Thursday, January 15, 2009

iPhone Calendar Color Selection

The mystery of the iPhone calendar coloring is...well...still a mystery to us. At present the situation is this : the iPhone picks the colors. We don't yet know how to send it color information. If we learn how to do that (assuming it's possible) then we will allow users to pick the colors. Google does allow users to select colors, and assuming a stable calendar/color assignment on the device, it is usually possible to modify your Google colors so they match. However, sometimes the iPhone randomly changes the colors. There is also a strange black on yellow color that can show up, and in extreme cases all the calendars get that color. We suspect that it has some deep meaning (perhaps related to the 18th century practice of flying a yellow flag on a ship to indicate the presence of fever?). The yellow plague and the random color reassignment can usually be fixed by clicking the link 'Folder list on the device does not match? Reset it. ' on the calendar setup page.


Lt. Marx said...

I still dont have colored calendars on my iPhone. Are you still rolling out the feature and am i inpatient, or is there a mistake somewhere?

Jim Nutt said...

I know WinMo doesn't support colors for the calendar (at least not that I can see), but it would be handy if you could set the category for the calendar item to reflect which calendar it came from.

Khalsa4ever said...

FYI: The colored calendars is still an issue... all calendars are currently using the default blue color on the iphone, and appear as a single calendar.

btw, great work on getting the sevices back up and running!

bitterbal said...

I am not seeing the link 'Folder list on the device does not match? Reset it' on my calendar account page. I have tried to setup my calendars again but no luck.

any ideas ?

Edward said...

I reset my calendars as advised but still have all black on yellow calendar events...

Mark said...

I don't have colors in my calendar on my iPhone, and I don't see the 'Reset it' link on my setup page, either.

Temeraire said...

I don't know if it will help, but I have a comment about the color issue. I turned off the calendars earlier and then turned them back on, which reset them. When the calendars began to reload, I saw for about two seconds that the colors of all the calendars cycled through the different colors so that each calendar had a different color until they finally all settled upon yellow.

andy a said...

Okay, for those who are interested, I have got my 3 calendars to display in the colours I want them to. Red, Blue and Green. Note that the iPhone assigns calendars colours in a set order; red, orange, blue, green, purple.

Initially I had all 3 syncing okay, but all were yellow. These are the steps I followed to get it correct.

1. Completely delete the Nuevasync exchange account from my phone - I figure this clears the 'yellow bug'.
2. Create a 'sacrificial' calendar in google calendar (called 'aaa' in my case).
3. Log into Nuevasync control panel, check all calendars show up (including the new 'aaa' calendar), and then hit 'Reset Folders'.
4. Now select just the calendar you want to appear as red to sync. Disable all the rest.
5. Configure the iPhone to sync calendars in the usual manner.
6. Open calendar on the iPhone and wait for it to sync.
7. Go back to Nuevasuync control panel and enable the calendar you want to be orange. In my case I didn't want an orange calendar, so I picked my sacrificial 'aaa' calendar.
8. Sync the iPhone calendar by opening the calendar application. DO NOT TAP THE 'CALENDARS' BUTTON TO VIEW ALL CALENDARS. This seems to send them all yellow if done before fully synced.
9. Return to Nuevasync control panel and enable the calendar you want to be blue.
10. Sync the iPhone and repeat the process in order (Red, Orange, Blue, Green, Purple) until you have all calendars in the correct colour.
11. Finally, go to Nuevasync, and disable any 'sacrificial' calendars you used. Sync the iPhone a final time, and the other calendars should stay the correct colours.
12. You can now delete the sacrificial calendars from Google calendar.

Happy days! Just remember not to look at the all calendars list whist the phone is syncing a new calendar, or you will probably end up with all yellow calendars.

Hope this works out for you all, it has for me so far.

Edward said...

Andy thanks for posting that. That's a lot of work. I'll stick with all yellow until nuevasync works it out on their end.

Anyone else still have blank contacts and/or calendar? My boss still hasn't re-synced.

Ameet said...

Once again great job. My wife's iphone got color cal moment i added yesterday. But no luck with me, all my cal where blue/grey till yesterday and no cal/contact today.

