How to . . . deal with iCloud calendar spam

Inundated with dodgy offers? Here’s how to banish them from your calendar

Swipe away spam: Black Friday sales, knock-off designer goods and offers for “value brand” sunglasses  can  ruin your iCloud calendar app experience. Photograph: iStock

Swipe away spam: Black Friday sales, knock-off designer goods and offers for “value brand” sunglasses can ruin your iCloud calendar app experience. Photograph: iStock

 

There I was, minding my own business, when a notification popped up on my phone. A calendar notification of an Ugg sale starting tomorrow, at hugely discounted prices, and it wanted me to accept, decline or tell it “maybe” I’d attend.

Last I checked, I’d never signed up for any such offers, so I ignored it. But two days later, another one arrived, this time offering me cheap RayBans. Same deal: straight to my iCloud calendar via a foreign site I’d never heard of before. Black Friday sales, knock-off designer goods and “value brand” sunglasses have all popped up on my calendar in the past few days alone.

It turns out this has been happening a lot lately to iCloud users. Calendar spam is the new email spam. And the problem is, like those sneaky “unsubscribe” links in spam emails, any interaction with the invite will alert spammers that your account is indeed an active one will only encourage more spurious invitations. Great.

So how do you deal with them without inviting messages? There are a couple of solutions.

First, to get rid of the invitations that have already hit your account, create a calendar in your iCloud account and name it something like “Spam”, “Junk” or “Rubbish offers I’d never take up even if you paid me”. Whatever takes your fancy. You’ll shuffle all the invitations in here, then delete it, taking the invites with it, without alerting spammers about your account’s existence.

Spam gatherer

To do this, go to the calendar app on your iPhone. Click “Calendars” on the bottom of the screen, and then “Edit”. Under iCloud calendars, choose “Add Calendar”, and create your spam gatherer. Click “Done” and return to your calendar.

Now go to your spam invites and select one. Under “Calendar”, move it to “Spam” (or whatever you named your quarantine calendar). Do this for the rest of your spam invitations. Then go back into Calendars, scroll down to your spam calendar, select it and then choose “Delete calendar”. Your spam invites will be consigned to the dustbin, and the sender is none the wiser.

Prevention, however, is better than cure. There is a way to make sure those spam invites don’t land in your calendar, but get sent to your email account – and easily filtered out – instead.

You’ll need to log into iCloud on a web browser to sort this one out. Open the calendar section and in the bottom left of the screen you’ll see a cog icon for settings. Open that, and select “Preferences” then “Advanced settings”. Scroll down to invitations. You’ll see the default is for in-app notifications – change this to email and click “Save”.

So there you have it. Invitations will now go to your email address instead of popping up on your phone, making them far easier to ignore.

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