iCal Shows Date But Not Time in Appointments

Just had to deal with yet another thing on Mac which didn’t just work. Encountering quite a lot of those recently, so here’s just a note to remember what and how for my future reference.

The iCal Missing Event Dates Problem

In Apple’s calendar program, iCal, a colleague of mine could create and edit events without problem, but for some reason the “from” and “to” fields for events / appointments only showed the time, and not the dates.

This, in itself, is not much of a problem, until you have an appointment that spans multiple days, or a all-day event that spans multiple days. Then you find you have no way to indicate the date changes needed to span the required days.

Of course I went through all the iCal settings I could find, I deleted the Apple iCal preference file and search multiple permutations of the problem on Google, all to no avail.

After a few tests I discovered that it affects only one particular account on this computer, whilst the other account could use Calendar with no issues – meaning it’s a user preference thing. It didn’t make it any easier to search for though.

How do you search for “ical events doesn’t show date”, “ical events shows only time”, “dates missing from ical events”, “only time shows up in ical events”, “mac ical date/time problem”, “ical date problem”.

The iCal Missing Event Dates Solution

As it always happens, after following multiple leads and mutating my search phrase multiple times, I eventually stumbled upon somebody who had a similar problem, applied it to my problem and, viola, it worked.

Turns out, the culprit is the Formats – if for some reason the Region in Formats happen to land on custom, you could end up with all sorts of trouble that you can’t explain and wouldn’t necessarily link back to Formats.

So here’s the solution for the iCal missing event dates:

  • Go to your System Preferences
  • Click on Language & Text
  • Click on Formats
  • Assuming your Region is set to “Custom”, change that back to one of the presets

This might undo some custom date, time or numbers you’ve set up, so make a note to see what changes and where.

Now, when you relaunch iCal you should find that your events once again have the time AND the date attached to it, so that you can span multiple days with your all-day events, or change the date when you edit the event.

2 Comments

  • Gerry

    26 December 2010 at 22:37

    Thanks for posting this! The apple genius wanted to create my mom a new user account to fix this problem and you and google made me look really smart 🙂

  • 1Earth

    26 December 2010 at 23:25

    Haha, no worries Gerry. Google made me look smart in the office this time, so I'm happy to pay it forward.

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