Sync Status Report

iPhone (ID: Appl**********), sync status is: OK
(data was last transfered 22 hours ago)

Tried resetting/adding/removing/renaming calendar still no luck lol, I guess all new cal have color, but old user not getting color.

Appreciate all the hard work.

Joe Hansbauer said...

I tried resync to get calendar colors and now nothing is showing up. The sync status page shows Green though... not sure what's up. How long after re-enabling calendar sync should it be before the calendar entries show up again?

Ameet said...

even site is down,
Network Timeout
The server at is taking too long to respond.

i guess they are still working on it

Clay said...

For my part, I was having slow updating yesterday, which stalled completely last night. Then the two calendars I'd added data to last night changed to yellow. Then this morning, things all changed color. Then, after I added a new calendar and deleted an old one, I reset my lists, manually re-synced my iPod, and now I get a big nothing. :/ Not even a pinwheel.

Not complainin', just explainin'.

Ted Avery said...

If you don't like your calendar colors, simply go into your account settings on the iPhone, turn off "Calendars", turn it back on, and once you re-open the Calendar app and wait awhile it will get new colors.

Every time I do this I get a new assignment of colors, and the two times I had all calendars appearing as yellow, this fixed it as well.

Matt Dyson said...

All contacts and calendars appearing, no new link on calendar setup page or anything but default colours on device so far.

Any update on how the rollout of this feature to users is going? Obviously not complete yet!

Also - Nuevasync site seems very sluggish, occasionally timing out.

Cheers for keeping us updated with the situation though :-)

paxos said...

Damn... I am still waiting for colored calendars show up on my device!

Its a bad policity to punish old users this way...

Thomas (ZONE-X) said...

I am all about getting this solved. And when we have problems, we throw lots of money at it.

Let's all do this... Send these guys some money via PayPal ( at:

Just send them something. We're throwing $50 at them to get this started.

Let's go guys!! You're doing a great job and we are eager to help you get this done.

Pierre said...

Thanks a lot to NuevaSync's team for their hard work. Great job on updating us with the outage issue on the blog (RSS). Excellent customer service. Thank you again.

Phillip said...

If I wasn't a broke law student I would definitely donate. Sorry.

Just wanted to express my appreciation to you all for the hard work despite the difficulties.

Callahan said...

Just wanted to let you all know that, as of 1/15 1:29p EDT, I now have multiple calendars, multiple colors (although originally everything but the default was yellow), but absolutely NO EVENTS in the calendar on my iphone. All of my scheduled calendar events that used to show up (albeit all in one color) don't show up at all. My calendar has been wiped.

It does seem to be constantly syncing (or something, the little wheel is turning), but so far, no love.

I agree with Thomas (zone-x), if you need us to toss you some cash via paypal, I'd be willing. I love this product, can't live without it, and am freaking that it seems to be broken now.

mingo said...

I saw the exact same thing as Temeraire. I opened my Calendar after a resync and all the colors where different. I said Yay! Then one by one they popped to yellow, right in front of my eyes. Hope this helps troubleshoot.

Also, a question. In a normal production environment, how often does this sync?

Alex said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

Since the iPhone colors the calendars according to the order in which they are added (red, orange, blue, green, purple, repeat?), is there some way that we could determine that order? Currently it appears random, but there has to be a sortable list somewhere in the server that determines how the calendars are sent to the phone. If we could somehow order the calendars on our setup page, we could then determine which calendar is sent after which, and thus which color each gets. This also affects the 'default' calendar, namely whichever is first or red, that new calendar entries initially are set to (which, for me, is actually much more important than each color since it can save a lot of time if it's set to my 'main' calendar).

Of course, I know nothing about any of the APIs involved, so I could be completely off-base.

OMID said...

BEWARE!! i followed andy a's steps to resync everything and still have no calendar events, but also have no contacts either. guess i'll be waiting it out til the servers pick up again. just wanted to warn anyone else to not try a DIY method for now.

andy a said...

@OMID Eugh, sorry abut that - just posting what worked for me, I don't actually use the contact sync function.


Jesse said...

Sounds like with the combination of the unexpected server stress with multi-calendar feature and the fact that it's still pretty buggy even when it does work on the iphone (probably a big percentage of your user base) maybe it would be best to withdrawal this feature right now rather than subjecting all users to the pains of what is essentially an alpha release. Maybe set this up on a different server for some small group of selected users to work out the big bugs and do some forecasting about server strain. Hope this works out and remains stable in the end.

