iPhone 3.0 How To: Easily Subscribe to US Holidays, Sports Team Schedules, Movie Release Dates, and More!


iPhone 3.0 features Calendar Subscriptions, where you can enter the URL for a shared calendar and near-instantly add it to your iPhone.

That's all well and good to share a family or business calendar, but what about more wide-ranging ones? What about national holidays, religious events, movie release dates, sports team schedules? Luckily, Apple's already made this simple for Mac OS X iCal users, and even more luckily it works just as simply for iPhone 3.0 users as well.

We'll share how, after the break...

Adding Subscription Calendars

Just point Mobile Safari on your iPhone to: http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/calendars/. Apple provides categories for Most Recent, Most Popular, Alphabetical, Staff Picks, plus a handy search box. Once you find a calendar that interests you, click the Download link.

Your iPhone will ask if you want to subscribe (see image above), and once you confirm, will offer to take you straight to your calendar events to see what's new.


Viewing Subscribed Calendars

Each subscription is given its own calendar in the iPhone Calendar App, so you can choose just that calendar to view. All views, month, day, and details are supported.


Removing Subscribed Calendars

Not all shared calendars are created -- or maintained -- equally. Movie Release Dates doesn't seem to include June or July yet (making it rather useless at the moment), though national holidays and others seem quite up to date.

If you subscribe to a calendar that later disappoints, just head on over to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendar. You'll see all your subscriptions listed under Accounts. Choose the one you want to edit or remove, and hit Delete Account if it displeases you.


Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iPhone 3.0 How To: Easily Subscribe to US Holidays, Sports Team Schedules, Movie Release Dates, and More!


OK... Why is this not working for me? Ive got 3.0 and I follow the instructions. After I clock on the link, nothing happens. Am I missing a setting?

Not working on my iPhone 3GS, instead I get an error "Download Failed: Safari cannot download this file."

Well it worked somehow for me .I don't know, it wouldn't let me subscribe when i clicked download ,but when i left the page in safari(iphone 2g 3.0)the subscribe window showed up and now it's working great.

This is awesome! I know I can do it on my Mac, but I didn't know the iPhone can do that too! Thanks!!!

Didn't worked when I clicked it on my 3g but if I hold my finger on the download link as If I was going to copy it the subscribe box came up.. Might try that alot better then rebooting everything

The process is not instant. You have to wait a bit in some instances for the acknowledgment to pop up. And there are some calendars (Moon Phase) which for some reason are not working.

Just be patient with it. You may have to click it a couple times. Worked great for me. Will the sports teams update automatically through iCal or will I hav to download it again?

FYI...for those who use Google Calendar...these ICS files can be imported into GoogCal and then sync'd to your iPhone. With 3.0, Google Sync now supports up to 25 calendars!

I had to click on it three times for it to work. It then popped up with a "Subsribe to US Holidays Calendar?"
Just try it a few times.

Do these sync back to iCal? Or over MobileMe?
i would like to know this also is there a way to merge this calender with the mobile me one i use now?

I had to hold down download and the pop up for "open,open in new page..." came up and i hit open in new page then it downloaded.

For those of you that it is not working, there is a very simple work around for every calendar that I have tried so far, I have not had a single problem. I think the issue you may be having is that Safari is trying to download.
So instead, navigate to that same website from your mac or pc, copy the links into an email, you can create one email with all the links you want to subscribe to in the body of the email, send it to yourself.
On the iPhone, open the email and click on the links ONE AT A TIME, waiting for the dialogue box to popup before you click on the next. You'll see the same box shown above, click to subscribe and then move on to the next.
Works every time

Now the calendar App needs to allow you to show only certain calendars at a time and hide others. I would like to have my favorite baseball team schedule available, but I don't need to see it all the time, I'd like to be able to selectively view it when needed. Otherwise I have little dots on every day and they usually do affect me on a daily basis.
While I'm suggesting something...how about a landscape week at a glance view instead of the list view?

