Now that I will be able to share iCal calendars (e.g. on iCloud, MobileMe), for events that are marked as private is there a way to make other people only see that I am occupied at a certain time but not why? Can I somehow make an event private?

If this still will not be possible, what is the current workaround for this? How could I set up this scenario?

  • (reopened now that Lion is out) Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 1:32
  • Calendaring hasn't changed and is still the MobileMe which has had calendar sharing for some time. (Yes iCloud beta is out for things not calendar related - but we have to wait till fall or some announcement to even speculate if this will be a feature). Currently, this is not a feature of MobileMe. Any objection if I edit this so it's answerable as is today with Mobile Me?
    – bmike
    Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 13:32
  • 2
    @bmike I agree this question should be closed or edited due to iCloud not being released yet. Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 14:31
  • I'm wondering if we can provide @bitbonk with any more information to get his question answered?
    – bmike
    Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 18:22

4 Answers 4


The availability picker on Lion (when it even works) only shows the binary status with your busy times blocked.

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The CalDAV request to show busy times just shows that you are busy, not why.

If you don't share private events (or keep that secure with a password to subscribe), your event details are as secure as anything on a web server with controls before you can retrieve the data. (not perfect security, but not wide open to anyone)

  • I had no idea there was such a thing in iCal (assuming it's iCal). Where is it?
    – LaC
    Commented Jul 31, 2011 at 23:50
  • Window menu - Availability Panel. Apparently MobileMe isn't up to scheduling yet, but if you integrate with other CalDAV or exchange servers that support availability, it's a great improvement.
    – bmike
    Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 1:38

As a workaround, you could move the private events to separate calendar, also published, but configured as above. Of course your subscribers would need to add it to their subscription.


The issue being raised is bigger than MobileMe or iCloud. It's fundamental to how we all work today. If we aren't all on the same google docs account or the same exchange infrastructure we need to be able to share calendar information.

There are a couple of good solutions that I have used and seen people use in the past.

  1. Use Google Calendar and have iCal sync - share the Google Calendar and enable Sharing but check "Share only my free/busy information" This solution works on all platforms and is free.

  2. Use tungle.me. It syncs with iCal and gives your people a nice purple-y interface

  3. Change the way you calendar slightly (sounds strange but I know someone who did this). Create a separate calendar that you will share with people and on that calendar you (manually) block out your free/busy time. The benefit of this is that you have total control and there is no extra syncing.

  • 2
    The free/busy CalDAV call is intended to solve this issue - abstract and compile down all of the "busy" commitments that iCal (or whatever other actors write into that server store) so indicate availability of a resource. It works well for equipment, spaces as well as people.
    – bmike
    Commented Jul 28, 2011 at 16:04

There is a service called Tungle that seems designed to do what you need. It syncs with your calendar, but only displays your availability.

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