HOWTO Sync Google Calendar with iPhone and Snow Leopard

HOWTO Sync Google Calendar with iPhone and Snow Leopard

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I use Google Apps for most of my domains. Google Calendar contains multiple calendars (private and business) that I would like to sync with my iPhone and my MacBook Pro.


Create your Calendars

  1. Log on to Google Apps and open Google Calendar in your web browser
  2. Click on Settings | Calendars (top right)
  3. Create any additional calendars you might need (for example, add a "Work" calendar)

Sync your Calendars

iPhone OS 3.0 and Snow Leopard support simultaneous use of CalDAV and ActiveSync (MS Exchange) for their calendar.

The main difference is that ActiveSync supports Push notifications, while CalDAV only supports polling. On my Mac, I'll use CalDAV to sync my Google Calendars. On my iPhone, I'll use ActiveSync to get push calendar support.

Sync with Snow Leopard

Create a CalDAV account:

  1. On your Mac, open iCal and go to iCal | Preferences | Accounts
  2. Click "+" to add an account
  3. Set "Account Type" to "Google"
  4. Enter your full email address and password

At this point, the CalDAV account should be created in iCal, with only your primary calendar being synced to iCal.

To add the missing calendars:

  1. Select the new account and go to the Delegation tab
  2. Check any delegate calendar you would like to sync with iCal
  3. Done!

Sync with iPhone

According to greg.f.m. on the Google Support forum:

 In theory, you should be able to select what calendars you want to sync to your phone via this URL:
 Where you substitute your Google Apps domain for YOUR.DOMAIN
 For non Google Apps users, the URL is simpler:


Of course, things are not perfect. There are still some issues to be resolved.

Can only store an event with a newer DTSTAMP
This issue mostly affects people trying to modify a recurring event from within iCal.
"Import Calendar" fails to import file created by Export Calendars
With Google Calendar, you can export a calendar and import all events in a new account (for example, while moving from a standard Google account to a Google Apps account. The Export feature gives you a .ZIP file, which is not accepted by the Import Calendar feature. Workaround: unzip the downloaded file before trying to import it.
Deleting a calendar on the iPhone is near impossible
Once a calendar is on the iPhone, there is no proper way to delete it. This is especially annoying because you cannot delete duplicate calendars with their duplicate entries. Check out the Apple Discussion Forum post by Paul Forgey for a "workaround".

See Also