How to Remove Duplicate Calendar Entries in iCal & iCloud

Apple has a history of screwing up calendars – and it all started with MobileMe. Duplicate calendars in MobileMe plagued users for years. In fact, the tutorial on how to sync MobileMe calendars is still one of the most visited pages on this site – and I wrote it way back in 2008!

Now, MobileMe has been replaced with iCloud. Unfortunately, the transition has not been smooth.

Switching from MobileMe to iCloud still causes duplicates in iCal. Most of the issues can be fixed easily in iCal preferences – Just turn off the accounts you’re not using.

On my Mac, iCal had two iCloud Accounts – which caused all of the duplicates. I turned one off and all of the duplicates disappeared. Hopefully, it’s that easy for you too!

*Note* This is a fix for duplicates in iCal on the Mac. It may not help your iPhone calendar and definitely will not help anyone using a Windows computer.

Open iCal to See Duplicate Calendars

To find out if you have duplicates that can be easily fixed, open iCal. Then click on the “Calendars” button in the top left corner. A drop-down will appear with all of your calendars like, Work, Social, Fun, Meetings, etc. It might look like this:

iCal Duplicate Calendars

It’s not very often Apple does something really confusing, but this is one instance: Apple defines your color-coded events as individual “Calendars.” Which means I technically have individual “calendars” for Social, Work, etc. (Personally, I have ONE calendar. And my color-codes should be called something like “labels” or “groups”.) … Moving on…

If you see 2 lists of calendars that are exactly the same, like in the image above, your problems can be fixed easily.

Edit iCal Accounts in the Preferences


iCal File Menu

Go to the top menu and click iCal, then Preferences.

iCal Accounts

Click the Accounts button.

Duplicate iCloud Accounts in iCal

If you see more than one iCloud account (silver cloud logo), you can disable them to see which one is causing duplicates… (And don’t worry, we’re disabling – NOT deleting! Disabling will only hide events in the calendar and won’t delete anything.)

First, move iCal and the Accounts info so you can see both, like this:

iCal and Preferences

Now, click on one of the iCloud accounts in the left sidebar. Then click on the checkbox next to “Enable this account.” When you click the checkbox on and off, you should see changes in iCal in a few seconds.

Try the enabling and disabling each account in the left sidebar. Remember, Google Calendar could be a problem too. Try disabling/enabling ALL of your calendars. Then decide which Account(s) you want to keep enabled.

Hopefully, if you disable a couple of the calendars, your duplicate events will be gone forever! At least, that’s what worked for me. Fingers crossed.

Delete Unused Calendars

Optional step… If you’ve disabled calendars and will never use them again, you can delete them. Just click the minus button beneath the list of accounts. That way you’ll never accidentally enable a duplicate account again. Of course, keeping them won’t hurt you, but I hate keeping unused items on my Mac, so I deleted the extra calendars. Your choice.

UPDATE: A guy named Ray emailed me with a suggestion. He said to sync your iPhone/iPad to iTunes on the Mac… But go to the Advanced section in the Info Tab. Check the box next to Calendars under “Replace information on this iPhone.” According to Ray, this could remove the duplicates in iCal on your Mac, iCloud and on your iPhone or iPad. Make sure to backup your iPhone first! I don’t have duplicates anymore so I can’t test this.

Written by
founded this website way back in 2007. Since then, he's owned two Macs, four iPods, two iPads, Apple TV, AirPort Extreme and 3 iPhones, is a huge nerd.