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iPhone 101: How to Add a Calendar Appointment on Your iPhone

Welcome to iPhone 101 where we're kicking off the new year for new iPhone owners with an all new, all basic how to series. If you're a beginner, worry not, we've got you covered. If you're a seasoned pro, but keep fielding support calls from friends and family new to the iPhone, we've got you covered as well -- just send them to us!

This time around we're adding calendar events. While you might already be syncing your appointments via Exchange ActiveSync or Apple's MobileMe, or from Outlook or iCal via iTunes, sometimes you may just be out and about and need to add that just-came-up event to your iPhone's calendar directly. Fret not, we'll show you how... after the break!

From the homescreen, tap on the calendar icon. Depending on how you last left it, you'll be greeted by either the List, Day, or Month view. You can add an appointment from any of them.

To start, tap the "+" (plus) button at top right to call up the "Add Event" screen.

Tap on the large, rounded rectangular box that says "Title" and "Location". Give your event a name (Title) and if you want, the location where it's taking place. (This can be either a physical location like "Library" or a virtual one like "")

IMPORTANT: The iPhone doesn't automatically store information as you type it, you absolutely have to hit the "Save" button or you will lose your data.

Continue down, tapping on the additional fields to fill them out. "Start" and "End" times will default to 1hr apart, but you can change either of them to reflect the actual time and duration, or you can toggle the "All-day" slider to "on" to float the event on top of your other appointments (birthdays, for example, typically default to "All-day" events.

Repeat lets you choose common frequency levels for events that you do on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis, and you can easily set custom repetitions as well (every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, for example).

Alerts let you choose to have the iPhone popup a reminder for you, and how long before the event you want that reminder to pop up. If you're only going online or down the hall for a meeting, maybe 5 minutes is enough. If you have to drive across town in traffic, you may want 1 or 2 hours!

If you have multiple calendars, you can also choose on which color-coded calendar you'd like your new event to appear. Family, work, training, etc. can all hold different events. (We'll cover creating custom calendars in a future iPhone 101).

Lastly, you can jot down any Notes, like conference call-in numbers, documents you need to bring, booking references, etc.

When everything is entered and the event is just to your liking, hit "Done" at the top right and your new appointment will show up in your calendar. If you're syncing over the air to Exchange or MobileMe, the iPhone will push out the new appointment near-instantaneously. If you're syncing via iTunes, it will transfer the appointment over next time you attach the USB cable.

Now you've done it, you've added an event directly on your iPhone. Let us know how it worked for you, and if you have any other tips for new users, please drop them in the comments!

