iPod Touch Hack for iCal

I got an iPod Touch as a gift recently and was thrilled. As I started playing around with it I found I really wanted to be able to do more- like some of the stuff the iPhone could do. I especially wanted to be able to add to my calendar on the fly and to take notes.

So the first thing I did was use iJailbreak which required no brains on my part. It’s really just restarting a few times- no coding, no terminal, nothing difficult at all. That got me the iPhone apps and the option to install more programs later (assuming the next update doesn’t kill the iPod).

I still could not add events to iCal and that was nagging at me so I found this hack. All you’re doing is adding one small chunk of xml to a specific plist file (/System/Library/CoreServices/SpringBoard.app/N45AP.plist) on your iPod.

That turned out to be fairly easy as well.

  1. I got the IP address for my iPod (under Settings>WiFi>then click the blue arrow to the right of your network)
  2. I opened Cyberduck and opened a new connection using SFTP to that IP with the user name root and the password alpine
  3. I then navigated to /System/Library/CoreServices/SpringBoard.app/N45AP.plist (Cyberduck may open your window in something other than the root view so make sure you start off there)
  4. Out of mild paranoia I copied the plist to my desktop and made a copy of it in case I screwed something up.
  5. Now I had to get that plist out of binary form and into xml that I could edit. I opened up Terminal (Applications>Utilities>Terminal) and typed the following plutil -convert xml1 I then dragged the file to the terminal window (which creates an automatic path to the file) and hit return. You’ll end up with something like plutil -convert xml1 /Users/teacher/Desktop/N45AP.plist if you’re dragging from your desktop. It will seem like nothing happened but it did.
  6. I then opened the plist in SubEthaEdit (I think any text editor will work) and added the lines as shown below, saved the file and quit SubEthaEdit.

  7. I now had to convert it back to binary form so I put the following into Terminal plutil -convert binary1 /Users/teacher/Desktop/N45AP.plist This path to the plist should be the same as the one you used earlier and once again, nothing seems to happen but if you try opening the file with your text editor now you’ll see it’s very different than before.
  8. The final step was sending the modified file back to the iPod using Cyberduck. You should be able to just drag and drop it. Then say it’s ok to overwrite the old file. I then restarted the iPod just to make sure.

It sounds like a lot but it was really easy and now I have what I want (which is what’s really important, right? :))

Standard disclaimer- I’m not saying you should do this. It’s just what I did. You’re an individual and should make your own decisions about your own property.

Comments on this post

  1. darcidoodle said on December 26, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    One month later.. how’s it going? Did your hack hold under updates? I’m looking for this same functionality in the iPod Touch. Thx! Darci

  2. Tom said on December 26, 2007 at 8:35 pm

    darcidoodle- I think the newest update took care of the iCal issue. I haven’t updated since but things are still rolling along nicely. I’m considering updating but I’m a coward.

  3. darcidoodle said on December 27, 2007 at 10:20 am

    Thanks for the info, Tom! Looks like a Touch is in my future! The iCal issue was pretty important — I”m glad they fixed it!

    ~Doodle

  4. Melissa said on February 14, 2008 at 6:50 am

    Don’t you get frustrated that you can only use iTunes?

    I found it far too restrictive. It’s like buying a Toyota and only being allowed to use gas from the Toyota garage – or a Hotpoint Washing Machine, but only being allowed to use their own brand of washing powder.

    They should open up the spec of the iPod so that you can use any kind of audio format, instead of trying to monopolize the marketplace.

    Just my two cents! :o)

    Peace out x

  5. Christopher Mackay said on April 20, 2008 at 11:13 am

    Melissa: why should Apple change the requirement to use iTunes? You buy the device, it comes with software. Simple. It says so on the box; this comes as no surprise to anyone. If Apple allowed other software, they’d have to support it. Does anyone have to spell out the million ways this would be a disaster for Apple?

    “They should open up the spec of the iPod so that you can use any kind of audio format, instead of trying to monopolize the marketplace.”

    What nonsense.

    The “spec” you’re referring to would be what? AAC? It’s part of MPEG-4, and it *is* an open spec. Anyone can use it in their players, including Microsoft. They’ve chosen not to. Ask *them* ‘why not?’.

    Are you referring instead to Apple’s FairPlay DRM? That would have to be licensed from Apple, but Microsoft is about as likely to license OS X as they are FairPlay — they’re simply not interested in anyone else’s solutions, because it runs counter to their own interests.

    Perhaps the question you *should* be asking is “why won’t Microsoft/Real license their DRM to Apple, so that DRMed Windows Media files will play on iPods?”

    You’re not limited to music obtained via iTunes on your iPod, either, although vendors of competing players love to imply this. Ever heard of MP3s? They work just fine on iPods, and I find it hard to believe that you don’t know this.

  6. Jim in France said on June 21, 2008 at 4:15 am

    What we need is to be able to sync Ical to an ipod Touch without using iTunes or “.Mac”. There are multiple reasons for wanting this.
    I use 3 different macs in 3 different offices.

    I refuse to copy my personal data to a .mac server (security)
    I use 3 different macs plus a touch and the primary function of the touch is iCal. I want to keep the iCals all synced via iTouch without screwing up my music and photos and setting off unwanted downloads of tv shows etc.

    Why is there no 3rd party soft to sync iCal to a Touch without iTunes?

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