Edward said...

Now I'm back to having no contacts and no calendar events. Guys, we love and appreciate the service but can we please go back to the way it was before until you get the kinks ironed out? I can't go another whole work day with this happening.

Phil said...

Any word on when everyone or at least older customers will receive the update? I still see no change and an earlier post seemed to indicate that the remaining people would receive the update today.

Trevor said...


The Alvords said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andreas said...

my iphone calendar is now empty and i don't can resync it. i haven't a reset button.

what can i do?

Edward said...

With any luck we'll get an update from the nuevasync guys soon...

Andreas said...

i hope so...

Tim & Susanna said...

Had been using calendar and contacts sync.
Lost all my contacts sometime yesterday.
Calendar (don't think I looked at it at all yesterday) opened up today with colors, yay!... BUT only some calendars... not the one's I want (I have more than 8 calendars in my google apps calendar account). I chose the ones I wanted on the nuevasync site. Nothing changed on my phone.
Tried the "reset" function on the nuevasync site several times with no change at all on my phone.
I did a complete restore of my phone.
Re-configured my setup on the nuevasync site for calendar only
Re-configured my phone for calendar syncing through nuevasync.
The calendars I wanted showed up in the calendars list, yay!...BUT... no events show up. Then in the calendars list one by one each of the calendars I have selected goes from it's color to yellow. And no events show up still.

OMID said...

@andy a: no problem, i took the risk of messing with the phone myself so i can't blame anyone but myself.

but good news for folks who have lost their contacts and need them back before we get any updates from nuevasync.

visit the link below and download the free app from the app store on your iphone for funambol. it actually synced my google contacts right up and seems to be working ok now. thank goodness for the internet!

dont think i'm giving up on nuevasync though, i'm patiently waiting for the great service they've always provided ;)

Andreas said...

ok, i get back my calendar information but without colors.

Damon said...

This is such an awesome service. Considering it's still beta, your support and communication is also awesome.

Keep up the good work!

Phillip said...

All calendars are up, but all are yellow.

Trevor said...

seems to be working with calendar features (i don't use contact sync) - i just disabled the calendar service in the iphone settings, then waited about 1 minute... then re-enabled it... then opened calendar on phone and ignored my phone for about 2 hours - it's all there now and I can add items to my phone and see them on gcal a bit later and vice versa. slow, but working

Scott said...

i was having trouble with lost data, so i completely removed my nuevasync exchange account on my iphone. i then ensured that on nuevasync's website that the detailed status page was ok and it was. i setup the exchange account per nuevasync's instruction page and i still get no data pushed down to the iphone for contacts or calendar.

anyone have any suggestions??

DD said...

Multiple calendars started appearing for me mid-afternoon today (Thursday). Sync is still very slow and two of my calendars have yet to sync at all, but it's starting to work. Patience is a virtue here, I guess. I'm sure the servers are just slammed...

In any case, this is a wonderful feature -- I've been hoping for it since I started using Nuevasync several months ago. Many thanks to the developers, both for the multi-calendar feature itself and for being so responsive to questions during what must be a nerve-wracking transition.

YO said...

Why works so bad??? it's slow and don't sync my calendar inmediatly taked more than an hour... this is not normal no?
Web page give me server error and loged me out!
what is hapennig?

Geert said...

I am still having issues with my calendar syncing. When turning the calendar sync off and back on it takes ages to re-sync.

I understand you have been busy trying to get everything back up and running but I also still don't have the 'Folder list on the device does not match? Reset it. ' which means I still don't have the multi-coloured calendar? Any idea how much longer it will be before all users will have that activated?

Stevog said...

I've been a long time user, great service! made my paypal donation today... being patient.

But I have one question.. where is the 'Reset Folders' link? I don't see it anywhere.

Callahan said...

Okay, as of 6:51p EDT, I've got *most* of my calendar events on my iphone, but every single one of my calendars is yellow.

