Calendar is trying too hard (and failing)

I put an event in Calendar. In the note for the event, I included a nine-digit number (the serial number of a document). Calendar assumes that is a telephone number and put the number in the contact area of the event. It absolutely is not a telephone number, and while I do not expect to click on it by accident, I shudder to think of the result if I did.

Is there some way I can tell Calendar not to search for telephone numbers (or any other information that it wants to "help’ make accessible to me) in events? If I could do this across all applications, I would. Apple, Microsoft, Google, do not understand what I’m trying to accomplish and they consistently foul it up. Thanks for any help.

That’s why it’s called “Artificial” Intelligence. But you’re right. It won’t let you delete it or edit it to a correct phone number either. I tried entering into the URL field instead, tried escaping it with different punctuation. It’s insistent. NIne digits isn’t even a phone number. It’s a bug. I’ll report it too:

Feedback number:

I did find, in one instance, that putting a period (as if it were a decimal point) into the string of numbers caused Calendar to ignore the string of numbers, but that was ugly and inappropriate (and it didn’t work in another instance). What did seem to work was to omit the space between the string of numbers and the following word. That’s ugly, but it does remove the erroneous telephone number.

I usually call this AS, Artificial Stupidity :grinning:

The technology is called “Data Detectors.” If you use that to search the web, you’ll find various tips about disabling it, but I don’t know if there’s anything specific to Calendar.

Data Detectors is based on patterns so, as. you’ve discovered, anything you can do to make it look less like a phone number should disrupt the formatting. Perhaps just include “S:” before the string of numbers as a label.

Trivia: Data Detectors v1.0 (well before OS X) let you define your own detectors using pattern matching expressions.


Data Detectors were a huge thing when they first appeared (in OS 8). For the first time an e-mail address could be clicked on, and a new empty e-mail message appeared, or a URL could be clicked on to open it in a browser. That seems trivial now, but it wasn’t always the case. Important enough that it was one of the things Apple sued Samsung over when they stole the idea.

Thanks for the search term ‘data detector’.

It must not depend on much of a pattern though, since the string that Calendar interprets as a phone number is simply nine consecutive digits. The “phone number” in the field with the telephone at the right end is formatted as (123) 456-789. I don’t doubt that’s a phone number somewhere, but not where I live.