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Deep dive into calendar subscription issues with iCalendar

This guide will be for those who have already gone through the basic troubleshooting steps for Calendar Subscriptions. If you’re landing on this guide first, head on over to Troubleshooting your Subscribed Calendar to try the basic steps first.

If you’ve been there and done that, lets take a deeper dive into different settings for calendar subscriptions. We hope you’ll keep in mind that these are all settings outside of Jane’s scope and we’ve compiled this list of troubleshooting steps based on our own experiences and working with clinics. Some settings might change over time as Apple updated their systems.

Troubleshooting your iCalendar (Subscribed Directly on Device)

Check the Fetch Rate on your iPhone (Subscribed Directly to Device)

The Fetch rate will control how frequently your iPhone is looking for updates from Jane. If you notice your appointment updates are slow to show up in your iCalendar, this is a good setting to look at.

To do so, head into your iPhone Settings and then Passwords & Accounts

Next, click Fetch New Data

Ensure on your Subscribed calendar it’s set to “Fetch” and then underneath ensure the Fetch rate is “Automatic”

Automatic is the default but it does only work when you’re in WiFi. You can play around with something like “Every 15 minutes” to force your iPhone to look for updates even when not in WiFi. Forcing a more frequent Fetch rate can help keep your iCalendar more up to date, but it does impact your devices battery life.

Check the Refresh Rate on your Macbook (Subscribed Directly to Device)

On your Macbook you can check to see how frequently your subscribed calendar is being updated by Apple. This is setting you’ll want to play around with if you notice a delay in updates displaying on your Macbook, or there is inconsistency in updates.

Open the iCalendar application on your Macbook. Towards the left hand side you can see your Jane Subscribed calendar. Right click and choose “Get Info”

On the next screen, change the “Auto-refresh” to your desired time frame. The shorter the refresh rate the quicker your calendar should update. Press “Ok” to save.

Troubleshooting iCalendar when using iCloud

Fetch VS Push

If you have your Jane calendar subscribed directly to your Macbook and then are syncing it across to your iPhone/ iPad via iCloud, there can be issues with how data is fetched or pushed between the two.

First, how do you know if you’re subscribed directly to your device, or using iCloud? Great question!

On your Macbook, open the calendar application and right click on your subscribed Jane calendar, then click “Get Info”.

On the next window, check the “Location” of your calendar. If you see iCloud, then it means you’ve subscribed on your Mac, then are using iCloud to sync it across to other devices

If you see “On this Mac”, it means you’re only subscribing to your Jane calendar on this one device. It won’t be syncing calendar information across to another device.

You can also confirm this on your iPhone by opening the Calendar application and clicking “Calendars” at the bottom. On the next screen you can see how your calendars are being pulled into your iPhone. If you see your calendar under “iCloud” you’ve confirmed it’s being synced that way.

If instead you see your Jane calendar coming under the heading “Subscribed” then it’s indicating you have subscribed directly on your device, rather than syncing across via your iCloud.

Now that we’ve confirmed which it is (shared from iCloud or subscribed directly on the device), we can look at a classic problem experienced with this: Fetch vs Push.

Push: the device only gets the update if the service (iCloud) noticed there was a change in the calendar events. If it isn’t noticed, the device (your iPhone) has a stale calendar until a new update is picked up.

Fetch: the device doesn’t wait for the service to say “I found a change!“. Instead the device (your iPhone/ iPad) will ask the service for an update every “X minutes/hours”. This means you have a more reliable and consistent check for updates.

The trouble seen most often with Push is that making a change to an existing appointment might not be considered a “change” to your service (iCloud) and therefore no new information is getting pushed over to your device. This isn’t something we have control over as Jane’s job here is just to shout out that there is new information, but iCloud doesn’t seem to hear it.

If you prefer to use the iCloud sync, then you can try changing from Push to Fetch, and then ensuring the Fetch rate is looking frequently. The main downside to this option is the impact on your devices battery life. The constant looking that your device will do does mean the battery drains a bit faster.

The other option is directly subscribing to your calendar on each device rather than rely on iCloud to sync everything. This sometimes helps to cut out additional channels of communication and lets Jane push updates directly to your device. The downside to this means you have independent calendar subscriptions on each device.

If you’d like to go with this option to directly subscribe, first ensure you are no longer using iCloud to subscribe and then follow our guides to subscribe to your calendar again. When subscribing you’ll need to be using your iPhone so it gets subscribed directly on that device. You can follow the steps in our guide here for Subscribing to your Calendar For Patients

Wow – could we have used the word subscribe any more times in that paragraph?! 🙃

Troubleshooting iCalendar when seeing appointments display twice

If you’re seeing your Jane appointments double up in your iCalendar, you might have both subscribed on the device and via iCloud.

You can check this on your iPhone by opening the calendar app, then clicking Calendars at the bottom. If you see your Jane calendar listed twice – once under “iCloud” and once under “Subscribed” – then it’s indicating you’ve done both by accident.

To fix this up you can follow the steps in our guide Troubleshooting your Subscribed Calendar to remove the Subscribed Calendar directly from your iPhone, just leaving the iCloud synced one behind.