Disable auto-invites to combat Google Calendar Spam

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 27, 2019

Google Calendar spam is not a new phenomenon; it has plagued Google Calendar users for years and spam seems to come and go in waves. Recently, users started to report an increase in Google Calendar spam. Spam comes in many forms but the two main categories fall into advertising and outright malicious messages.

Google Calendar customers who did not receive spam invites up until now may wonder how that invite got accepted in first place; it is easy to explain: Google Calendar has a feature that automatically adds invitations to Calendar.

All an attacker needs to do is send you an invite using the right format and et voila, the invite becomes visible in Google Calendar.

What makes this particularly problematic, besides the fact that this feature is opt-out and not opt-in, is that the mobile Google Calendar application does not even have the option to disable this.

Here is how you disable auto-invites in Google Calendar

google calendar disable auto invites

  1. Open the Google Calendar application in a browser on a desktop PC. If you try to open the Calendar website on a mobile device you may be redirected to the Calendar application automatically.
  2. Open the Settings menu when the website has loaded and select Settings from the context menu (you need to sign-in to your Google account).
  3. Select Event Settings from the menu on the left or scroll down to the Event settings section on the page.
  4. The setting "Automatically add invitations" needs to be adjusted. It is set to Yes by default which means that invitations are accepted automatically; this is the source of the spam that you receive on Google Calendar.
  5. Switch the value of the setting to "No, only show invitations to which I have responded".

google calendar disable show declined events

If you still receive spam after making that change, follow the instructions below:

  1. Open the Google Calendar settings again on the desktop.
  2. Scroll down to the "View options" section or click on View Options in the sidebar to jump to the section on activation.
  3. Uncheck the "show declined events" option; this hides declined events in Calendar automatically.
  4. Scroll down to Events from Gmail.
  5. Disable "Automatically add events from Gmail to my Calendar".

Note that you may need to disable the "show declined events" on the mobile Calendar application as well if you still see those there and use it.

Disabling automatic invites could make things a little less comfortable for Google customers who share calendars with others and used to use the auto-invite system in the past.

Now You: Do you use Google Calendar? Did you receive spam as of lately? (via Caschy)

Disable auto-invites to combat Google Calendar Spam
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Disable auto-invites to combat Google Calendar Spam
Find out how to combat Google Calendar spam by making a tiny change in Google Calendar's configuration to block it entirely.
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  1. Tanja said on October 16, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    Unfortunately, this did not help me, even though I made the exact same settings as shown above. I still receive emails from myself telling me that I have accepted an invitation from someone. I haven’t even opened the invite as it came in overnight, so no chance I accepted it myself.

    What is the cause of this? How can the acceptance of an invite be forced by someone else? And, more important, how do I stop it?

  2. Andrei said on August 28, 2019 at 8:31 am

    I had already changed these settings and I still got spam yesterday. I noticed that each calendar has its own “Auto-accept invitations” setting, and now I’ve also switched them to “Do not show invitations”. Hopefully this will fix it.

  3. Bluf said on August 28, 2019 at 1:53 am

    Thanks….I grudgingly still use GMail and G Calendar so these procedures are nice to know.

  4. Davin Peterson said on August 27, 2019 at 9:34 pm

    Somehow You’ve Won an iPhone XR has been added to my calendar.

  5. Bruno said on August 27, 2019 at 9:29 pm

    Also report all that spam crap so Google’s algos know! So annoying.

  6. Graham said on August 27, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    Thank you! Yesterday, I was spammed relentlessly by Google Calendar informing me about the iPhone X…even though I have an Android. That was really obnoxious.

  7. allen said on August 27, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    The was probably the first change I made to the default settings when I started using Calendar when it launched–when was it? …well over a decade ago. I’ve never seen any usefulness in this setting, but then I’m not one of those auto-this/auto-that kind of guys.

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