Syncing a Google Calendar to Your iPhone

10 years ago in How do I?, Tutorials by Brent | 6 Comments


I caught the end of a Twitter conversation today between new Mac owner Clintus McGintus and long time Mac owner Cheryl Colan . Clintus had just finished thanking Cheryl for her help in syncing his Google Calendar with his iPhone. This jogged my brain a bit and made me realize that I hadn’t posted about it yet here on iBAM so that’s what this is. A quick tutorial on how to sync your gCal with iPhone via iCal. (At least until Apple or someone else creates a direct sync method).

I’ll try to keep this visual and simple as there are several steps in the process. Here’s the skinny:

So here’s my Google calendar:

Synergy_TCS - Calendar.jpg

If you go to the upper right of your gCalendar screen, you’ll see some links. One of them says “Settings”, click that!

Synergy_TCS - Calendar-1.jpg

This will take you to your Calendar Settings page.

Synergy_TCS - Calendar-2.jpg

Click the “Calendars” link and you will see something like this:

Synergy_TCS - Calendar-3.jpg

Click on the title of the calendar you want to sync with your iPhone and you will be presented with the settings for that calendar. At the bottom of that window you’ll see this:

Synergy_TCS - Calendar-4.jpg

If you click the ICAL button you’ll get a window like this:

Synergy_TCS - Calendar-5.jpg

Copy that but URL and launch iCAL. Inside iCAL, click on the menu command Calendar > Subscribe (or Option+CMD+S) and you’ll get a subscribe box.


Paste the URL in there and click the “Subscribe” button. You’ll then see a new calendar appear in your left pane.


Now, launch iTunes, connect your iPhone and navigate to the “Info” tab by clicking on the iPhone in the left info pane and using the tabs that come up in the main window.


Inside that tab, there’s a few sections, but one that is titled “Calendars” and looks like the example below. Make sure you have selected “Sync iCal calendars” and then choose the calendar you want to sync with your iPhone. You see here that I have chosen my iCal calendar as well as my Google calendar that I subscribed to earlier.


That’s it! Click save and re-sync, your calendars will be forever connected. There’s is one small hiccup though. If you haven’t ran iCal recently and it hasn’t had a chance to sync itself with your Google Calendar, it’s not going to update your phone with the most current data. I just make sure I have opened iCal for a few minutes (if it’s not already open) before I sync my iPhone in iTunes. That makes sure everything is all up to date.

Hope this helps you out as together we wait for an easier method to keep these tools connected. If you know of a better technique or tool, just share it via the comments. We would all love to hear.

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  • Clintus McGintus

    Awesome job man. Sharing this in google reader as well as re-blogging it on Tumblr. Thanks.

  • Phil Bowell

    But it's not really Syncing with Google Calendar. You can't add events etc on the iPhone and have them appear in Google Calendar when it's re-synced, that would be true sync'ing. I'd recomened BusySync to allow true Sync of Google Calendar and iPhone via iCal.

  • Rick Rey

    Cool. Alternatively, I use BusySync 2.0 for syncing all my calendars.

  • brentspore

    I love the BusySync! Thanks guys, great stuff!

  • zmacman

    Don't forget Spanning Sync as well… I downloaded it a year ago and loved it. They've really worked out the kinks from earlier development. I like what I see with busysync as well… At least there are some options!

  • Maarten

    Good news: iPhone OS 3.0 will most likely include direct support for synchronizing with ICS subscriptions. That means you can subscribe to the URL mentioned here directly from your iPhone without needing any desktop application or iPhone app.
    There is a preview with screenshots and a walkthrough here:

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