iPad Week: Setting Up Calendars

Q: I'm a new iPad user. How do I go about setting up calendars and alerts?



Your iPad's Calendar app can display events from a lot of calendars. You can have a Home calendar, a Work calendar, a Holidays calendar, a Bills Due calendar, and more. Adding to the fun, the Calendar app can display calendars from several sources: those that come from your computer, those that you sync with MobileMe, those to which you subscribe, and so on. But on what calendar do the events that you create on your iPad go?

That's where the default calendar comes in. You can (and should) specify a default calendar so that when you create an event, you don't have to worry about what calendar will receive it. Unless you specify otherwise, newly created events end up in your default calendar.

NOTE: Although you can subscribe to and sync with a plethora of calendars from various sources, the iPad doesn't give you a way to create new calendars directly on it.

Setting a default calendar:

  • Tap Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
  • Swipe down the resulting Mail, Contacts, Calendars screen until you see the Calendars section, way down at the bottom.
  • Tap Default Calendar. The Default Calendar screen appears, listing some or all of the calendars displayed by your iPad's Calendar app.

NOTE: We say some or all because the iPad shows only the calendars to which you can add events. Subscribed calendars, for example, can't be altered, so they don't show up in the Default Calendar screen.

  • Tap the calendar that you want to use as your default. The next time you create an event in the Calendar app, the event is placed in your default calendar -- that is, unless you choose another calendar for the event when you create it.

NOTE: If your iPad isn't running iOS 4 or later, you can't move an event to a different calendar on your iPad after you create it, so remember to double-check the Calendar setting in the Add Event dialog before you save the event.


The calendar-alert settings are relatively minor -- unless you miss an appointment or invitation because your iPad happened to be asleep at the critical time. The iPad has two sound-related settings that are associated with your calendar: Calendar Alerts and New Invitation Alerts. When these settings are turned on, your iPad makes a sound when a calendar event is set and when one of your calendars receives a new invitation.

NOTE: Invitations go directly to one of your calendars in certain types of mail accounts, such as accounts on Microsoft Exchange servers.

Turning on alert sounds:

  • Tap Settings > General > Sounds to open the Sounds screen.
  • If the Calendar Alerts switch is off, tap it to turn it on.
  • In the Settings pane on the left side of the screen, tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
  • Swipe down the resulting Mail, Contacts, Calendars screen until you see the Calendars section at the bottom.
  • If the New Invitation Alerts switch is off, tap it to turn it on. From now on, whenever one of your calendars needs to alert you about an event or an invitation, your iPad makes a sound.

Tools mentioned in this entry:

More questions? View the complete Toolkit archive.

Excerpted from THE IPAD PROJECT BOOK by Michael E. Cohen, Dennis Cohen and Lisa L. Spangenberg. Copyright 2011. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and Peachpit Press.

Presented by

Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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