Get SMS birthday reminders

Beeing a lousy grandchild, I nearly forgot the birthday of my grandmother a few days ago. This happens to me serveral times a year and I always feel a bit ashamed. It’s even more annoying because I have all the birthday data of my family and close friends properly stored on my harddrive. Beeing a mac user, I use Apple’s address book application to manage my contacts and that’s also the place where all those birthday data is stored. To come to the point, I do have the right data but it’s not at the right place. Instead of a static system, where I have to manually scan my contacts every week for someone who is going to have birthday the other week, I’m looking for a much more user friendly solution. The best thing would be, if I get a text message on my mobile phone a few days before the actual birthday. In this way I would have enough time to get a present or send a postcard. E-mail would work as well but specially during the holidays, when I want to stay away from my inbox, I would prefer SMS because it’s rather pushed then pulled. An ideal solution would use the existent data from the address book application without forcing me to re-enter all my contacts or birthday data again.
1 answer

Using Google Calendar as a birthday reminder

  1. Birthday dates are almost worthless in the address book application, so the first step is to important those dates into iCal. This is simple: just open the iCal preferences and in the General pane, enable "Show Birthdays Calendar". All the birthdays are now in address book and iCal.
  2. Google Calendar is the way to go if you would like to get SMS notifications for events for free. We will export our birthday calendar from iCal, import it into Google Calendar and enable SMS notifications for all those birthdays.
    • First, create a new calendar in Google Calendar with a name like "Birthdays". In the notification settings enable SMS notifications, seven days in advance (for example).
    • Export your birthday calendar from iCal by selection the appropriate calendar. Then press the menu items File/Export/Export and save the file as birthdays.ics.
    • In the Google Calendar settings, under the Calendars pane, choose "Import Calendars", upload the birthdays.ics File and import it to the "Birthdays" calendar.
  3. You should now get a text-message from Google when the next birthday is about to come up.

Please note that you have to repeat this process whenever you add a birthday. The synchronization between address book and iCal will happen automatically but importing the data to Google Calendar requires the manual steps from 2.)