Around 4pm my calendar was foobarred, empty and all yellow icons, so I decided to follow Andy A's suggestion. I went to reset my calendars one by one, and found, somehow, in the intervening minutes my phone had updated enough to have most (didn't have time to see if all were there) of my events AND all my calendars were different colors. Oh no! I had just hit reset, clearing all but one calendar...
...or so I thought. From that point on my phone calendar has not quite worked. Either the wrong calendars showed, no events showed, or all events were yellow with black writing.

Some other things I wanted to mention-- there seems to be no option or changing the calendar on an event once you've made it. And, when you go to edit an existing event, there is no field to see what calendar it went with.

Also, no matter what I set it to in the phone, every time I reset on the nuevasync website or on the phone, it chooses a different, random default calendar.

Anyone else having these problems?

Jai said...

Can't sync period for over a day now... sync status shows over a day since my last successful sync :(

Christopher Young said...

My calendar never stopped working. The colors just showed up. The contacts disappeared for 24 hours but they're back now. Thanks for the great work, Nuevasync Guys!

Matt Dyson said...

I've still no sign of the multiple calendar support, nothing showing up on my Setup page about the forced resync, so I assume my account hasn't been enabled yet.

Any chance of an update on when all accounts will have this feature enabled? I can see you've a lot of users to get though, but as a long time user you can probably tell I'm dying for this feature!

Many thanks for all your hard work through this transition :-)

Neyssa said...

I tried to reset my folders and lost all my calendars! Yikes!! Anyone else with that problem?

dyrector said...

Things are all fine now concerning data syncing -- i.e., contacts and multiple calendars -- but all my calendars are still just blue. Things are a little slow on the syncing front, but I figure there's probably still a heavy server load.

Just letting you know ...

Geert said...

"Sync Status Report
iPhone sync status is: OK
(data was last transfered 1 day ago)"

Calendar does not seem to be syncing anymore let alone with multi-colour

Kanwal Khipple said...

I'm still having issues as there are no contacts nor any calendar events. anything i can try?

ferni69 said...

Guys I love the software/ service. Thank you for keeping us inform.... So glad for this upgrade, it's what we were waiting for, but something is missing..... One can not access the directions, addresses as in the google apps! No link to the map app!!!!

Scott said...

seems my calendars are back, but all appear in the same color as a single calendar (like they used to). contacts are still gone but they appear off and on. when they do appear i am missing some of the contacts though

Some Guy said...

I had no luck until I clicked the reset button on the nuevasync calendar setup webpage. That did the trick. I had renamed the calenders on Google and on the the new names showed up in the nuevasync calendar setup webpage, but did not show on my ipod. The ipod kept trying to update but it seemed to time out again and again. Finally I tied clicking the reset button. Taa Daa!

Phillip said...

I had problems all day. I could see all of my calendars, but they all were yellow. Now everything is working correctly (although slow), i.e., all calendars appear and all have different colors. Here is what I did, hopefully it will help some of you:

1- Make sure all your calendars are selected on the server.

2- Click on the reset button on the server.

3- Turn off syncing of nuevasync on your iphone/pod, then turn it back on.

4- Then select the calendar application and let it sit.

The trick for me was to wait for all of my calendars and their events to load before I messed around within the calendar application. Before, I would either click the calendar link to see what calendars were loading or I would click on the add calendar event button. Every time I did this everything would turn back to yellow eventually. I figured this out after I decided to click the calendars button within the calendar application after half of my calendars completely loaded. The ones that did not completely load yet turned to yellow.

So, once you do the steps above, just let it be. Let everything load. The servers seem to be slow so it may take some time.

hang said...

@Phillip: no luck, still single calendar after a resync

Josh said...

I still haven't seen any colors. I do have all 4 of my google calendars synced up. Is there something I need to be doing on my end? I'm not sure what the "reset button on the server" is I keep reading about. Any advice?

Amy said...

There ought to be a way to send colors to the iPhone/Touch since syncing with iCal or even Outlook does allow this. I don't know anything about how it's done in Outlook, but it seems to work. Thought I'd mention for the nuevasync folks to possibly investigate.

Todd said...

I wanted to share that everything is working great for me. I have colored calendars and my contacts are syncing perfectly.

Thanks for the great service!

Jayrom said...

No colored calendars here either. Hope it gets fixed for me soon. Great service, can't believe this is free, not gonna complain though, thanks again!

Ricardo said...

