If you travel frequently, you’ve undoubtedly run into the trouble of calculating different time zones for reminders and appointments on your iPhone.
One Reddit user recently brought up an interesting point about setting time zones in the Calendar app. Essentially, they expressed how the way it works doesn’t make much sense to them.
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Here’s our take on the issue and a few things you can do if you’re running into the same problem.
The time zone problem
As Redditor thalassicus notes, Apple’s native iOS Calendar app sets (and maintains) calendar events based on the local time of your device. But that means it’ll also update any calendar events to the current local time. Here’s an example.
You’re in San Diego and planning a trip to New York City on Monday. You set a calendar event (lunch with friends) for 1 p.m. on Monday on your iPhone.
When you arrive in New York City on Monday, your iPhone’s clock will be set to EST. But that also means the Calendar will be set to EST, too.
Your 1 p.m. event will be then switched to local time and turn into a 4 p.m. event. You missed your lunch with friends.
Whether or not this is a problem for you really depends on how much you travel, how you travel, and whether you’re used to converting events to local time ahead of time.
With that being said, if you’ve ever run into problems setting Calendar events across time zone in the past, there are a couple things you can do — right on your iOS device.
A couple of workarounds
Like we said, it isn’t clear if this is actually a major issue for many people. Some people would likely just do the math and set the calculated event in the proper time zone.
But that’s an admittedly convoluted process. And if you’re setting a lot of appointments and reminders, you may not have the time or patience to sort through each and every one of them to cover them.
Use the Time Zone support feature
When you create an event in your iOS Calendar app, there should be a time zone setting right below it.
Just search for the city or time zone that you’re going to be in and Calendar will automatically set it to that time zone. When you arrive in that time zone, then the calendar event will stay the same — even as other events switch to the local time.
This is by and far the easiest and simplest thing you can do to deal with time zones when setting calendar events.
Check out Fantastical 2
You can also check out a third-party calendar app called Fantastical 2 — which isn’t free but is highly rated and feature-packed.
One thing that Fantastical 2 supports is “floating time zones.” This is essentially the feature the Redditor from earlier wished was supported by iOS.
When you set a time zone event to floating, it means that it’ll stay at the exact same time no matter what your local time is. Let’s revisit the scenario from before. You set your “lunch with friends” for 1 p.m. floating time. When you arrive in New York City on Monday, all of your other calendar events will be converted to local time — but “lunch with friends” won’t.
If this sounds like exactly the solution you want, then we highly recommend Fantastical 2. That’s because the iOS Calendar doesn’t currently support floating time zones. (Although, on the other hand, it’s worth noting that the native Calendar app on Mac actually has a floating time zone setting. So it’s weird that iOS doesn’t.)
We hope that this tip helps you in your travels. Please let us know in the comments if you have any questions or concerns.
Mike is a freelance journalist from San Diego, California.
While he primarily covers Apple and consumer technology, he has past experience writing about public safety, local government, and education for a variety of publications.
He’s worn quite a few hats in the journalism field, including writer, editor, and news designer.