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10.7: Cleaning up birthdays in iCal Apps
Lion adds a little known feature in iCal, birthdays without birth year.

I've had a rather large Address Book contact list that over the years have been synced by multiple services and some of the birthdays show a wrong year. This hint shows how you can do a quick(er) clean up of your birthdays calendar.

Users of Filemaker's Bento know that beyond being a practical personal database it is also an awesome quick editor for Address Book. In Bento, all of your Address Book fields can be shown in a database/spreadsheet format and you can quickly filter and order your contacts based on the field.
  • Launch Bento (even the trial version will work), lookup Address Book and enable the 'Birthday' field.
  • The hint here is that all of the Birthdays without a year in iCal are actually dated the year '1604.' So browse at your leisure and by selecting the 'Birthdays' column you will be able to see the ones which show a wrong year and change it to '1604.'
  • As a result your updated Birthdays will show no years in iCal.
There might be other, more elaborate, ways to do this but at least this could be done without fiddling with the system using Terminal or going through each contact one by one in Address Book.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one.]
  • Currently 3.55 / 5
  You rated: 3 / 5 (11 votes cast)

10.7: Cleaning up birthdays in iCal | 6 comments | Create New Account
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10.7: Cleaning up birthdays in iCal
Authored by: shall1028 on Aug 22, '11 09:32:24AM

While I can't verify the 1604 year for the birthday filed I can verify that Bento will show the information that hint describes.

One thing that could be made clearer is the step "lookup Address Book and enable the 'Birthday' field" should be prefaced by:

"Show the records in table view"

and followed by:

"The toggle for the 'Birthday Field' is located in the 'Libraries and Fields Pane'. If this pane is not visible select the 'View menu' then 'Show Libraries and Fields Pane' or press Option+5 to toggle the pane."

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10.7: Cleaning up birthdays in iCal
Authored by: on Aug 22, '11 04:45:38PM

Works nice!

It took me a bit to figure out what you were saying: Use Bento to sort contacts and change the year to 1604, and the year 1604 is invisible in Address Book.

It's better now that my contacts don't show up as three years old or one hundred eleven years old.


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10.7: Cleaning up birthdays in iCal
Authored by: richie on Aug 22, '11 06:52:59PM

I don't have Bento, but it worked great just doing it in Addressbook manually! I created a smart group for 'Birthday' 'is set' and then just used my arrow key to get to the ones that I made up a birth year to be able to fill in the date. With '1604' as the year, it doesn't show up in address book any more, and iCal no longer calculates the age. Awesome! (one caveat - when synced with your iPod Touch/iPhone, the year does show up as '1604' - it's not invisible there).

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10.7: Cleaning up birthdays in iCal
Authored by: chrischram on Aug 23, '11 03:27:11PM

This comment about not having to use Bento makes the whole hint worth five stars

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10.7: Cleaning up birthdays in iCal
Authored by: Krux on Sep 19, '11 01:23:55PM

Anybody know how to add a reminder to all birthdays in iCal?

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10.7: Cleaning up birthdays in iCal
Authored by: Casemon on Mar 20, '12 01:37:25PM

iCal -> Preferences -> General -> Show Birthdays calendar

Will automagically add Birthdays as a calendar subscription containing all Address Book birthdays with default alert for the same day @ 8h.


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