I wanted to share as well that everything is working great for me.

I have colored calendars and my contacts are syncing perfectly.

Thanks from Spain for the great service!

Lesley said...

I hope I get my colored calendars today (friday)!

For a moment t thought about creating an extra account just to get it sooner, but that would be stressing the servers even more (I think that's the reason for the explosive number of new accounts).

Can't wait!
Keep up the great work!

Ronald said...

I tried Andy's suggestion to force the correct colors to the iPhone, but I found that I cannot turn off syncing of the first calendar on the list (marked as Default). Any suggestions?

Gilles said...

I can't find any "Reset Folders" on my nuevasync account, does it mean I don't have multiple calendar support as of today ?



tifosi said...

I know that Nemus Sync ( synchronise color too and create readonly calendar (1-way sync). It's opensource and they have a google group, may be you can ask them ?

Kanwal said...

My contacts are syncing and i now have colored calendars! Love it! Looking fwd to new features like tasks sync from you guys :)

Pablo said...

I have colored calendars now and calendar sync is working. I'm happy. There were a few glitches that others should be aware of: When colors got turned on, some (all?) of the events from calendars other than my main one showed up twice: once with the correct calendar color, and once with my main calendar color. If this happens to you, do not delete the duplicate event. Instead, reset: on the phone/iPod, go to Settings|Mail,Contacts,Calendar, select Nuevasync from the accounts list, turn off Calendars, wait, and turn them back on again. If you can wait to do this until it is night time in the US, I'm guessing you will put less stress on the servers. Note that this will assign all new colors to your calendars. It is not necessary to delete the nuevasync account and recreate it. Second glitch: my default calendar changed. Fix: on the phone/iPod, go to Settings|Mail,Contacts,Calendar, scroll down to Calendars, and choose your default calendar. Third glitch: A calendar that I never use showed up (and used a color slot). Fix: on the Nuevasync status page, click setup next to the calendar status and choose only those calendars you want to sync. BTW, in this process I discovered that Nuevasync has implemented one-way syncing for my read-only calendars since the last time I checked. Way to go! Great service and thanks for the upgrade!

TJRESH said...

The multi-calendar feature with iPhone and Google Calendar is now working and sync'ing fine. Thanks for all the support.

One question: how do you maintain the original calendar colors in Google when they sync with iPhone. In my case, blue turns to red and red turns to orange when the events go from Google to iPhone.

TJRESH said...

Now the colors switch when they go from Google to iPhone.
Red events turns to Blue and Blue events turns to Red.

Scott said...

@TJRESH -- right now it appears that NuevaSync can't control the colors of your calendars, it is done randomly. In one of their blog posts they mention this and say they are working towards a solution

Thanita said...

love nuevasync so far. I am concerned regarding the color issue. Considering that you guys (Nuevasync) doesn't know how this happened, I'm concerned about security. I hope someone can say something that will ease my mind right now!

Jim Kimmel said...

I think I figured out exactly how to get the colors the way I wanred them without relying on luck or randomness.

We already know the five color order: Red, Orange, Blue, Green and Purple. I figured out (by playing around) that the calendar that syncs with the first appointment TODAY gets the first color, then next calendar with an appointment today gets Orange, and so on (All Day Events count as the first appointment because they "start" at 12:00Am.

So, to get the colors I wanted (I should note that I wanted my main, default calendar to be Green), I created four temp calendars in Google (Temp1, Temp2, Temp3, and Temp4).

I created an 8:00AM appointment in Temp1, a 9:00AM appointment in Temp2, a 10:00AM appointment in Temp3, an 11:00AM appointment in my default calendar (luckily I didn't have any other appointments today), and a 12:00PM appointment in Temp4.

I then synced those five calendars with my iPhone using Nuevasync (turned off calendar syncing on the iphone and then selected the four temp calendars on Nuevasync and hit submit, then turned the calendar back on on the iPhone. I did this over WiFi, so if you're on 3G, it could take longer. With only one appointment to sync in the temp calendars, it went very quickly. Temp1 came in Red, Temp2 was Orange, etc and my default was green.

Now all I had to do was deselect the Temp Calendar on Nuevasync and launch calendar on the iphone to resyc (basically just had to wait until the first temp appointment was gone), then selected the calendar on Nuvasync that I wanted to be Red and relaunched Calendar on the iPhone and waited for the sync to finish. Rinse and repeat for the other colors....