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • What is that button with the arrow (in the lower right corner next to List, Day, Month)?
    :shock: I don't have that. There's just blank space.
  • "Repeat lets you choose common frequency levels for events that you do on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis, and you can easily set custom repetitions as well (every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, for example)."
    I'm feeling sorta sheepish, coz I have no idea how to set custom repeats... I don't see the option anywhere. Am I blind?
  • @Steve: this button is to manage event invitations. It will appear if you have Exchange setup.
  • This article should also mention that if you neglect to choose the correct calendar, when first adding an event, you won't be able to edit it later on the iPhone (but can from MobileMe or iCal).
    @M. Elwan: Thanks, that's a relief.
  • Don't get my wrong, I love my iPhone, but the calendar blows. To add an appointment in Palm you just tap on the time slot, time in the appointment and your done. Just 1-click as compared to click on + icon Tap on title
    Type out event Tap Done Tap on Time Scroll to find date (why can't we have a @#%^ date picker that shows a whole month like every other OS/website) Scroll to find time Tap Done Tap Save That's 7 more taps/scrolls than it takes for an OS (Garnet) that's 12 years old! Apple needs to send its engineers to learn the Zen of Palm
  • I have not + sign on my calender. iphone4 how do i add appointments to the calender.
  • I just had the same problem. Here's what I found. In settings, when you go to manage your email accounts, each email account has an option for calendar as well. I had the calendar option selected for a hotmail account, and the account wasn't set-up properly. When I clicked on the hotmail account I was able to turn the calendar option off.
    When I revisited the calendar app I saw the "+" button and was able to add an event. I guess make sure you don't have the email calendars on, or if you do, make sure the account is set-up properly so that you can sync with the iPhone.
    Hope that helps
  • Dude that helps so much. Thanks!! Thats so stupid though
  • Pretty stupid on apples behalf but thanks for the info. I was going crazy trying to figure out how to SIMPLY put things on my calendar.
  • I had the same question...and would have never thought to look at my e mail accounts. Thanks for the wisdom.
  • Thank you Rusty!
  • Thanks a ton that seriously helped just got my iPhone today and calendars are one of the most important things I use on my phone you just saved me so much time and frustration thanks!
  • I was just experimenting with the calender settings and you have to go to "iCloud" in the settings and turn "on" the calender then it should let you add anything!
  • Thank you! This fixed my problem!
  • Mine is doing the same thing I have had every iPhone since they came out and I have never had this problem. I got the white iPhone 4, for Christmas and I want to add something to my calendar and the "+" button was missing what do I do?
  • Also, there does not seem to be anyway to invite other attendees from your address book! - a serious ommission that limits the usabilty of the device in business situations. Apple needs to get this feature in if they hope to make it in the enterprise!
  • @ches:
    My bad, the custom option isn't on the iPhone, it ported itself over from an event I added in iCal... Will fix article now.
  • Yay, so I'm not iRetarded. ^_^
  • Is there a way to add a calendar for my Yahoo mail account? I have my work email, calendar and contacts set up in exchange and would love to be able to sync my personal appointments to my Yahoo calendar that comes with my yahoo mail account.
  • The calendar app is the single worst thing about the iPhone. Too many clicks required, can't search within it for events, can't copy events easily, etc.
    I've had entire threads deleted without a trace on the Apple discussion board by suggesting that Apple could have improved their calendar by looking at the Palm calendar.
    Some apple fanboys (aka the Apple moderators) don't like being told that the iPhone isn't perfect.
    I need a real calendar for business, so I now carry an iPhone and a Garnim Palm iQue3600, which has a real calendar (and a real working turn by turn GPS).
    I use Outlook and Chapura's Pocket Mirror to keep the Palm, Outlook and the iPhone calendars all synchronised.
  • @coop: It's true that the calendar can be pretty tedious when compared with other phones which tend to allow more convenient and speedy event entry.
    But the big difference between the iPhone and every other phone out there can be summed in a paragraph or two by Stephen Fry:
    "The iPhone’s position as an epoch-altering giant, a seismic, paradigm-shifting, cliché-evoking phenomenon has been incontrovertibly affirmed. This is no triumph of style over substance. iPhone is all about function, all about ease and pleasure of real, hard-working use, all about the fundamental understanding that is Steve Jobs and Jony Ive’s (Apple’s Chief Designer) great contribution to digital (and therefore cultural) life in our time – that human beings, willy-nilly, forge relationships even with inanimate objects and that those relationships, being human, take on all the colours of emotion: it is in our DNA for this to be the case. With objects that we spend most hours of most days with such a relationship is far from a secondary consideration. There is no ‘pathetic fallacy’ here, this is not an additional luxury for media types only, a pretentious over-reading for the leisured and chattering classes, this is a deep and important human psychological truth that allows machines to function better: much, much better."
    I guess one of the reasons why "apple fanboys" are so adamant against comparison is because of the iPhone's position as revolution, as gamechanger, as everything it has been purported to be. It's an utterly great phone; there is no denying that in the slightest, and anyone who can say with a straight face that the iPhone sucks is just as biased against it (for whatever reason) as the fanboys are for it.
