iCal, iPhone, and the disappearing senior citizens

Reader Peter Frank questions Apple’s devotion to senior citizens. He writes:

I use Address Book and iCal, which sync to my iPhone very nicely except for birthdays of people over about 76 years of age. Anyone born before 1/1/1933 (for this year) does not get their birthday synced over to the iPhone. Why is this and is there any way to fix it? Each year my family and friends get older and some are over this arbitrary cut off.

Allow me to outline what’s happening here. In Address Book you’ve caused the Birthday field to appear by opening Address Book’s preferences, clicking the Template tab, and, from the Add Field pop-up menu, selecting Birthday. In Address Book you then entered birth dates for your nearest and dearest.

You then launched iCal, opened its preferences, and enabled the Show Birthdays Calendar option in the General tab. You then browsed through iCal and, sure enough, there were the birthdays you’d added in Address Book.

Good so far. Now, when you synced your iPhone to this birthdays calendar you discovered that those of advanced years did not appear on your iPhone. The reason is that the iPhone and iPod touch are limited to repeating a single event just 75 times. Regrettably, your iPhone doesn’t see Aunt Toni’s 76th birthday through sentimental eyes. To it, she’s just an event that’s repeated one time too many.

The solution is to create a separate repeating event in a different iCal calendar for your well-seasoned friends and family members that begins this year. Unless they live to be more than 150 years old, you should be set.

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