I am occasionally away from my time machine disk. During these periods I would still like to backup my calendar in case the hard disk (MacBook's) crashes.

Which file or directory should I copy to backup iCal's entries?


I am looking for a maintenance-free backup method (i.e. one that does not require me to think about it until something bad happens).

Might it be possible to sync iCal with a cloud-based (perhaps Google's) calendar? Is it possible afterwards to sync back into iCal?

  • What version of Mac OS X are you running?
    – Daniel
    Oct 9, 2011 at 4:15
  • OS X Lion (10.7.1)
    – Calaf
    Oct 9, 2011 at 4:28
  • 1
    Then it looks like next week Apple will be rolling out your solution. And it's free.
    – Daniel
    Oct 9, 2011 at 4:30

1 Answer 1


If you are running Lion, iCloud, launching in October 2011, will soon provide cloud-based back up for calendar information.

To manually backup iCal entries, Apple recommends that you either

  • Save an iCal Archive on your hard drive (File » Export » iCal Archive...)
  • or Export an individual calendar to a file on your hard drive (use this method for any CalDAV calendars) (File » Export » Export...)

To protect against hard drive failure, copy the resulting files onto external media.

If you wanted to sidestep the Apple recommended process, and simply back up a single folder, it appears your calendar data files are stored in ~/Library/Calendars

Additionally, Google provides instructions for how to sync iCal with Google Calendar.

  • Exporting works fine and it is quite suitable as a backup, but it also means I have to stop every time I add a few appointments to export the new calendar. A method geared to automation would be much nicer. I am sure I tried in the past to fiddle with ~/Library with rather bad consequences. Can someone confirm that restoring ~/Library/Calendars does actually work?
    – Calaf
    Oct 9, 2011 at 4:10
  • See updates. iCloud might be what you're looking for. Coming soon...
    – Daniel
    Oct 9, 2011 at 4:17
  • Syncing with Google calendar seems to be the right way to go, but I'll delay doing it until one thing is clear. I don't like the first reason at google.com/support/calendar/bin/answer.py?answer=99358#ical ("share your schedule"). Does one get to keep one's calendar private if one wishes?
    – Calaf
    Oct 9, 2011 at 4:34
  • You can turn off sharing (I do), but "private"? Google has your information, and mines it for patterns they can exploit to better serve advertisements. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile. Seriously, read the TOS before turning your data over. I find the compromises acceptable, but others may not.
    – Daniel
    Oct 9, 2011 at 4:43
  • True. "Private" has many meanings. Think of this: someone takes two weeks off to interview for another job. The last thing he'd want is for his boss to know that his schedule is booked in one to three-hour slots during his holiday.
    – Calaf
    Oct 9, 2011 at 4:51

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