    But yes, to be fair, there is room for improvement. Could the calendar be better? Of course, just as lots of other things on the iPhone could be. And with all the other companies scrambling to make an answer to the iPhone to make sure they're still in the irreversibly changed game, this only means that the iPhone will get better as Apple continues to change the game again, or maybe just throw in enough surprise plays to keep things interesting.
    But all in all, the fact remains that the iPhone is such a joy to use that it allows me to look past the tedium of calendar entry. I LOVE my iPhone. No other phone can claim to bring the joy that it brings, and the storm by which it has seemingly taken the world would go some way in demonstrating this. Personally, I've used a lot of phones in my years, and the iPhone is a keeper for me.
    And I ain't an Apple fanboy either.
  • The Calendar doesn't need search, or syncing with weird, unnecesary outsider apps. People just want to complicate their lives with too much detail, with all kinds of workarounds, on multiple devices, across too many platforms... while Apple works to simplify their lives... and this annoys people for some reason.
    Get a Mac, an iPhone, and whatever other Apple products and software you need! Otherwise, shut the f*ck up with your miserable whining!
  • Thanks for the tutorial. But is there a way to make the calendar generate an audible alarm? My old Palm OS calendars all did this, and I used those reminders a lot. This feature is especially important if you are carrying your iPhone in your pocket or case when the alarm occurs.
  • @Michael Muller: There is an "Alert" in the iPhone Calendar. I've never used it yet so I can't say "how" audible it is (as far as volume). But it's there.
  • How do I enter a time that is not on a 5-minute interval? My train leaves at 8:43, not 8:40 or 8:45...
  • @Steve -- wow, tell us how you really feel. If you think that suggestions as to adding Search or the ability to add Attendees to a meeting (which is pretty basic calendaring functionality) is "whining", you better not go for that job in product development...
  • Did I miss something or there is actually no way to invite people when creating an outlook meeting from the phone?
    I don't beleive this is an activesync limitation since I am able to do it from a treo running windows. I haven't seen many people complain about it but if they want to make it a corporate device then this is a must have.
    Is there a workaround?
  • 34234tf fdf
  • Its true, calendar on iPhone sucks. I have spent 2 weeks looking for a replacement. Have not found anything that is close to Palm - and that app was written years ago and never changed.
    The purpose of having a walk-about computer is to only have one of them. This means that good solid apps need to be available in all categories - perhaps especially calendars.
    No custom repeat, no alarm settable to minute intervals, repeat alarm does not do anything if set to the same figure as alarm, dozen taps to do anything. What a useless joy. Sync seems to be coming along, although I'm desk bound and only use my workstation to make invitations.
    I actually know an iCal engineer personally. I suggested providing a selection on an appointment for silencing the phone. Then after the appointment, automatically re-enabling the sound. No more disruptions when it isn't polite, no more missed calls or missed alarms with the sound off. This apps for you.
    I guess now I understand the dreamy, wish upon a star, look - instead of predatory excited glee. It was never, never in my life.
    Thanks for the clear truth.
    I will post again if I find a decent calendar.
    Without a good calendar, I personally don't need an iPhone.
    Perhaps Apple should not have fallen out with Palm.
  • Thanks for the tutorial! I am having a problem with my boss' iPhone: calendar sync works via an over-the-air link back to the Exchange server and all the appointments and updates arrive on the iPhone fine. When he edits an even via the iPhone, it hits his Exchange calendar just fine. HOWEVER, updates do not go out to other attendees.
    Example: He and I have an appointment for Friday @ 4pm. From his Outlook, he moves it to 3pm and I get the update. Friday, he's stuck in a meeting and, via his iPhone, he moves the appointment to 4:30pm. The update shows on his calendar via Exchange, Outlook, and OWA, but I never get the update at all.
    Any ideas? Please? Thanks!
  • It looks like everyone is having a same problem but is there any way I can enter repeat that is beyond every 2 weeks, say 3 or 4? When I choose every month, it sets on the date of the month not every second Sat of the month etc.
  • Love the iphone but how do you change settings to keep calendar data more than a month? Lots of appointments I want to check back on, say six months ago - gone, baby, gone! NEED HELP!!
  • I too am frrrusssstrated by ical. One of the reasons to have a pda/phone is so that you never need to forget your in-laws birthday again - but when you use the listing in address book it shows up only on the desktop version of iCal and not on the phone! - how useless is that?! can anyone help?
  • I have the same issues HNKelley is having.
    Other issues:
    -- Create an invitation with others - I cannot just select additional email addresses to add to the meeting.
    -- Cancel I appointment I created. If for whatever reason I need to just remove, I cannot - The only thing I can do is decline
    If there is a way, thanks in advance for letting me know
  • On iphone there a way to repeat monthly meetings and have them go to i.e. every second Wednesday of month, instead of to same actual numerical date in the following month ???? Maybe I'm just not smart enough to use this thing
  • I have learned to deal with the "issues" of the calendar, bc I love so many other parts of the iPhone....but now that I don't use Outlook for syncing, but now gmail...where is my calendar stored on the computer? I don't use mobile me, while none of my saved events are stored in gmail's calender online. I know they are stored somewhere, bc I did a reset, and feared I lost the scheduled appts, bu they all came back. Help?
