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Sync Google Calendar and iCal

Page history last edited by Tara Brown 15 years, 4 months ago

New! Came across this site that also goes over how to sync between Google Cal and other clients:  http://lifehacker.com/399407/how-to-sync-any-desktop-calendar-with-google-calendar


I came from the world of Microsoft Exchange, Outlook and Windows Mobile.  I'm not saying that's good or bad, but after 13 years of this setup, I got used to it for both my work and personal scheduling.  Now I am at a company that uses the Corporate Google Calendar and Mac Powerbooks.  Additionally, I personally have an iPhone and typically use Gmail for my own calendaring needs.


The problem that I encountered with scheduling in this new fangled environment was that I couldn't find an easy way to sync anything and I found Mobile Me annoying because I had to go through iTunes and I just felt like that was a multi step middle layer that I didn't want to deal with.  At Topspin we have licenses for Busy Sync, but again, I hate dealing with sync clients (been there, done that years ago at Hotmail).


Recently I found out from my co-worker Eric Gottschalk that iCal and Google are syncing nicely together, so I gave it a shot and was extremely pleased with the ease of setup and the quick syncing.


In the spirit of making the world an easier place to live in, here are the steps that I went through in order to get it working.


On my Mac Powerbook


1) Open up iCal.

* Note, I have two local calendars under the heading "Calendars" labeled "Home" and "Work"


2) In your browser, log into your Google Calendar(s)

* Note, I have two Gmail accounts - a personal Gmail account and a work Gmail account (Topspin uses Gmail for mail and calendar)


3) Open up another browser tab and go through the step by step instructions here: http://www.google.com/support/calendar/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=99358

Note: I added both my persoanl Google Calendar and my Topspin Google calendar to iCal


4) In iCal, on the left Nav, I now have 3 Headings and a total of 4 Calendars listed: 




5)  I no longer need the local iCal calendars "Home" and "Work" because I will be exclusively using "Topspin Calendar" and "Personal Calendar" as those will sync with my work and personal calendars through the Google Calendar DAV service.

This means I need to copy over my events from my local iCal Calendars to my server side Calendars. 


I tried to edit the events and choose the Google Personal or Topspin calendars but those didn't come up as an option.  The easiest way that I found to do this, is to drag the events from the day, week, or month view and over to the correct calendar on the left nav bar.  This was pretty quick, and even copied over recurring events.  I haven't checked if the recurrence works as expected but I am hopeful.


E.g. I have an event in my local iCal "Home" Calendar called "Personal Trainer" so I drag that over top of the heading in the left nav "Personal Calendar | Tara Brown".  After you do that you should see the spinner graphic. Double check in your web based Gmail account that it in fact sync'd. 




  • If you want to force a sync, right click on the calendar you want to sync and hit "refresh"
  • I suggest that you color code your iCal Personal Events and Work Events the same as you do in the Gmail Calendar webUI.  I had my work events in the WebUI Blue and Pink on the iCal app and got a tad confused. I subsribe to holiday calendars and Upcoming events, and also have calendars shared with me and it got out of control.  Now I have everything using the same color coding client and server side and it is so much easier.



On my iPhone 3G


The built in iPhone Calendar isn't supporting CalDav the same way that the iCal app is...so for now, I am using the Gmail web interface.  Its a super bummer, but I don't want to keep a local iCal calendar on my Mac and keep syncing between my calendars.


Instructions on how to use Google Calendar on the iPhone here: http://www.google.com/mobile/default/calendar/index.html


For personal Google Calendar:  http://m.google.com


For work Google Calendar:  http://calendar.google.com/a/<yourcompanydomain>/m


Note:  I noticed that I can only see co-worker's F/B on the iPhone whereas I can see full details in the web and iCal views.




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