iOS 4.2: Adding Birthdays to Calendars

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iOS 4.2 makes it easier to keep track of family and friend’s birthdays thanks to its new found ability to display birthdays in Calendar. Getting those dates into the Calendar app, however, can be a little confusing if you don’t know where to start.

Birthday events start with the Birthday field in Contacts

To add someone’s birthday to the Calendar app, do this:

  • Launch the Contacts app on your iPad or iPod touch. On your iPhone, tap Phone, then Contacts.
  • Select the contact you want to add a birthday date to, then tap Edit.

Enter the date in the Birthday field

  • Tap add field, then select Birthday.
  • Enter the birth date in the freshly added field.
  • Tap Done.

Your friend’s birthday is now part of their contact info

The birthdays you add to Contacts will appear as untimed events in the Calendar app, complete with a wrapped present badge to let you they are special events.

Contact’s birthdays appear events in Calendar

[Thanks to maggiecda for asking me on Twitter about adding birthdays as events.]

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Still no ability to assign reminders/alarms to these Birthday calendars without using a script on the Mac to embed them.


Is there still a limit on how many years back you can go? About a year ago I found that my parent?s birthdays, which were in the 1920s and 1930s, would not display in ?modern? times. Essentially, after 1990 or so they would stop displaying.

Tik Tok

I entered my mom’s birthday. It’s in September. But now it shows up in December!  Deleted and did it again; same result. Doesn’t happen all the time, but there is some sort of bug.  My mom would, I hope, be understanding if Apple made me miss her birthday by two months.  That would be worse, I suppose, if it caused you to miss your mother-in-law’s birthday, but it depends on family relationships. Somebody ought to send the programmer to counseling.


@ Tik Tok.  Me too.  Any birthday in my address book in the 1920s decade shows up (wrongly) on the 13th December. I got two of them.

Also - if I’m in Time Zone (UTC+12) all birthdays are wrong by 2 days.

Plus - no ability to display ages or set alarms (maybe no-one sends birthday cards anymore)  make the birthday calendar on my phone useless.  I use the 3rd party app “Occasions”.

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