TLDR: Don’t click decline. Change your iCloud settings. iCloud.com>Preferences>Advanced> ‘Receive invites as email’. Move the spam invites to a new calendar, then delete that calendar.
A few days ago, I got a calendar notification for an Ugg Boot Sale. I didn’t remember accepting an invitation to buy Uggs, I prefer Nikes myself. I thought it was probably one of those Facebook Events that your ‘friends’ invite you to. But I opened my Calendar I found the event was not coming from Facebook. I thought it was weird, so I clicked decline to get it off my calendar, and moved on.
The next day an event showed up for a Ray-Ban sale. It was then that I realized I was seeing a new type of spam. A few friends on Twitter started talking about it a few days later.
Turns out this is widespread and super annoying. A swarm of calendar alerts for “deals” and “sales” from spammers. The problem is that the default settings in Apple’s iCloud calendar, pushes invites straight to your Calendar, bypassing e-mail entirely.
How to Stop Apple Calendar invite spam
Getting rid of the invites is a problem in itself, because if you declining the event, it sends a message back to the spammer confirming that someone actually is monitoring the iCloud account they targeted, so they send more messages. Stopping them entirely requires a simple change to your iCloud settings.
So don’t click the ‘Decline’ button.
For the calendar spam you have right now, to remove it, create a new calendar, move the spam to that calendar, and then delete that calendar.
- Open the Calendar application
- Navigate down to Calendars, then tap Edit
- Add a Calendar to the list using the same button
- Give it a name (like Spam) and tap Done
- Double-tap ‘Done’ to return to the calendar
- Open the spam invitation
- Tap the bottom (above invitation) on ‘Calendar’
- Select the newly created spam calendar
- Repeat this for all invitations
- Now navigate back to the ‘Calendars’
- Tap the i-button next to the spam calendar
- Scroll down and tap ‘Delete calendar’
Stop Future Spam Invites
To stop getting all future iCloud calendar spams, you can login to iCloud.com and open your calendar. Click the gear icon in lower left of the screen to open Preferences and chose the Advanced tab. Change your Invitations setting from in-app notifications to email. This will prevent future invites from automatically appearing in your calendar, and you will get the spam as an email which is easier to delete without confirming your email to the spammer. This tip came from Mike Jones on Twitter.
Unfortunately, you must use a desktop browser to change the iCloud server settings. The UI doesn’t work on mobile devices (especially Safari on iOS), as the iCloud.com site doesn’t permit you to scroll and the “Save” button is forever hidden from view. So make this change on your Mac. (got that tip from this article)
This is also a problem with iCloud Photo Sharing. I haven’t gotten this type of spam yet, but apparently but there are not fixes for this type yet.
In the end unfortunately, I am just surprised that it took the spammers so long to figure this out.
I made a video showing how to do both steps if you are a visual learner like me.
I also sent this to @AppleSupport and I had a call with a nice Senior Support Tech. He sent me a link so I could upload images of the issue which I did. He said a fix might be a week or two away, so in the meantime, change your iCloud settings.
UPDATE: Apple is actively blocking the spam accounts. They are also working on a long term solution to prevent these types of spam from coming in. If you get a spam invite, display the email address, take a screenshot, and then send it to @AppleSupport so they can block that account.