The ICS file format is assigned to iCalendar events. When you receive an event file via email from another person, you can open it and include it in your own calendar. IPhone devices were not always compatible with this file type, so if you see an ICS file that is not clickable you have outdated software or hardware. If your iPhone is incompatible with the necessary hardware, you can always open the ICS file on your computer and then manually sync it to your iPhone calendar.
The iOS on your iPhone is like the operating system on your computer. It determines which programs will run and the file formats that can be opened on the device. Even though Apple computers are compatible with ICS files, which are linked to an iCalendar event, the iOS for iPhone and iPod Touch were not initially designed to open files in ICS format.
Apple updates the iOS for iPhone intermittently, typically a few times per year. IOS 4.2 included the ability of an iPhone to open and read an ICS file, and import it to the iPhone calendar. If an ICS file appears as an attachment to an email but you cannot open it, you are running an iOS version released previous to 4.2 on your device. You can check the iOS on your iPhone by going to the Settings menu, tapping "General" and then "About." Your iOS will be listed in the Version line.
As of February 2012, the newest version of iOS was 5.0.1, which is compatible with ICS files. Updating the iOS on your iPhone to the latest iOS will allow you to start opening ICS files. Updates are accomplished by connecting your iPhone to iTunes. Once your iPhone is recognized by iTunes, click the "Check for Update" button on the "Summary" tab and then let iTunes download the new iOS when prompted.
IPhone models older than 3G cannot be updated with iOS 4.2, or any newer updates. If you have an original iPhone, you will not be able to open ICS files on your device because your iOS will never accommodate it. You will have to get a newer model iPhone to open and use ICS files on your phone.
- Photo Credit Daniel Barry/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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