I understand that private is an Exchange concept, but I was hoping Apple would have implemented this feature since they are making use of ActiveSync. If the option is available it is certainly not obvious from the calendar creation screen. A bit of cursory searching turned up this whiny Apple forum thread, but alas no solution.

On the iPhone is it possible to create calendar appointments that are marked as private?

  • What does marking an appointment as "private" do in practice? How is it different than publishing free/busy status as opposed to listing the contents of a private meeting as "meeting 2013-043-1" and recording the details elsewhere such as a secure note taking app.
    – bmike
    May 3, 2013 at 17:11
  • @bmike Marking an appointment as private is significantly different in that everything about the meeting except its length is hidden from people who can view your calendar. Sure I can sanitize the data, but not being able to mark the meeting as private is a huge shortcoming of iOS's calendaring app when working with Exchange.
    – ahsteele
    May 3, 2013 at 19:48
  • I'm not in disagreement that the functionality would be useful (or trying to convince anyone it's not a shortcoming), but I wondered how it would work. Would the "private" details be saved to the event, but somehow encrypted or shown only to people with a certain ACL? I wondered if you had edited in more of what you wanted to have, someone could offer an alternative software that might do what you ask.
    – bmike
    May 3, 2013 at 21:03
  • @bmike rereading my question (almost a year later) I can see where there might be some confusion. I'm really asking if the iOS calendar app integrates with the Exchange Private flag. Private is an Exchange concept, but I believe it is one that can be set via ActiveSync and am looking to set the flag on appointments I create on my iOS devices which are synced to my Exchange account.
    – ahsteele
    May 3, 2013 at 21:35

3 Answers 3


Apparently Apple quietly added the ability to mark calendar events as private in iOS 8. At the bottom of the event details there is the option to toggle an event as Private. Setting this toggle works with Exchange.

See screenshots below:

iOS 8 iPhone screenshot of Private toggle on an event

iOS 8 iPad screenshot of Private toggle on an event


No you can not.

I assume you're using Exchange for you calendar, although you didn't specifically say so.

You can't necessarily create a private event, but you can create a subcalendar in Exchange that you can control the permissions of so that only you can see it. You can do this by:

  1. Open Outlook

  2. Go to Calendars

  3. Right click on your current main calendar and click New Calendar...

  4. Create the new calendar under your Exchange account's Calendar section

  5. Right click on your new calendar and select Properties.

  6. Go to the Permissions tab.

  7. Make sure the "Default" user is set to None.

  8. Set your own permissions to "Owner" and remove any other users from the list.

This calendar should show up on your iPhone fairly quickly. If it doesn't, try disabling Calendar syncing in Settings → Mail, Contacts, Calendars → Exchange.

  • Does having this second calendar block out my time for other people? Just because I don't want someone to know the content of an appointment doesn't mean I want them to able to schedule me during a particular time.
    – ahsteele
    Mar 18, 2012 at 1:34
  • Yes. You can mark yourself as Busy, Out of Office, etc. I'm not 100% sure how that shows up on other people's systems, but I can try it out on Monday when I get to work.
    – Matt Love
    Mar 18, 2012 at 2:46
  • did you get a chance to try this out at work?
    – ahsteele
    Apr 1, 2012 at 5:42

I tried it at work. Creating a private calendar subfolder with different permissions works fine. The problem is that other users cannot see my time as blocked, so they might plan an event which overlaps with my private event because they do not know I am not available. You can do it in the native Calendar application on a Mac by simply ticking off the "Private" checkbox, but not on an iPad or iPhone.

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