How to get rid of Apple Calendar spam
Published 30/11/2016 | 08:27
Cloud users have experienced a surge in Calendar spam – in which spam emails offering cheap Ray-Bans Ugg Boots or Pandora bracelets contain calendar invitations to make them even more irritating.
Apple's operating systems – iOS and MacOS – scan email inboxes for messages that contain calendar invitations so that you don't have to dig through your emails to find them. When you get an invitation, it pops up as a notification on your phone or tablet.
This is useful for meetings, flights and so on, and lets you see all your notifications in your calendar app. However, it is also being increasingly exploited by spammers offering cheap deals. While spam emails can easily be ignored, or blocked by junk filters, calendar invitations are more visible.
Users are also receiving spam invitations to edit Reminders and view photo groups.
Invitations are often sent to different email addresses in bulk. One I received claiming to offer 50 per cent off Ugg Boots in a Black Friday sale directed people to "ugg-home.com", which is not the official Ugg website but a scam site registered in Moldova.
It is unclear why there has suddenly been such a rise in these spam calendar notifications. It may be linked to Black Friday, or recent data breaches that have seen hackers steal millions of email addresses.
However, it appears to be fairly widespread, with hundreds of online complaints. The events often run for several days, clogging up calendars.
As well as calendar invitations, users have received spam via invitations to edit Reminder groups – a feature in the Reminders app that allows teams to work on to-do lists together. Spam photo sharing invitations have also cropped up.
How to get rid of them
The problem with iCloud invitations is that anyone who has your email address can send them, from a work colleague to a spammer from the other side of the world.
And apart from better spam filters, there's no way to control this. So you either have to turn off all notifications, or sift through them yourself.
You should not reject any spam invitations: acknowledging them in any way will notify the spammer that you are monitoring the notifications, and could mean more in the future.
Instead, you need to shut the notifications off in iCloud.
- Go to iCloud.com, log in and go to the calendar
- Hit the cog button in the bottom left corner of the screen and then go to Advanced
- Change Invitations from In-app notifications to receiving email ones
To delete current invitations without declining them:
- Create a new calendar in the Calendar app. Hit Calendars at the bottom, then Edit in the top left corner and then Add Calendar: call it junk, spam or something equally cathartic
- Select the spam event and move it to your new calendar
- Delete the new calendar by going back to the Calendars screen, press Edit, hit the "i" on the right and scroll down to Delete Calendar
For photos you can stop people sending you spam sharing notifications by going into Settings -> Photos and turning off iCloud Photo Sharing.