Apple fixes iCloud bug that ‘Barbie-ised’ OS X, iOS calendars

Gregg Keizer
17 October, 2013
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Apple today fixed an iCloud bug that had turned OS X and iOS users’ calendars into a gaudy range of colours that one frustrated customer labelled the ‘Barbie Dreamhouse’ palette.

The fix to the problem, which Apple never publicly acknowledged, was noticed by OS X and iOS users earlier on Wednesday.

“My calendar has also returned to normal colours… finally,” wrote Irish27 in a message posted about 11:30 am PT (Pacific Time) to an Apple support forum. “This was a real pain in the rear. I hope Apple has a handle on this and it won’t be happening again!”

Others chimed in on that thread and others to say that their custom-coloured calendars had also been restored to the desired hues.

Computerworld confirmed that the bug had been fixed, and that custom colours in Apple’s own calendars, as well as several third-party apps, including Fantastical on iOS and BusyCal on OS X, had returned to normal.

As did a support representative from BusyCal. On Wednesday, the rep alerted Computerworld that BusyCal’s help desk had started to receive reports from its customers that Apple had corrected the glitch. “We were hoping that would be the case, as [Apple] typically pushes out new iCloud builds on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning,” the BusyCal support representative wrote in an email.

Barbie Dreamhouse bug fixed

Apple today fixed the 'Barbie Dreamhouse' iCloud bug and restored customers' OS X and iOS first- and third-party calendars, including Fantastical for OS X, to their user-selected colours.

The ‘Barbie Dreamhouse’ bug – so described by one user because the flaw turned custom colours into garish pinks, blues and purples, the thematic colours of the popular toy – first surfaced on 8 October.

In the OS X and iOS native Calendars, as well as many third-party alternatives, users can colour code different calendars, such as ones tagged as ‘work’ or ‘home’ or ‘travel’ or ‘new project’, to make events easier to pick out. But the iCloud snafu changed all users’ custom colour selections.

The same problem had struck OS X and iOS calendars in August, but was fixed on Apple’s end a few days later.

Users were confused by the changes, but even more so when they restored their desired colours only to see them revert moments later to the Barbie palette when their apps synchronised with iCloud.

BusyCal said it received hundreds of emails about the problem last week, and several threads on Apple’s support forums grew to nearly 100 complaints and were viewed by thousands of others.

Apple will overhaul its OS X Calendar when it launches Mavericks, the successor to Mountain Lion. Mavericks, which may go on sale as soon as 23 October, will boast a redesigned Calendar that resembles the native app in iOS 7.

Like the current version of BusyCal, Mavericks’ Calendar will let users scroll through the timeline to show multiple weeks even when those weeks span a pair of months.

by Gregg Keizer, Computerworld

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