MacMost Now 914: Mac Calendar Time Zones

When setting up and event in Calendar, you would normally assign a time. But what if you travel between time zones? You'll need to enable Calendar's time zone support feature. Then you need to consider questions like, do you set the event for the current time zone, or the one where you will be when the event takes place?
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 914: Mac Calendar Time Zones.

Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's talk about the Calendar app and how it uses time zones.

Here is a typical problem you run in to. Say that you travel with your Mac and you go between time zones. Now to simulate this I'm going to go into System Preferences under Date & Time/Time Zone and I've turned off set time zone automatically. I'm going to change the time zone and make it east coast time zone.

So say I'm on the east coast and I want to set up an appointment for Thursday. I add that appointment, I go in and change it from all day and I'm going to set it for 3:00 p.m. Now this is an appointment for after I return home back to mountain time zone. If I look at it, it says 3:00 p.m. Great.

Now I travel back to mountain time zone and I look at the appointment again and I can see it changed it to 1:00 p.m. because it kept it at the same exact time. It is just that 3:00 p.m. on the east coast is 1:00 p.m. mountain time. So if I was teleconferencing or something like that it would kind of make sense.

But in this case I knew I wanted to go to this appointment at 3:00 p.m. when I got home. So changing the time on me was counterproductive. As a matter of fact it will really mess me up and I will be there at the wrong time. So how can you fix this.

Let's get rid of this event here and let's go into Calendar Preferences. Under Advanced let's turn on Time Zone Support. Now we have time zone here at the top. This is very useful if you travel because you can set the time zone for the calendar independent of the time zone for the system.

So now if I go to the east coast again in System Preferences I set an event here and I change it so that it is 3:00 p.m. it is set for 3:00 p.m. now and it is set for mountain time because that is what the calendar is looking at. If I go and travel back to mountain time zone and I look at the event again you can see it hasn't changed because the time zone is set at mountain time. As a matter of fact it even confirms that for this event it is set for the time zone in mountain time.

Now let's say I want to set up an appointment for the next day and I'm still going to be on the east coast. I'm going to set that for 2:00 p.m. and I want to set the time zone for that. Now I can select from the time zones I have recently used or if it doesn't appear here, for instance if I wanted it to be Central time, I can just type in the city and it will appear and it will add it then to that list. So now I can see that that one appears in the list with others. When I hit done it will set it up here, so it is 2:00 p.m. Central time. So I know I'm going to be in the Central time zone on that day so it makes sense.

Now what would happen if I would change the time zone here at the top of Calendar. So right now, for instance, I have this test here and it is going to be at 3:00 p.m. mountain time. I want to go and change it and say, you know what I am right now in the eastern time zone. You can see it keeps it there; 3:00 p.m. mountain time and the same thing 2:00 p.m. Central time. So it will always go by this time zone, the time of the event not the time zone at the top.

But when I create a new event you can see it is going to default here to eastern time zone. So this really here at the top is a default setting. So if you move between coasts you can use this to change back and forth so that you can change your default time zone. You can continue to adjust each event to which time zone it occurs in.

Now you have another option. You can do something called a floating time. So let's do this test 4 here and let's set it up at 5:00 and instead of setting a time zone we select floating. Done. Now I'm setting this up in eastern time zone. So this is going to basically give me the functionality of moving time here. It is 5:00 p.m. and I'm going to change the default to mountain time and you can see now, because I set it to floating time, it actually moved the time to 7:00 p.m. So this time will actually float which is useful because for instance if I wanted to say set a reminder for forty-eight hours from now. If I set it to a specific time zone and I'm not in that time zone it is not going to be exactly forty-eight hours. This will adjust as I adjust the time zone here at the top of Calendar.

So there is a look at time zones and Calendar. This is not something you can ignore at all if you travel between time zones and you use Events because you are going to have events set to the wrong time unless you pay attention to the time zone and set it correctly for the event.

Hope you found this useful. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 4 Responses to “MacMost Now 914: Mac Calendar Time Zones”

    Kerry Millerick
    6 years ago

    On a long cruise, I will be constantly sailing between time zones. How do I set an appointment that will be *independent* of time zones? (Example: “5pm next Thursday” regardless of what time zone I am in?)

      6 years ago

      See the video. I believe that “floating” time zone will be what you want. But it should be easy to test.

    6 years ago

    Hey Gary,
    looks like there is something wrong with the settings or so in the video. In my calendar, all the dates and times are shown in the timezone I select in the upper right corner, which makes sense. Floating means, that no matter where you are, the time will not change. E.g. you want to make an exercise every evening at 10pm in the timezone you are in that moment.

      6 years ago

      Right. Not sure what you mean by “there is something wrong” — this is essentially what I am showing.

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