iPhone: over-complicated time-zone support?

Posted on by Mike Evans

Photo Am I the only user who finds the setting of time zones on the iPhone to be confusing? In common with many owners, I regularly move between time zones. On my MacBook Pro I have time zone set to automatic and all I need to remember is to manually change the time-zone support in iCal. On the phone, the zone changes are manual and are buried in Settings app. The general time zone is in General/Date & Time but it’s necessary to type in the city rather than select from a list or, ideally, select from a few personal common destinations.

But it’s the time zone support for calendars that always gets me. One week after returning from Athens I looked at my iPhone calendar today and realised all the appointments were two hours out (why I hadn’t noticed before, I don’t know). So I have to go to Settings and choose Mail, Contacts, Calendars and then, hidden away at the bottom of the long list, is Time Zone Support. Again, I have to type in London to replace Athens.

I can understand that many people might want to leave iCal fixed to their home time zone so appointments are viewed with the correct times, but I always prefer to change over. With appointments in several time zones it is desirable not to have errors and misunderstandings creeping in. This applies particularly to plane departure times which are always designated in the local time zone.

It would be a useful enhancement to the iPhone OS if we could have the ability to link the two settings when required: that way, changing the time zone in Date & Time would also adjust the calendar settings. Personally, I would also value an automatic time-zone change for both general and calendar settings.

Whatever happens, I think there is room for improvement in the next edition of iPhone OS.

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