  • For the moment the only thing that you can do to INVITE people seems indeed using Microsoft Outlook Web Access (OWA) in the Safari browser. It is not ideal, but it works for me. Maybe microsoft should make an iPhone version of OWA because you have to do a lot of zooming in and out to navigate through the interface.
  • Fine, the iPhone is a game changer. Now let's make it useful, please. I need calendar alarms that repeat nagging me at selectable intervals without my intervention. If I don't hear the one and only alarm for an event, I'm screwed!
    Palm provides this function.
  • I really, really need to see my calendar while on a there anyway to do this on the iphone?
  • If you use the Exchange calendar on Entourage on your lap top (and not iCal) there is the facility for setting custom repeats (eg third Wednesdays) and these seem to come across accurately on synching to the iphone. But as far as i can see there's no way to set custom repeats on the iPhone itself.
  • Well you are wrong as far as I can tell; the calendar on the iPhone does not allow repeating events for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. of a given month. So there isn't the ability to add holidays to the calendar without adding each event. Example; Thanksgiving occurs on the 3rd Thursday of each November, with iPhone this is impossible to make a recurring event. Such an over site makes the iPhone calendar anything but the preeminent app. Considering how much Apple likes to pat themselves on the back it is extremely poor design.
  • Calendar sucks. Beside palm, blackberry calendar at least allows to send the meeting req to others. This is basic. Is there any custom app available to resolve this issue
  • ?????????? ??????? – ??? ??? ?????? ????????, ??? ??????? ????? ??? ?????? ???????????? ?? ??????? ?? ??????????? ?????????. ????????? ?????????? ?????? ?????? ?????? ? ????????????? ?????. ??????????? ???????? ???????? ????????? ????????, ????????? ????????? ??????. ??????????? ?? ???????? ???????? ????????? + 500 ?????? ?? ????!
  • ?????????? ????? ??? ????? ?????????? - ??? ???? ?????????? ? ???? ? ???????????? ???????? ??????? ? ???????? ??????. ? ??????????? ????????? ????? ????? ??????? ? ?????? ????? ????????? ???? ???????? ???????. ????? ?????????? ? ????? ????? ???! ??? ????????? ??? ????? ? ?????. ??? ?? ??????? ?????? ????? ????????? ?????? ? ?????????, ???? ?????????? ? ??????? ?? ???? ??????. ??? ??????????? ????? ??? ??????? ?????? ???????????? ? ?????? ? ???? ????? ?????????!
  • Do you if it is possible to set an appointment as private? We are setting up a mail server with calendar sharing and it would be useful to set the appointment as 'public' (to be seen in details by others) or as 'private' (to be seen just as 'busy').
    Nokia E71 does that. Can Iphone do this or something similar?
  • How can I set a "default" fumction which automatically sets an alarm 15 minutes before the event's start time? That feature is available on the blackberry. Can it also be set on the iPhone?
    Thank you
  • A public water system that does not serve the same people year-round. ,
  • I have the same problem as Jonathan's comment on Feb 18, 2009. On iphone (3GS) cal, almost all events disappear off the cal once the event is more than about 45 days in the past. Interestingly, recurring events (those set to reoccur at that date in the future), do not drop off - they seem to stay on all past months. Any solutions to this so I can keep a history of appointments.
  • I have an iphone 3g and I am using an exchange account. When I receive meeting appointments in my emial from someone else on my iphone, they do not get added on my iphone calendar. Please help.
  • OK, so why can't I SEND a meeting request using iPhone?
    I have an 8GB 3GS, and when I go to enter an appointment, I don't get an option to "add invitees".
    Shouldn't this be a pretty standard option, or am I missing something here??
  • I am a hairstylist. If someone is scheduled on my calendar, other than putting the client's number in Notes, why can't I call them directly from Calendar where I've typed in their name? I have get out of Calendar, go to Contacts, look up the client's name to make a call. It seems silly that I can't call the person in my Calendar. Can anyone help answer how?
    Thanks in advance.
  • True, the lack of an audible alarm setting on the phone is crazy. Normally I set up appointments in iCal on the Mac, then sync, and the alert sound goes on both Mac and iPhone. But I set up my note to phone the doctor about my cholesterol test on the iPhone, so the alert never sounded. Five days later I remembered myself...
    Just a bad, bad app, full of flaws and lacks.
  • Can you please show how to do the custom repeat? For example, I need to repeat an event on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday only; for the week.
  • How does one change the calendar type (work to personal or the reverse) on a calendar entry? I often forget to designate which calendar when entering an item and that choice disappears after the initial entry is saved!
  • I'm not too concerned with the number of clicks.. But it would be nice if the calendar even worked... So far I've got Calendar and Youtube which do not work and Stocks which is worthless for a trader... Not to mention Safari..The slowest slug of a browser I've ever encountered.. And an iPod icon.. None of which I can delete to free up space on the screen..
    Couple that with lousy photo capacity..And surprise! No video.. i think the iPhone is an over hyped piece of crap.
  • Did I mention that wifi is slower than 3G.. Whoah! There's value for you!
  • When I create an event by clicking on the plus icon, a page pops up that has a date one month into the future. How can I make the calendar understand that I want the date that I'm presently looking at for my new event.
  • Does anyone know how the iphone picks the times that it picks? For instance, create a new event, and look at the time it fills the example on this page, it's 6:00 pm. Whenever I create a new event the time "default" is never the same, and I can't seem to discern a pattern or logic to it. I'd like to know how I can control it, so I could manipulate it closer to my target time and maybe skip a field... Thnx in