By: Aaron Cohoon
3/13/15: Related posts and updates to this article
Fix in iOS 8.2
Repairing Exchange Calendar Events Altered by GMT Bug
2/10/15: Update to original post below dated 12/10/14
For months, many iPhone and iPad users running iOS 8 through iOS 8.1.3 have reported calendar events displaying a second time zone in addition to the device’s time zone across multiple platforms. An Apple Support Forum thread that was started a few days after the launch of iOS 8 in September 2014, has exceeded 315,000 views. As more users encountered and reported the issue, it eventually garnered media attention in several outlets including Forbes.
After several software updates failed to address the issue, the iOS 8.2 Beta 5 release notes revealed a fix for a third party calendar sync issue. While this does not specifically describe the time zone issue encountered by so many users, also known as the “GMT bug”, iOS developers are reporting that it has been resolved in the latest iOS 8.2 Beta. Once the public release is available, we will be able to thoroughly test the Calendar app to ensure that events can be displayed or edited exclusively using the device time zone settings.
The experience of many iPhone and iPad users who rely on Exchange or other subscribed calendars will likely continue to be affected by this issue until Apple releases iOS 8.2, expected in March of 2015. Increased awareness and reporting on this issue has brought it to Apple’s attention, and undoubtedly contributes to the work of their engineers to improve the iOS Calendar experience. If you are affected by this issue, it is encouraged to submit feedback to Apple at the following link:
There are a few possible workarounds to try while awaiting the official fix. Calendar events can be created from an iPhone or iPad using Outlook Web App (OWA) in a web browser such as Safari. Also, certain third party calendar applications have been reported to bypass the issue by utilizing the device’s time zone settings. If you decide to try a third party calendar application, check with the app description or with the developer to make sure it supports Exchange to synchronize your calendar.
============Original post from 12/10/15=================
We’re getting reports from users on both AppRiver’s Hosted Exchange and Microsoft Office 365 platforms that calendar events are displaying two time zones on iPhones and iPads running iOS 8. Calendar events that were created on an iPhone or iPad running iOS 8 or higher, or created in Microsoft Outlook in some cases, display the server time below the device’s local time when opened on an iPad or iPhone running iOS 8.0.0 through 8.1.1.
In this example the user’s mailbox server is hosted with Office 365 in GMT:
While this issue seems to be cosmetic since the device’s correct local time is still displayed in the calendar, it can potentially cause major confusion for users when they edit an event from an iPhone or iPad, as the Start time will default to the server time. One user has created a video detailing the issue and challenge it causes with editing events and posted it on YouTube here.
To edit an event displaying two time zones tap the Start time field, and make sure the time zone is correct before saving the changes to the calendar event on the device. This won’t prevent the server time zone from being displayed, but it will keep your calendar appointments set to the correct time when editing events on the go
Why is this happening?
Several users have reported this issue to Apple, and in one case the following response has been forwarded from Apple Support:
“The customer is contacting us because both the local time, and either the time of the originator or the server is showing in the Calendar app. This is expected behavior with iOS 8.The customer can submit feedback on this feature at http://www.apple.com/feedback.”
This is not behavior observed with other email and calendar clients supporting Exchange such as Outlook, Android, Windows Phone, or BlackBerry mobile devices. Calendar events should display the time zone the event was created in as determined by the client software (Outlook or the settings on your mobile device) not the time zone in which the server is housed. Time zones are controlled at the individual mailbox client level because each Exchange server can, and does house mailboxes of users who live, work, and travel throughout different time zones.
Time Zone override is the only feature in iOS 8 that is known to display two time zones in a calendar event. Since Time Zone Override replaced the Time Zone Support feature in iOS, we can assume its expected behavior is to display events in an iOS device’s local time as well as the time zone in which the event was created.
For example, you live in New York, your time zone is EST, and you are traveling to London, in GMT, when you get to London you’re time zone is 5 hours ahead of New York time, but you have to call a client back home at 4 PM EST. The Time Zone override feature should display your calendar events that were created in New in both EST and GMT
Unfortunately, users are seeing their server times displayed while they’re home and all of their client settings are set correctly to New York (for this example). I have reported this as a feature bug to Apple as this happens even when Time Zone Override is turned off. To further confuse the perception of “expected behavior”, Apple has not included Time Zone Override in the official IOS 8 (now 8.1) manual as of today.
After extensive troubleshooting and providing several examples to Apple Support, my ticket on the issue was escalated to Apple’s Engineering team. Unfortunately there is still no fix, but I have been assured there is something in the works. Apple’s Enterprise team sent me an acknowledgement after their Engineering team reviewed my case and that of several other users.
“Thank you for calling in so we may add to impact on issue with Exchange accounts and calendars on ios 8. Apple is aware of this and currently being worked on.”
From what they’ve told me they have enough examples now to know the issue with dual time zones displayed in events is specific to an iOS 8 feature. However, I was also informed the reported impact has been minimal. In order to increase awareness so that there can be a fix applied in an update soon I encourage any user encountering this issue to submit feedback at the following web address: http://www.apple.com/feedback/iphone.html
About the Author: Aaron Cohoon is a Mobile Solutions Administrator for AppRiver, a leading hosted Exchange e-mail security provider. Aaron has a significant Technical Support background in the telecommunications industry, accompanied with an immeasurable drive and dedication.