Sudden failure to sync iCal Calendars via iTunes

Discussion in 'iPad Help' started by iBozz, May 28, 2012.

  1. iBozz
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    iBozz iPF Novice

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    At the risk of looking stupid - may i repeat a question posted on the Apple Support Forums?

    Normally I wouldn't double post, but not getting this resolved overnight and before leaving for an appointment in the morning (UK time) would be a serious inconvenience - I may even have to revert to a paper diary! :eek:

    On the Apple Forums i posted ...




    Can any kind soul help me with this?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    Do not use iTunes to sync your contacts, calendars, and other PIM stuff. That's the short of it. It's a legacy method, and unless you have no choice it is best avoided.

    Instead set up your iCloud account and use it to sync both the iMac and the iPad. This is much more efficient and dependable.


    iCloud Overview
    Apple - iCloud - Your content. On all your devices.

    Apple IDs and iCloud
    Apple IDs and iCloud

    How to setup iCloud
    Apple - iCloud - Learn how to set up iCloud on all your devices.

    Be absolutely certain to turn off the iTunes sync before setting up with iCloud. You'll find the settings in the Info tab when your iPad is connected and selected in iTunes on the computer. Pay attention to the dialogs about what to merge, delete, keep. Know where your good (best) data is and chose to preserve it over other devices/sources.
  3. iBozz
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    iBozz iPF Novice

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    Thanks.

    I was under the impression that I needed Lion to use The Cloud?

    I only have Snow Leopard and am unable to move up just yet because of the lack of Rosetta.

    That is a temporary show-stopper, but nevertheless I'm stuck at OSX.6.8 for now - does that mean I'm st*ff*d?

    It was working (pretty well but not 100%) before last night!
  4. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    Ok, I believe you are right. You can't use iCloud on the Mac without Lion. At least not directly.

    This is my recommendation, providing everything on the Mac side is correct.

    In iTunes in the Info tab, under the Advanced section at the bottom, choose to replace everything on the iPad on the next sync. Apply. This will completely wipe the iPad's data and replace it with what is currently on the Mac.

    Yes, you already did this once. Try it again. You've got nothing to lose.

    There is another way around the iCloud impasse; though it is not as feature rich. That is to move everything to GMail. It's not going to be quick.

    In the iCal program on the computer select one of your calendars, then go to the file menu and choose Export, then Export. This will create an .ics file for that calendar. Make sure you put it somewhere easy to find, like your Desktop.

    Now, create the GMail account if necessary. Go to the Google Calendars page and create a new calendar with the same name. Go to the Calendar settings and choose to Import, select the file and destination calendar, and import. Check to make sure the events made it over.

    Repeat for each calendar you need.

    At this point you can choose to use the Google Search app to mind your calendar, or continue and sync witt Calendars on the iPad.

    To sync multiple GMail calendars on the iPad you need to set the GMail account up as an Exchange account.

    Setting up Google Sync with your iOS device - Google Mobile Help

    Notice that there are instructions for syncing multiple calendars. You'll visit the m.google.com page (on the iPad), select the Sync icon, your device, and then each calendar you want to sync. Only the primary calendar will sync without this step.

    It is also possible to copy your Address Book contacts to Google by exporting and importing vCard files. Using the Exchange setup above you can sync them with Contacts on the iPad. The only downside is that you will loose your groups using this method.

    Both the Calendar and Contacts apps will maintain separate accounts for your GMail and iTunes sync; so you can play with this without worrying about messing up what you already have; though it does complicate (slightly) the apps themselves, as you have to pay more attention to what accounts and calendars you are viewing.

    Once you have your GMail stuff set up the way you want, you can go into the Address Book and iCal program on the Mac and add those accounts; giving you back the ability to edit on both systems.


    Note: I am on Lion, so if there are slight discrepancies in menu descriptions, please improvise.
    Last edited: May 29, 2012
  5. iBozz
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    iBozz iPF Novice

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    Thanks, twerppoet.

    Whilst you were posting those most comprehensive suggestions, I had managed to get on to AppleCare - first in Ireland (iPad support), then in Kentucky (CPU support) and then finally, in Greece (Tier Two support)!

    We created a new Admin user, created two test calendars in iCal and confirmed that iTunes could "see" the two default and two newly created calendars in iCal.

    It could but (interestingly and remaining unexplained) it could not import the backup from iCal which I had made "just in case" everything went wrong.

    Throughout this saga, iTunes could "see" my Address Book Groups and Mail accounts, so the problem was restricted to iCal's various Calendars

    Nevertheless, that step confirmed that the problem was isolated to my user and was not universal.

    Several steps were then tried, none of which resulted in a solution, but I list them for anyone else who may have a similar problem.

    After each step we restarted the computer and checked in iTunes to see whether or not it could "see" my calendars in iCal::

    1) Repair permissions;

    2) Delete iCal plist;

    3) Delete all (157!) iTunes plists;

    4) Delete Sync history in iSync. This took some time because iSync, which I have never knowingly used before and the existence of which I was in blissful ignorance, insisted on trying to sync with my mobile phone even though it was switched off and had never had Bluetooth switched on (I can be a real Luddite over some things!) and it took several Force Quits before it realised that it wasn't going to win this contest and surrendered;

    And finally, the successful step:

    5) Delete iTunes re-download from Apple UK and re-instal ...

    ... problem solved!

    It would seem that somehow iTunes itself had become corrupted, although the very helpful Tier Two supporter Laura is unable to explain just how that might have occurred, save that software does things like that!

    And having written COBOL from time to time I can well understand the vagaries of software - especially that which was written by me!

    Incidentally, I asked Laura, during the several lulls in activity whilst the iMac was restarting, whether syncing via iTunes under Snow Leopard was beset by reliability problems and she said not as far as she was aware.

    I pass no comment on that as I know too little to form an opinion!

    Thanks for taking the time to consider this problem, it is very much appreciated.
  6. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    I'm glad you got it fixed. I wouldn't have thought of reinstalling iTunes.

    It's not so much that iTunes syncing is unreliable as that it is less efficient and more trouble. You have to connect to the computer and sync. This can result in user induced problems.

    If you change a contact on both devices in between syncs you have to manually deal with what version to keep. If you make frequent changes to your events, especially if you have more than one device, this quickly becomes annoying.

    Since I did not routinely sync with iTunes every day, I'd often end up going through a dozen dialogs deciding which contact version to keep; and since I'd rarely remember which device/computer I'd made the most recent change I often chose the out-of-date contact; or in exasperation choose to keep all of one devices information.

    Basically, while iTunes syncing works and is more or less reliable, it's simply not as good a solution. Not because iTunes syncing is bad, but because it leave more room for user mistakes.

    Admittedly this problem crops up more in Contacts than Calendar, since events need changing far less often.

    But if you've got it working again, and are happy with it, then waiting until you can upgrade to Lion is probably the easiest way forward.

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