I have created a guide for how to sync a calendar using Google’s free services with iCal on the Mac desktop and the calendar app on iOS devices.
As calendaring needs grow more sophisticated, folks are looking for ways to keep all of their data in “sync.” They’d also like to delegate to others the ability to add or change their calendars. And, if that wasn’t asking too much, they’d like to add to their calendars on the go with Apple’s iPhone. This guide shows you how.
We will combine iCal, Google Calendar, and iPhone.
- Set up your Google calendar.
Login to Google Apps (http://docs.google.com/a/glnd.k12.va.us) and then choose “calendar” from the top of the screen.
Name your calendar. For work, I choose to name mine GLND Hendron to distinguish it from my other, personal calendars.
- Go into iCal (Mac OS X Leopard). Follow the instructions on this page.
I refresh my calendars every 30 minutes in the iCal Accounts preference.
Now you can make changes to your calendar either within iCal or within Google Calendar on the Web.
To share your calendar with others, you can choose three levels of access: busy/available status, read only, and read/write. Under Google Calendar > Settings, choose “Share this Calendar.” After entering the person’s email address, you may choose from among the options under permission settings.
At this time, I have not been successful at allowing edits from someone else’s account via sharing through iCal to your calendar.
Your colleague can edit your calendar either by connecting through Google Calendar online, or through iCal if you share your Google Apps credential with them for editing within iCal.
- To sync with iPhone, you will be setting up a new “Exchange” account on your iPhone. Since iPhone can only handle one Exchange account, first ensure you do not already use Exchange on your iPhone.
Things to note:
you may no longer be using your Address Book contacts on your phone. Using Google Sync, you will use your Google Contacts. This means you will need to transfer your contacts to Google first.
you can elect to not sync contacts. This page details settings you will need.
To manage multiple calendars, visit m.google.com/sync on your phone via Safari.
For a year, I’ve been using a third-party application to try and sync my calendars between a desktop computer at work, my laptop, and my desktop computer at home. On top of this, trying to keep phones in sync with events has been… a challenge.
This morning I set my work computer to sync with my Google calendar. This is a feature Google added this summer. I am going to detail how I got this to work with Mac OS X Leopard and iCal 3.0.5. Others migrating here to Leopard may want to take advantage of this functionality.
- Set up a Google Calendar account. If you’re a Goochland teacher, you can do this through your Google Docs access. Click on “Calendar” in the top-left-hand side of the Google apps environment to access the calendar.
- Fire up iCal version 3, that supports CalDAV.
- Read over the instructions found at LifeHacker. I used this as a guide, but made changes to get it to work.
- Grab the correct URL from Google. Under calendar settings, visit the Calendar Address section, and grab the URL for iCal.
- In iCal, go to Preferences and visit the Accounts area. You’re going to add a new account for Google. Put in your Google account information (email and password) but under “Advanced”, for the URL, add the URL you copied from step 4. I changed the http:// header to https:// for encryption.
- Close the iCal settings, and a new calendar should appear in your sidebar.
- You can “Get Info” on this new calendar (right-click) and change settings, such as how often it syncs with Google.
What’s the point?
You’re now using Google to keep your calendar. You can enter appointments on either iCal or by going to Google’s online calendar. Either way, the two calendars will remain in sync.
Furthermore, I can repeat this process on more computers (even using desktop calendars other than iCal), and keep my calendar in sync on every computer I use. No matter where I add items, they’ll be sent to Google, and to all the other sync-ed calendars.
Lastly, if you sync your phone with your desktop calendar, it too will grab the items from there, and consequently, those that are on your Google calendar.
If you have success with these instructions, drop me a line in the comments.