apple calendar birthdays hero image Mac iPhone iPad

Apple Calendar for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and iCloud.com doesn’t just keep track of all your events and appointments in one place, but shows the birthdays for your friends and contacts as well. Here’s how to set up birthdays in the Apple Calendar app on your devices.

Apple Calendar includes a Birthdays calendar that can display all birthdays that you have in iCloud Contacts. This special calendar also shows any birthdays for your Facebook friends and Google contacts, provided the app is set to use calendars from those accounts.

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Not only will people’s birthdays show up on your calendar, the Calendar app even tells you how old they are and notifies you about their birthday. Here’s how to set up and use Apple Calendar birthdays on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and iCloud.com.

Apple Calendar birthdays are off by default, here’s how to turn them on.

How to turn on Apple Calendar birthdays

The Calendar app provides a special calendar that shows all birthdays from iCloud Contacts, as well as any birthdays for your  third-party accounts such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft and so forth.

Apple Calendar birthdays iPhone landscape

macOS lets you enable or disable the Birthdays calendar separately on each device.

As the stock Calendar app is available on iOS across iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, as well as for your Mac and as a web app on iCloud.com, we’re going to cover each platform separately.

Enabling birthdays in Calendar app on iPhone & iPad

To show or hide the Birthdays calendar on an iPhone or iPad, do the following:

1) Open the Apple Calendar app on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

2) Tap Calendars at the bottom of the interface.

3) Tick the checkbox next to Birthdays underneath the Other heading.

Apple Calendar birthdays iPhone

4) Tap Done.

Doing so will include birthdays from Contacts with your events. As you can see for yourself, additional calendars like US Holidays are easy to set up and great to stay organized.

Apple Calendar birthdays iPhone

In order to hide people’s birthdays from your calendar, repeat the aforementioned step-by-step instructions, but untick the box next to Birthdays.

Any contacts that have a birthday added to their contact card in the Contacts app show up on your calendar marked with a little icon denoting a birthday present.

The Calendar app even tells you how old your friends are.

Apple Calendar birthdays iPhone alert times

To set when birthday notifications should fire off, tap Settings → Calendar → Default Alert Times → Birthdays and choose a value, or tap None to disable birthday alerts in your browser.

Enabling birthdays in Calendar app on Mac

To show or hide the Birthdays calendar on your Mac, do the following:

1) Open the Apple Calendar app on your Mac.

2) In your calendar list, tick the box next to Birthdays underneath the Other heading.

Apple Calendar birthdays Mac

TIP: If you don’t see the calendar list, choose Show Calendar List from the View menu.

You can hide people’s birthdays from your calendar at any time by unticking the box.

To set when birthday alerts appear on your Mac, choose Preferences from the Calendar menu, click the Alerts tab, select the popup menu next to Birthdays, then make your selection.

Apple Calendar birthdays Mac alert times

Optionally, tick the box next to “Use these default alerts on only this computer” if you’d like to have separate alert times for events, all-day events and birthdays on each device.

Enabling birthdays in Calendar app on iCloud.com

To show or hide the Birthdays calendar on iCloud.com, do the following:

1) Log in with your Apple ID at iCloud.com using your desktop browser.

2) Click the Calendar icon or visit the link icloud.com/calendar.

Apple Calendar for Mac

3) Click the cog icon in the sidebar, then choose Preferences.

Apple Calendar birthdays iCloud preferences

4) In the General pane, tick the box next to “Show Birthdays calendar”.

Apple Calendar birthdays iCloud show

5) Click Save.

6) Click the Birthdays calendar in the sidebar below the Subscriptions heading to show it.

Apple Calendar birthdays iCloud selected

TIP: If you don’t see the sidebar, click the icon next to Day, Week and Month at the bottom.

Got a message saying it might take a few moments to load and show the Birthdays calendar on your calendar? Don’t panic, that’s normal behavior for the web app.

Apple Calendar birthdays loading message

To make the most out of the Birthdays calendar, be sure that your friends have their birthday saved within their contact information in the Apple Contacts app, as outlined further below.

Adding birthdays to contacts

To add, remove or update birthday information of a contact:

1) Open Contacts on your iPhone, iPad, Mac or via iCloud.com at icloud.com/contacts.

2) Navigate to a contact whose birthday you’d like to add, the choose Edit.

3) On iPhone and iPad, tap the field Add Birthday on the contact card. On iCloud Contacts, click the option Add Field at the bottom of the interface and choose Birthday from the popup menu. On your Mac, click the field Birthday.

Apple Calendar birthdays add Contacts app iPad

4) Add or update your friend’s birthday and choose Done to save the changes.

All birthdays saved in the Contacts app will show up on your calendar. If you add Facebook and Google accounts to your iPhone or iPad, the birthdays of your Facebook friends and Google contacts will be displayed on your calendar airside birthdays for iCloud Contacts.

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Updated birthday information may not instantly show up on your calendar.

Apple Calendar birthdays iCloud info

That’s because it takes time to synchronize your changes through iCloud to all of your devices.

If you don’t want to know when your friends’ birthdays are coming up, disable Apple Calendar birthdays. I love seeing these notifications because I always forget people’s birthdays.

iCloud Calendar also informs you that any changes in Contacts will be reflected in the web app within one hour. In a support document, however, Apple states that changes made in iCloud Contacts are reflected in iCloud Calendar within a day.

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