calendar colors are assigned per server, not per phone. So my Family Calendar (ActiveSync via Google) and my Corporate Calendar (ActiveSync Corporate) are both assigned the color red [1]. I can't tell them apart visually.
Not only are these stupid blunders, they've been stupid blunders for over a year.

No, Apple is not made up of geniuses. Neither is Google. Both companies have lots of limitations.

[1] Quick tip: Calendar color fix for iPhone and iPod touch
... 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...

7 comments:

Martin said...

Another workaround: Use CalDAV instead of Exchange.

John Gordon said...

Yes, that is good to mention. Google clearly prefers ActiveSync (Exchange) and it works better if I change calendar assignments, change invitees, and 1-2 other things.

Martin said...

What's preferable to use for e-mail in your opinion, Exchange or IMAP?

Martin said...

I'm now using IMAP and Exchange for e-mail simultaneously.

First conclusions:

Push mail works with Exchange, that's only an advantage because Apple doesn't support IMAP IDLE though.

Mail.app with Exchange ignores my label configuration in Google Apps mail, i.e. all labels are shown, including labels I don't need. In IMAP, I can hide such labels thanks to Google Labs.

A general annoyance remains: Mail.app only updates the inbox automatically, other folders/labels don't get updated automatically (and I've many of them due to heavy usage of filters). In addition, all labels are shown while in Google Apps Mail, I see only labels/folders with unread mail.

Martin said...

First conclusions for calendar via Exchange:

The color issue, of course. It's not dramatic, however, since only my main Google calendar is listed. How can I add my other calendars?

For CalDAC, I have to change the Google language to English and can then select them via the following obscure URL:

https://www.google.com/calendar/hosted/DOMAINNAME/iphoneselect

Is there another such URL for Exchange?

John Gordon said...

IF you're using Exchange adding other calendars is weird, but Google does document it:

http://www.google.com/support/mobile/bin/answer.py?answer=139206.

At the moment I'm using Exchange for email, but I think IMAP works better. The only advantage w/ using ActiveSync for google mail is simplicity of setup (if you use ActiveSync for calendar) and push notifications.

Martin said...

Ah, the language issue again. Changing the language to English (US), I can access the sync dialogue. I was surprised that I had apparently configured a Nokia smartphone some time ago. Unfortunately, that Nokia smartphone supported only one calendar back then … ;)