Tech Tip: A Wrinkle in Time Keeping


Tech Tip

If you don’t want your phone’s calendar to change time zones when you travel, you can lock down your appointments.

Q. When I travel, how do I make my iPhone’s calendar stop moving the business appointments I originally made at home to the time zone of the city I’m in? I want my phone to act like a paper calendar where an appointment written down for 11 a.m. stays at 11 a.m., no matter where I happen to be.

A. Unless you have gone to the Date & Time settings and turned off the “Set Automatically” option, the iPhone picks up the time in your current location when it connects to a nearby data network. This can be convenient for traveling because you get the local time instantly. (If your phone does not automatically update even though you have it set to do so, it may also be because of a bug some users have reported in iOS.)

If your calendar appointments are shifting to reflect the local time and throwing off your schedule, you can tell the calendar app to ignore the time zone the phone is using. So this means an 11 a.m. appointment made in New York will still be scheduled for 11 a.m. on the calendar, even if the phone’s own clock has moved five hours ahead to London time.

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The Time Zone Override controls in the iOS settings can stop your calendar appointments from shifting to the local time when you travel.CreditThe New York Times

In recent versions of iOS, go to the Home screen, open the Settings icon and select Calendar. On the Calendar settings screen, tap Time Zone Override. Tap the button next to Time Zone Override to enable it and confirm that the time zone listed below shows your home location where you make all your appointments. Previously scheduled events on the calendar should then stay put, regardless of the time zone the phone is in.

Android users have a similar setting for the Google Calendar app. Open Google Calendar, tap the Menu button in the upper-left corner and select Settings. On the next screen, tap General and turn off the button next to “Use device time zone” to stop appointments from shifting.

For iPhone-toting business travelers who do not want to mess with override settings or those who share calendars with co-workers in multiple time zones, there is an alternative approach. Instead of disabling your calendar’s ability to automatically shift time zones to match the phone’s location, just schedule the meetings for the designated time zones when you set up the appointment.

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If you do not want to stop your phone’s calendar from adjusting itself, take an alternative approach. When you schedule a meeting to take place in a different city, add the time zone there so the event will be correct when you arrive and your phone updates to the local time.CreditThe New York Times

When you tap the plus (+) sign in the iPhone’s calendar app to schedule a new appointment, set the time and then tap Time Zone underneath to choose the city where the meeting will be held. When your phone and calendar automatically shift when you land in the new time zone, the meeting should be on your calendar for the proper local time.

Tech Tip: Keeping Personal Appointments Private on Google Calendar


Q. My office uses the business version of Gmail and Google Calendar. Can other people see my appointments on Google Calendar even if I haven’t sent a sharing invitation?

A. Google’s G Suite is the paid version of its mail, calendar, office software and file-sharing applications, and is designed for businesses. The company’s designated administrator controls the default settings for users, so ask your corporate G Suite master about the specific calendar visibility used across your company.

Google notes that it is “common practice” to use the “See all event details” setting as the default for corporate calendars. This means that other people can add your office calendar to their own list of calendars to manage and plan meetings, videoconferences and other collaborative events. Some offices allow people to see when co-workers have time blocked out on their calendars, but generically label the events as “busy” so that co-workers can still look for mutually open time slots for meetings.

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Depending on how the G Suite software has been administered, even if you add a co-worker’s Google calendar to your own, you may see appointments marked as “busy” instead of the specific event details.

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The New York Times

If you prefer to keep an appointment to yourself, you can set the event as Private. To do that, create or edit an event and, use the drop-down menu in the Visibility section of the event details screen to select Private instead of Public.

You can also decide who can see your calendar by sharing it with certain people, which should override the company’s default sharing settings. If you would like to take this approach, click the arrow next to your calendar name on the main Google Calendar page, choose “Share this calendar” and then, in the “Share this calendar with others” menu, choose the settings you want to use.

If this option is not available, you can share your calendar with other people by clicking on gear-shaped Settings icon in the upper-right corner of the screen and selecting Settings from the menu. On the left side of the screen under “Settings for my calendars,” choose your own calendar. Under the “Share with specific people” section in the middle of the screen, click the Add People button and enter the names and email addresses.

As the software gatekeeper for the company, your G Suite administrator can still see the contents of your office calendar. If you have appointments you want to keep really private, consider listing them in another calendar app, perhaps on your phone or tablet, where you can link your office calendar but keep it separate from your personal schedule.

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