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Well I managed to delete my calendar, which was being synched via iCloud with my Mac, iPad, and iPhone.

Can I repopulate my iCal calendar from a Time Machine backup? ~/Library/ contains a folder called Calendars, but its contents look complicated and I don't dare simply restore the Calendars folder from yesterday's Time Machine backup.


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up vote 3 down vote accepted

From what I can tell, Time Machine doesn't allow you to restore iCal calendars through the iCal app. And actually, you should be able to restore that calendars folder.

While the directory contents are complicated, iCal should translate them back to what you had before. The only other thing I would bring over just to be on the safe side is your iCal's list file, located in ~/Library/Preferences. It should be called I would recommend moving this from your Time Machine backup to the same directory on your Mac.

That should do it for you.

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In fact, apart from restoring ~/Library/Calendars I recommend restoring each plist file in ~/Library/Preferences that has iCal in its name. For me, that would be,,, and iCalExternalSync.plist. – Dan Feb 26 '12 at 12:40
Following Matt and @Dan's advice seems to have worked perfectly. – Chap Feb 26 '12 at 16:15
@Chap: Nice to know it worked for you. – Dan Feb 26 '12 at 16:23

This worked for me but I had to clean things up before it actually did work :

rm -fr ~/Library/Calendars
rm -fr ~/Library/Preferences/*iCal*
cp -fr $TimeMachineHome$/Library/Calendars ~/Library/Calendars
cp -fr $TimeMachineHome$/Library/Preferences/*iCal* ~/Library/Preferences
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I found another solution using Time Machine. You will have to look deep inside that Calendars folder though. This was the only way I could find that would get around iCloud's penchant for re-syncing my lost calendar back into oblivion.

I think these are the steps that will work. For reference I am using Mavericks with iCloud Calendar syncing.

  1. Close Calendar.
  2. Move the entire contents of the ~\Library\Calendars folder to a temp folder - both as a backup and for comparison below.
  3. Stop iCloud Calendar syncing in System Preferences > iCloud
  4. Enter Time Machine on the now empty Calendars folder.
  5. Restore the contents of the Calendars folder to a time before you deleted/lost your calendar.
  6. Now compare the temp folder with the restored Calendars folder to find your missing calendar. I believe it will be in the .caldav folder - a folder in there will not be in your temp folder. You can verify by opening the Events folder inside the missing folder and use Quick-look to view the lost events.
  7. Copy that Events folder out to your Desktop.
  8. Open your Calendars application - your iCould synced calendars will not be there, but they are still in iCloud.
  9. Create a new calendar "On My Mac" - it has to be local - if you turn on iCloud syncing before this step you won't be able to create a local calendar "On My Mac".
  10. Drag the contents of the Events folder from your Desktop to the new calendar. Wait for the events to copy over.
  11. Close Calendar.
  12. Turn iCloud Calendar syncing back on in System Preferences > iCloud
  13. Open Calendar.
  14. Calendar should now re-sync all the iCloud calendars back - and - it will copy the new "On My Mac" calendar to iCloud - restoring all you lost events. You can rename the new calendar.

Hope this helps.

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