Forced upgrades and planned obsolescence – almost all companies do it, but Apple has really advanced it from a science to an art form. I was holding onto iOS5 with my cold, Minnesota frost-bitten hands because I liked Google Maps as the default mapping app – you know, one that will actually deliver correct directions. But there were a couple of apps I wanted to install that required iOS6. Too bad I waited too long, once iOS7 was released, upgrading to iOS6 was no longer possible. At one point, iOS6 users were automatically upgraded to iOS7 “over the air” – meaning it happened automatically without user approval or intervention. Then there was a lawsuit which quickly stopped OTA updates. None-the-less, iOS6 is a memory, and while I thought I would only have to deal with Apple Maps and iOS7 generally grinding my “old” iPhone to a halt, it turns out there are many more bugs to be discovered.
iOS7 is full of several major changes. I can handle the UI overhaul in iOS7. My dad says it looks like all the icons were redrawn by a kindergartener, but I’ll quickly get over that part. What I can’t handle is when there are serious issues with the functionality of the software. Despite knowing all of this, I still clicked that update button, and it seemed to go swimmingly.
Post Upgrade Calendar Blues
As soon as I upgraded iOS, I had like 27 apps that also wanted to upgrade. When I started the iOS upgrade process I had at least a gigabyte of free space on my phone, so I figured everything was kosher. The iOS update went fine, but when I tried updating my apps, I was informed that I had no free space left to work with. When I went to the usage screen, I was surprised to see “Calendars & Reminders” at the top of the list with 1.8GB. Normally it’s either photos or music (understandably), so WTF was going on?
I did some searching and was glad and annoyed that I wasn’t alone. I was glad since others were having the same problem, there was likely a known cause, and hopefully a solution. This guy with a 64GB iPhone had his calendar usage balloon up to 25GB! This other guy made a graph of his usage over time.
I was annoyed because I feel that if Steve Jobs were still around, he would have found the developers responsible for the terrible iOS7 calendar and said to them “One more thing… you’re fired!” He would have then put his best guys in there to fix the bug. But here I was 4 point releases into iOS7 and clearly this remains an issue.
It seems iOS7 was copying all of my subscribed calendars to the phone. And since several of them have recurring events with no end date, it just kept copying them ad infinitum. I deleted some photos and some music and the calendar storage usage just went up to 2GB. So I deleted some more photos and some more music. I tried a couple of suggestions (see below), but before anything could take effect, it just kept ballooning up.
So I tried going into Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars -> Subscribed Calendars and setting them all to “inactive” by toggling off each calendar’s “Account” switch. Strangely the usage size did not diminish and there were several of the same subscribed calendars still showing up in the calendar app.
I left the subscribed calendars “inactive” and went into the calendar app and tried to delete the very calendars I had marked inactive. In the calendar app, click “Calendars” then click the “i” icon next to a subscribed calendar, scroll to the bottom then choose “Delete Calendar.” This, in theory, would delete all of the subscribed events that have been (stupidly) copied to the phone.
I don’t know if I was getting impatient or what, but my phone was still hemorrhaging memory. I tried several other things:
- Putting the phone into airplane mode so it couldn’t download anymore data (was it downloading or calculating dates until the end of time?)
- Going to Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars -> Subscribed Calendars and actually deleting suspected large calendars (re-adding is easy enough)
- Closing all apps (including the calendar) and then restarting the phone
I’m not sure which of these straws actually broke the camel’s back, but I suspect I could have skipped the deleting of the subscribed calendars and had a little more patience. If you’re having this issue, I recommend doing the normal “Delete Calendar” from the calendar app just before you go to bed, while your phone is charging. Then in the morning, close the all apps and restart the phone.
Where ever you are now Steve, we could use some of that classic Jobs incessant attention to detail that has been lost.