You can also do this with the public Google calendars. Simply find a public calendar you like (I prefer Google's holidays calendar to Apples since it goes more years ahead and includes more holidays) and email yourself the link to the iCal (http://www.google.com/calendar/ical/usa__en@holiday.calendar.google.com/... for example).
Open the email on your iPhone, click the link, and it will ask you if you want to add it.
I prefer this method to adding all of the holidays to my actual google calendar (done via importing the above link) since it shows them as a different color even on the phone.
I presume this would work for any site that allows you to get a public iCal file.

I just found this site, which provides a ton of iCal style calendars. I haven't tried, but presumably, all of these could be subscribed to from an iPhone.

**Another Workaround is to open a second blank page in mobile safari and the download pops right up!

Another source of Calendars is Google Calendars. They have some public ones, (rather limited).
But you can create a special calendar and share it with others.
And of cource, you can push events (invitations) to other people's calendars, which arrive in their email. If that happens to be a gmail account, you can add it to the calendar right from that Email.
oh, and @d.allen:

calendars seem very dated,

How very droll... ;-/

by droll.. did you mean troll.. lol.. I love my iphone, so.. no, that wouldn't be me.. I'm not sure what I was expecting I guess.. after all.. its just a calendar. :) Glad they brought this to the attention of folks though, like I said, if they were updated, this would be really nice.

Ok, so I have MobileMe and subsribed to a bunch of calendars from my mac... is it just me or do my subscribed calendars not sync over MobileMe?

Am I missing the search box? I see the normal iTunes store search, but it doesn't return calendar results.

Damn... never mind. That iTunes store search actually works fine. Calendar results just don't show up in the quick search drop-down.

You can add calendars manually by on the iPhone by selecting “Settings” > “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” > ”Add Account…” under “Accounts” Select “Other” at the bottom select "Add Subscribed Calendar" (or CalDAV for CalDav calendars, like Google), then paste in the URL to the .ics file. Worked fine for me, adding my F1 calendar :)
Although this is a fairly convoluted process Apple, thanks! Surely you'd think you just click the link to the .ics file in Safari, but no!
F1 calendars are here BTW if anyone wants them: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/calendar/default.stm

Nice, I was doubting that calendar subscriptions would be useful in a non-business setting.
I subscribed successfully to the Patriots calendar, but there's nothing on it yet. I would imagine it will be updated as the season approaches. I have mobileme though, so I think mine will update automatically when the schedule is added. I'm not sure how it works without mobileme.

I had to double tap the link and then it worked (odd) but I've got all the US Holidays on my iPhone now :) yay!

This feature is awesome. I've been using the Firefox plugin ReminderFox along with the free icalx.com site. Now I can get the icalx calendars synced to my phone! Perfect!

How can you change the color of the subscribed calendar events? On iCal on the Mac, you can get info and change it, but I could not find a way to do it on the iPhone.

The problem with some of the calendars is that the ics file that the link points to is zipped (*.ics.zip) and it seems like mobile safari can't handle this. Anyone know a solution?

Just bought a Mythic for myself and are going to be receiving a single for my wife quickly! It has just the proper mix of attributes. just brief of a complete smartphone. I'm keeping an eye about the Captivate for any possible future phone...price ranges are way too large when released. I've been in higher tech for 20+ many years and generally hack every little thing I personal to create it far better laptops, GPS, vehicle navigation techniques, etc. and yes cell phones too. In the couple of days I've owned the telephone I've already installed Opera Mini, Bolt 2.1, freecaddie, Google Maps w/GPS functionality, deleted all locked useless apps after backing them up and absolutely modified the menu method to my exact requirements with out all ineffective apps.

I had a pain finding good sport schedule calendars with this method (not much on that link you mentioned and the dates/times aren't normally 100% current). There is an app I found called SportSchedule that allows me to get sport games onto my iphone calendar...works pretty well. Their website is www.sportscheduleapp.com

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