Backup and Restore Your Mac Calendar

October 5, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Apple’s preparations for moving users from MobileMe to iCloud have been littered with problems, and the worst of them is the way in which MobileMe was tweaked slightly in advance of the overhaul.

The result of this change is that traditional methods for backing up calendar data (such as using export, performing the backup via Time Machine or using the MobileMe backup) are doomed to failure unless you follow a completely new procedure.

If you’re using MobileMe and don’t want to use iCloud, you have until June 30th, 2012 to find an alternative; after this data the account will be terminated and the contents erased, along with any data stored on iDisk. Therefore making a copy of your calendar data makes sense. The problem is with restoring the calendar later on.

Backup and Restore Your Mac Calendar

Restoring MobileMe Calendar from Time Machine

As things stand, a standard Time Machine restore of a calendar will result in the calendar being immediately overwritten with the online, synced version – which will be blank!

The solution, therefore, is to prevent the blank calendar overwriting your restored calendar. So how do we achieve this?

We’ll assume you already have a calendar backup in Time Machine. To restore, begin by disconnecting your Internet connection. This will either mean disabling wireless, mobile Internet or Ethernet, but whichever you choose give it a quick test by using the PING command to confirm.

Next, use Time Machine to restore your calendar(s), which should reappear in the correct order.

So, the calendars are restored, but in their current configuration they cannot be synced as to do so would result in instant overwriting with the more recent, “blank” calendar. Instead, some changes are required that will prevent the blank calendar from becoming dominant.

Configuring Your Calendar to Avoid Deletion

With a calendar below your MobileMe name selected, choose File > Export > Export; a file in the .ICS format will be saved at your chosen location. Next, create a new calendar with the same name as the one you have exported, choosing to create it with the “On My Mac” option.

You can then open File > Import to select the just-exported .ICS file and bring it into the calendar app, making sure you import it into the calendar you just created.

The time has come to reconnect to the Internet. Within a minute you should find that the MobileMe calendars have been deleted thanks to the incorrect syncing but that the new calendars continue to work without a problem.

All that is left to do now is configure your remaining calendar. Go to File > Export > Export and create a new .ICS file, and then File > New Calendar, remembering to select your MobileMe login name.

The new calendar will be untitled, so assign a new name that matches that of the calendar you exported. In File > Import > Import, find and select the newly created ICS file to import it to the latest calendar (the MobileMe version), then click Import. The process may take a while, but the local “On My Mac” version of the calendar can now be deleted, and your data will once again be synced.

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