50,000 limit on Calendar + Reminder items


Interesting adventures for my wife recently using Calendar app. She has been using it for the past 15 years to run her (solo medical practitioner) appointment book. Over the recent months it gradually became unreliable for the first time. Appointments not being saved, not syncing to other devices, etc. Minor mayhem in the office.

2 contacts with Apple Help were near useless (wipe and reinstall your Mac said one of these illuminati!)

Finally I insisted on speaking with a senior adviser who mercifully did know what he was talking about and we eventually discovered that Apple has a limit of 50K for the total of Events and Reminders. I certainly was not aware of this, nor was he!
The relevant Apple support article: Limits for iCloud Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Bookmarks and Maps – Apple Support (AU).

So folks, for those of us who have relied on the Calendar and Reminders apps for a few decades, we will have to start figuring out the most appropriate protocols and apps for culling and saving the really old data.


Steve J


One solution, depending on how your wife plans to use the old data, would be to create a new user account on her Mac. Once that is done she can export all the data from her existing account to an .ics file, import that into the Calendar in the new user account, then delete it from her primary account. Then do the same for her contacts if necessary (using export to vcard).

Once complete she could use Fast User Switching to access the new account as needed.

I suggest you backup all the data (export to calendar archive & contacts archive) before starting.

This footnote from that article is interesting, though:

If you have upgraded your iCloud reminders on a device running iOS 13, iPadOS, or macOS Catalina or later, these limits on reminders do not apply.

“These limits” include the 50,000 limit on the total number of notes & reminder events.

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The issue was with the Events in Calendar app. She has virtually never used the Reminders app. A great believer in paper and pen my spouse.

Have culled a few years of the truly ancient history, ie 2005 and 2006, and all back to normal.

And WayneG: thanks for the suggestion.

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FWIW I ran into a similar problem but on my case I can’t afford to cull as in never have access to the old data so saved it all out as searchable PDFs in list format. My calendar data went back to 1998 for computer calendars and back to 1989 for scanned paper. And Yes, I do actually refr to all of the old stuff on occasion, usually 1-3 times amonth I end up looking up something from the 1990’s that was in my calendar, a bit more often than that for 2000 and so on for each decade. I look up old calendar data (old defined as previous year and older) about 20 times a month.

The limits in the Apple Support article referenced in the original post seem archaic. Artifacts of days when processor, memory, disk resources were all very limited. Apple could make the limits go away in a dot release, if it wanted to.

How would someone find out how the status against these limits? How many calendar entries, maximum size of “all calendar and reminder data”, and so on? Since it seems the software doesn’t warn about approaching limits, it just craps out, it would be interesting to know how to monitor the situation.

For a simple count of the number of events:

tell application "Calendar"
   count events of calendar "quorm"
end tell


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