How-to: Enable iCal's super-secret Debug menu; and 14-day weeks

How-to: Enable iCal's super-secret Debug menu; and 14-day weeks

Summary: If you live and die by iCal like I do, this simple Terminal command unlocks a couple of nifty new tricks that will make your life a little easier.


I don't know about you, but I could definitely use a few more days in the week. How about 14?

This wonderful little tip from Macgasm (via OS X Daily) solved a major problem that I had with Apple's ubiquitous calendaring application, iCal: its inability to display more than one week at a time in week view.

I usually default to iCal's week view, which is my preference because it shows events in context with their corresponding times in bubbles relevant to the actual length of the event.

Apple iCal 5's week view - Jason O'Grady

If you have more than a couple of calendars (I have 12) month view is simply too cluttered to be useful -- especially if you turn on the preference to "Show event times."

The problem with week view is that it doesn't show enough dates, especially as you get toward the end of a week. I find myself constantly switching back and forth between weeks.

Enter debug mode, a hidden setting that allows you to enable a couple of cool, unpublished features.

You can enable it with the following Terminal command:

    defaults write IncludeDebugMenu 1

... and disable it with this command:

    defaults write IncludeDebugMenu 0

If you're not comfortable with the Terminal, this tip may not be for you, but it's pretty tame as far as Terminal commands go -- and relatively low risk. Simply open Terminal, copy and paste the line above into it at the prompt and hit Return/Enter. Restart iCal and look for a spiffy new Debug menu that reveals this:

Apple's Top Secret debug menu in iCal - Jason O'Grady

I would stay away from most of the items on the menu, but the the path to the fun stuff is:

Debug >Top Sekret > Days In Week View

... where your options are:

  • Default (7)
  • 14
  • 21
  • 28

I switched to the 14 day week view and that alone was worth the price of admission for me.

In addition to the new Days In Week View option another useful trick enable by the Debug menu is the ability to open multiple iCal Calendar windows with Command+L, which is super-useful to compare dates.

There are some other new options in the Debug menu, including:

  • Show the # Weeks Before Start Date in Day View
  • Show the # Months After Start Date in Day View

But in my limited testing I didn't notice any changes in day view.

Images: Week view (Apple), 14-day view (Macgasm)

Topics: CXO, Apple, Operating Systems, Software

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Awesome

    Great tip!
  • RE: How-to: Enable iCal's super-secret Debug menu; and 14-day weeks

    Has anyone been able to figure out how to edit the default reminder time? Mine is set to 10 min before event. So (because I share a Google calendar with several co-workers who just enter events without manually entering reminder times) iF Shannon has and event scheduled as an all day event, i.e. "Shannon on vacation" I'll get an alert on my bedside iPad at 11:50 pm, frequently waking my wife. I'd like to change this default for all day events to 12 hrs prior.
    • RE: How-to: Enable iCal's super-secret Debug menu; and 14-day weeks

      @dgdamore <br><br>Try Office 365... apple and google are simply not Enterprise class... Apple can't even figure out how to implement day light savings time settings
    • Yes you can

      In iCal go to Preferences | General | Select: "Add a default alert to all new timed events and invitations" and enter the amount in minutes
  • Translation help to better understand

    I think I can learn a lot of IT here. These articles broaden my eyes. I like them very much. Yet, if some professional translation services provided, it would be better.
  • Nice features

    Nice additional features. Thanks for sharing.
  • Span a Month End?

    Have you ever found a way (and for the same readon as above) to span in month view, the end of one month and beginning of the next?
    As if one could scroll the month view to show any 4 weeks we wanted...?
    Hard to look ahead when you are near the end of a month until the first...??
    Any luck with this?
    Stuart Toomey
  • What I would like iCal to do is wake my Mac up when a reminder comes up

    If I want to hear my trainwhistle alert when I am not in my office working on my Mac I have to set the Mac not to go to sleep, which is not an ideal situation. (And no, I don't use a trainwhistle alert at times when others might be still asleep, as at the time I'm writing this--6 am).
    Laraine Anne Barker