How to stop Calendars from showing holidays and birthdays

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It’s a small thing, but it can be annoying: Apple automatically generates calendars for holidays and birthdays in the Calendar app for iOS and macOS. Adding to that annoyance for Macworld reader Jeff in New Zealand, is that the U.S. Holidays calendar appears for him on his iPhone, and it has no utility for him. He’d like to suppress its display.

Let’s look first at how Apple determines how it picks the holidays appropriate to show for you. Apple says that in macOS it relies on the Language & Region system preference pane’s Region popup. In iOS, that’s found in Settings > General > Language & Region, and then tap Region.

However, even with the region set as you like it, you can choose which or whether calendars display in macOS:

  1. Launch the Calendar app.
  2. Choose Calendar > Preferences.
  3. Uncheck Show Holidays Calendar and none will appear. (You can also uncheck Show Birthdays Calendar if you don’t want birthdays from your contacts.)
mac911 macos calendar prefs IDG

In macOS, you can disable having holidays and birthdays calendars even appear in the list of calendars.

In iOS, however, you don’t have this option. But in both iOS and macOS, you can disable calendars individually. What might be confusing Jeff is that this isn’t found in Calendar’s preferences or settings. Instead, you control it from the list of calendars you display.

mac911 macos calendar listing of calendars IDG

The Calendar list lets you remove holidays, birthdays, and other local and online-synced calendars.

In macOS, launch Calendars, and then click the Calendars button at the upper-left of the window if you don’t see a list of calendars on the left-hand side. You can then uncheck individual calendars, including US Holidays or holidays of other regions, and Birthdays.

In iOS, launch Calendars and tap the Calendars button at the bottom of the display. Scroll to find the calendars you want to disable and tap them to remove them.

In both cases, it can take a moment for calendar event to be removed from your active calendar display.

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