Obviously, I then deleted the temp calendars from Google and my colors are right were I want them to be.

If you need more than 5 calendars, do the above for the first five and then add in the others as you want the colors to appear (i.e. the 6th calendar will be red, etc.).

Hope this helps everyone out!!


Robin said...

andy a:
Thanks so much for your suggestion. Not only can I now sync my various calendars, but the color thing works too.

Clay said...

Just to weigh in: I tried several different combinations / permutations of resyncing, incrementally adding calendars, adding Temp calendars, creating ghost appointments in the order I wished for my colors to display, and nothing worked properly.

In the end, what worked for me to get colors I desired: alphabetical order.

Go figure.

David said...

I'm somehow having an issue I haven't read about anywhere yet. I've synced the calendar with ghost calendars on gmail and such to get all the colors right, and all has worked well, except that my default calendar (and ONLY my default calendar) has stayed yellow through the process. That's all and well, I don't care. However, the bigger issue is that over time I've had two other calendars randomly turn turquoise / baby blue, usually after I've edited them on my phone. Hitting reset on nuevasync fixes the least temporarily. Has anyone else experienced this?

Shai said...

Thanks Andy A, I managed to get my colours to match properly using your method. Good job!

Michael Ansel said...

If you have a jailbroken iPhone, you can SSH in and manually modify the colors in the SQLite3 database. Because the colors are stored simply as RGB values, you can also specify any color you want instead of being limited to the standard Red/Orange/Blue/Green/Purple.

Here are my notes for anyone else compelled to do this (its been working wonderfully for me!). One side note, you have to exit and then reopen it to see the color changes. Enjoy!


$ cd /var/mobile/Library/Calendar
$ sqlite3 Calendar.sqlitedb

sqlite> select title,color_r,color_g,color_b from Calendar; -- List calendars and current colors
Michael Ansel|181|0|13

sqlite> update Calendar set color_r=181, color_g=0, color_b=13 where title = 'School-Important'; -- Red
sqlite> update Calendar set color_r=229, color_g=98, color_b=0 where title = 'School-Studying'; -- Orange
sqlite> update Calendar set color_r=103, color_g=10, color_b=108 where title = 'School-Class'; -- Purple
sqlite> update Calendar set color_r=15, color_g=77, color_b=140 where title = 'Michael Ansel'; -- Blue

sqlite> select title,color_r,color_g,color_b from Calendar; -- List calendars and current colors
Michael Ansel|15|77|140

sqlite> .quit

$ exit


RGB Values for the Standard Colors

Red = (181,0,13)
Orange = (229,98,0)
Green = (47,141,0)
Blue = (15,77,140)
Purple = (103,10,108)

Yan Liang said...

For those getting Google calendar synced using the Exchange ActiveSync, there is one way to do this. Go to calendar settings on the Google calendar page and export calendars as iCal files. This will save a copy of all events with all attributes saved onto your desktop. Following that you can safely delete the calendars from your account and sync your phone such that your iPhone calendar becomes brand new.

You can then start to create new calendars with random names like 1, 2, 3... and then sync them all to your iPhone without adding or importing any iCal data. When they're synced to your iPhone you'll be able to see all the calendars listed with their assigned color. From there you can start renaming say, 1 (Red), or 2 (Yellow), to whatever calendar you wanted that color to be. This allowed me to "choose" whatever colors I wanted. When all of them were renamed with original names, I then imported all the data into each of them from the files on my desktop. Following that I deleted all the other randomized calendars that I didn't use. I could get most of the common colors like red, orange, purple, blue, green, but yellow, cyan and others did not appear (maybe I didn't create enough new calendars to hit those colors).

Hope this helps.

tDk said...

@Michael Ansel - I use the same technique to get my colours right, but I use an easier method (for me). I use an SFTP client to grab a copy of the Calendar.sqlitedb file onto my desktop (so I've got a backup in case of accidents), and then use SQLite DB Browser (available from Sourceforge) to edit the table - much easier to do it in a visual tool. Then just reupload the sqlitedb file back to the iPhone. Might help someone not comfortable with commandline sqlite :)