Mar 29

I want a calendar that I can edit on my iphone AND on my home computer AND have one of my co-workers edit on their computer, and they all sync up automatically without me having to remember to plug my iphone in. This post explains how to set it up so that your iPhone calendar and iPhone are automatically synced up all the time via Google calendar.

MobileMe doesn’t achieve this. iCal shared calendars via itunes doesn’t achieve this. After much experimenting I found the best way is through Google calendar.

Google calendar allows editing and viewing from iCal on your mac and from your iPhone, plus you can let anyone else edit your calendar if you want them to. So Google calendar becomes the hub. Here’s how it all works:

gcal ical iphone

You can set up a new calendar in Google at

Google has released a program called calaboration that will automatically put all the settings for your Google calendar into iCal. Download and run calaboration. It looks like this, you just select the calendars you want to add into your iCal account.


If you have iphone version 3 you can just use the built in CalDAV to access your Google Calendar. Go to Settings then Mail, Contacts, Calendars then Add Account then Other then Add CalDAV Account.
You’ll see a page like this:
Enter the settings for your google account here and that’s it!

NOTE – More than 1 Calendar.
If you have more than one Google Calendar you’d like to sync, you need to copy the URL of the calendar from ical across to your iphone. To do this, AFTER you have used callaboration to put the google settings into ical, go into ical, preferences, Accounts, Server Settings – it looks like this.
google server settings on iphone
You need to type that URL into the ‘Advanced Settings’ – ‘Account URL’ of the Calendar on your iphone. It’s quite a long text so the easiest way is to copy it from ical into mail, mail it to your iphone, copy it out of mail and paste it in.

NOTE 2: Old iphone software.
If you have iphone software version 2 you’ll need to use Nuevasync. You set it up in your iPhone as a Microsoft Exchange server that points to Nuevasync. You can sync directly from google to iphone but all the calendars come across as one calendar. To choose which colors the calendars are on the iphone, you need to enable them one at a time from neuvasync, checking the iphone calendar each time, and they will import into the iphone in order of the following colors: red (first calendar) , orange (2nd) , blue, green then purple. eg the first calendar you enable will be red, and so on.

10 Responses to “How to sync ical to iphone and other ical users”

  1. Peter Pan says:

    Hey there, surfing the internet I found another quick, solid and above all cheap solution. It’s an app, called remote calendar. What made me finally choose for this app was that it can sync a variety of calendars with my iphone on the basis of CalDAV. Me and my girlfirend are using ical, while in office we are using outlook. Moreover, some frineds and me are using google for a music project. With remote calendar I have it all in sync. You should look out for it in the app store.I ike the app, because it is an all-in-one-solution.

  2. KNS says:

    Reads like an advert Peter Pan….. If thats what it is, you should be a little more tansparent don’t you think…. After much searching, the blog here seems to provide the only workable solution that users are finding to solve the syncing from different sources problem..

  3. […] but it used to be a little confusing to set up on a mac. (See this post on what a mess it was and this post for Google’s old work-around – you’ll still need to do it the old way I think if […]

  4. Shane says:

    WIll iCal tasks also sync in the same way?

  5. Daniel says:

    very nice description. BUT google does not support calaboration. So it does not work any more. They seem to explain how to do it but not really easy if English is not your first language.


  6. ann says:

    this was how I had my and my husbands calendars for the last 4 years or so and it worked beutifully. Until last week. Our appointments for the following 3 weeks disappeared. ALL OF THEM. Ones I made on my Mac, ones I made on my iPhone 3gs, ones my husband made on his iPhone 4, ones I made on my work laptop, repeating events, dragged and dropped events, single events, etc. I can only assume it’s Google calendar and searchign through Google help I see that this isn’t as uncommon as one would think. I loved the way it worked for us – until it inexplicably stopped working. I can’t have a calendar that randomly deletes appointments. Unfortunatley, when I try to find an alternative, everyone keeps suggesting what I already have. Sigh.

  7. zam says:

    My primary gripe with Google calendar is that I wonder who at Google is reading my calendar. How can there be any privacy, security with a web based calendar? This is the advantage of iCal or any calendar app that’s based on your own hard drive. Ideally you could sync it with your smartphone, but jesus christ when does this “i want i want it want” shit end?

    No matter what newfangled gimmick is introduced, we always want MORE. Just awful.

    Think I’ll just print out a weekly format of Google calendar, use a hi-lighter and outline all my appointments. Put in a ‘to-do’ list along the top too. Problem solved, the luddite way no less. LOL

  8. ajm says:

    After trying various online “fixes” to get iCal to pick up appt’s that I put in my iPhone, I still have yet to find one that works. The most common recommendation is to back-up iCal, then delete everything, restore it from the backup and then replace calendar info on the iPhone with that from iCal. This hasn’t worked.

    Does anyone have a suggestion? Seems like this has been an issue for years…

  9. Emaven says:

    Here is the easy way to share/view/edit calendars on the Mac and/or iDevice.

    This is possible when each person has an iCloud account.
    On a Mac computer, each person will set up his own iCloud account. This gives the person mail, contacts, calendars, bookmarks, reminders, notes, Find My iDevice, (If there is only one Mac, each person can have his own user account.)
    On the Mac, subscribe to the other person’s calendar.
    On the iDevice, you do not subscribe to the other person’s calendar.
    You set up another account in the settings, entering the other person’s iCloud name and password. Then you turn on mail (if desired), calendars, and reminders (if desired) for that account.
    When entering an appointment in the calendar you can now choose which calendar to use so that you can enter appointments in the other persons calendar as well. This way both participants can enter data as well as view data for each other.
    Since both participants have subscribed to each other’s calendars on the Mac, this may cause you to see double entries.
    To remedy this, you need to uncheck (in the calendar app list on the iDevice) the other person’s subscription to eliminate the double view.
    If you only want to view the other person’s calendar, then just subscribe to it on the Mac, and it can be viewed on the iDevice.
    Hope this helps

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