Review: Spanning Tools for Mac

November 30, 2009 in Reviews by Bob Faulhaber

Have you noticed problems with your iCal calendar or your Address Book on your Mac? Over time small problems, such as duplicates, bad recurrence rules or just bad records can pop up and give you headaches trying to accurately find and fix them. Spanning Tools for Mac bring together a suite of tools that will help you find, diagnose and repair errors in iCal, Address Book and Sync Services quickly and easily.


From the same folks that developed Spanning Sync, Spanning Tools gives you the tools and expertise to cleanup and help speed up iCal and Address Book in a snap. The tools suite contains Calendar Cleaner, Contact Cleaner and Sync Tune-Up which will handle any problems you may encounter. The suite can be downloaded from for a 15-day free trial, a license costs $19.99 with SpanningSync customers getting $5 off. The 15-day trial will allow you to fix a limited number of problems, but considering how easily Spanning Tools fixes issues and problems the cost of a license is well worth the cost in just the amount of time it will save in just locating issues or problems you may encounter in iCal or Address Book.

Calendar Cleaner

iCal seems to have the knack to easily getting confused on recurring events, especially if you often receive meeting invitations from Microsoft Outlook users and those invitations are updated or edited. Calendar Cleaner will quickly scan and find those anomalies. When you start Calendar Cleaner you will be presented with a simple window and the single Scan option.

Calendar Cleaner-Main

Clicking Scan gives you the option to either scan any individual calendar or all calendars setup in iCal. Scanning is extremely quick and once complete, the window will display any problems or issues encountered with the database. The scan of my iCal calendars presented some duplicates, bad recurrence rules and some duplicates in other calendars.

Calendar Cleaner- Issues

From this window you you can easily repair all these problems quickly. I did notice that for a few problems I had to open the event directly in iCal and repair manually, but Calendar Cleaner made going directly to the event simple.

Contacts Cleaner

Contacts Cleaner presents a similar interface to the Calendar Cleaner application.

Contacts Cleaner-Main

Once clicking Scan the application will scan your Address Book and find any problems or issues with your address cards. As in Calendar Cleaner you easily fix those problems from this window. A nice feature for future versions would be to directly edit the address card in question instead of applying the limited selection of options presented.

Contacts Cleaner-Issues

Sync Tune-Up

Sync Tune-Up allows you to clean up and fix potential syncing problems you may be having with various applications. From the main Sync Software window you can easily unregister different apps from syncing with your computer.

Sync Tune-Up

The Options window pane gives you the option to enable or disable syncing on the computer, resetting Sync Data which would force a “fresh” sync of all software, and a Nuclear Option, which deletes the entire Sync Services database and forces a rebuild from scratch. As the warning says, the Nuclear Option should be your last resort only when everything else has failed.

Sync Tune-Up-Options

Spanning Tools for Mac is an excellent tool suite which allows you to cleanup and resolve problems and issues that may have found their way into your iCal calendars, Address Book or Sync Services database. I was surprised by the number of problems it found in both my iCal calendars and Address Book, which were not manifesting any visible symptoms. The ability to quickly fix these problems undoubtedly saved me alot of time and potentially saved me some potential headaches down the road.