Tag Archives: calendar

iPhone How-to : add other Google calendars to your iPhone Calendar

this is an extension of the iPhone Calendar how-tos… in this post, I’ll describe the steps you need to perform to add someone else’s Google calendar to your iPhone Calendar app.

If you just want to add your own calendar, you may skip this and go to this post instead.

Now, the steps to add someone else’s calendar is very similar to add your own using the CalDAV method. The only thing that needs to be done prior to the config in the iPhone is that this person must first share the calendar with you.

I’m not going to re-invent the wheel here, so please follow Google’s Instructions on how to share your calendar. I discourage you from making your personal calendar public. To learn more, read another Google’s FAQ entry.

For the calendar to work, so that you can see something on the iPhone, you need to set the permission level to at least “See all event details”. If it’s set to “See only free/busy (hide details)”, you will be able to add the calendar via CalDAV, but nothing will show up in your calendar. If you are allowed to make changes even, then by all means go and set the permission to “Make changes to events”.  The ultimate you-have-it-all permission will be “Make changes AND manage sharing”, which I would think most people would not need.

If you are using Google Apps, and you can’t share beyond “only see free/busy information”, you’ll need to request your Administrator to increase the level of sharing allowed. This Google FAQ entry should help. *NOTE* after the administrator makes the changes, it will take a while before the system is updated and you can increase the level of detail to be shared on your calendar. This worked within 10mins during my testing.

Now, once the sharing is enabled, you can do a quick validation via your Gmail Calendar. See if the other person’s calendar is now showing up in your account as well. If yes, and you are not seeing “free/busy” information only, you are good.

The final step is to add the calendar to your iPhone’s setup. The steps are exactly the same as adding your own calendar via CalDAV (read this post), except in step 3, instead of using your own email address, you use the address of the person who had shared it with you. Follow through the rest of the steps, using your own Gmail login credentials, and you should be set!

At this point, your calendar should now show your own and the new calendar that was shared with you.

An additional tip for you… now that you have multiple entries from different calendars, it will be helpful to be able to visually identify easily which entries belongs to who. Fortunately, there’s a way to do this, but you’ll have to do this in Gmail Calendar’s web interface.

This is a very simple process, first just login to you Gmail Calendar. Next, on the left column of the page, find the calendar that you can see, and click on the little triangle next to it. A box will pop up and it will have several colors for your to choose from. Select the one you like and it’s done. In the iPhone Calendar, all entries belonging to that calendar will now have the color code you just picked.

iPhone How-to : calendar sync with Google Calendar via caldav

if you’ve read my earlier post, my choice to sync my personal Google calendar with my iPhone 3GS is to use caldav. The other option is activesync (MS Exchange), which I used prior to OS3.0 on my iPhone 3G. To understand why, do read my earlier post here.

This post will specifically guide you, step by step, to be able to get your Google based calendar on your iPhone (with OS3.0+). The calendar app on the iPhone will be the default app, nothing additional you’ll need from the app store.

I will create another post to show you how to add other calendars to your iPhone, e.g. your spouse’s or your kid’s calendars.

  1. first, you’ll need your email address… which would be something like “myemail@gmail.com”
    or “myemail@mysuperdomain.com” if you are on Google Apps
  2. next, you’ll need to compose your own “server string”… it looks something like this
  3. pretty much just simply replace the section “myemail@gmail.com” with your Google based email address, be it with “gmail.com” or “whatever.com”
  4. If you’ve got email setup on your iPhone already, you can just email the “Server string” to yourself, which you can copy and paste later… or just type it out carefully on the phone
  5. next, pick up your iPhone,  go into “Settings” -> “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” -> “Add Account…” -> “Other” -> “Add CalDAV Account”
  6. here’s what you put in
    Server : paste or slowly thumb in the “server string” from above (customized with your own email address of course). When you move to the next field, it’s normal for the “server” to only show “www.google.com”, so don’t worry about it.
    User Name : your full email address, e.g. “myemail@whateverdomain.com”
    Password : the password to the account you put in above
    Description : what ever you’d like to call it, doesn’t matter what you put, it’s for your own identification
  7. click “next” when done
  8. If all went well, you’ll be taken back to the “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” screen… if you had a typo in the “Server”, “User Name” or “Password” field.. then you’ll be stuck here. Just fix the typo and try again
  9. Validation…. Launch the “Calendar” app
  10. check and see if your calendar items are showing up, or if you have multiple calendars and it’s hard to validate you can select to see only one calendar
  11. in the “Calendar” app, on the top left, tap the “Calendars” button
  12. you’ll be presented with the list of Calendars you have configured, select the one you want to check
  13. You should now see only the entries belonging to that calendar

have fun =)

iPhone Calendar sync with Google – comparison between activesync & caldav

If you haven’t realized it from my previous post, I am a fan of Google. So, besides syncing my iPhone contacts with Google, I also sync my Calendar.

I don’t have a Mac (YET), and I don’t have a copy of Microsoft Outlook, so I pretty much don’t have anything I can sync with on my Vista Desktop and XP netbook. Without Google, all I can do is backup my calendar to iTunes.

So, prior to OS3.0, I have setup my iPhone to do over-the-air activesync just for my calendar. It worked great and I loved it. What really surprised me that it also took care of subscribed calendars. e.g. My wife shares her Google calendar with me, and that also syncs to my phone; I also subscribe to a public holiday calendar for Singapore, and that syncs to my phone as well.

What impresses me is that once you have more than 1 calendar sync to the phone, all the items will get color coded. E.g. my calendar items will show up with a blue dot, my wife’s an orange dot, etc… On top of that I have permissions (set in Google Calendar) to add/delete/modify my wife’s calendar and I can do all those on the iPhone as well. There’s an option for me to choose which calendar an item is for when creating it.

When I was just surfing around on what’s new and what people are doing, I came across the new feature of the iPhone OS 3.0 and also supported by Google. That feature is caldav sync, as opposed to activesync. So, what’s the differences?

In short, very few differences. I’ll list the few I know

  1. Activesync – just need to setup your main account, and everything that is subscribed to in the Google Calendar interface will show up automatically
  2. Caldav – each calendar must be added for it to show up in iPhone, so this is more tedious.
  3. The advantage here is that activesync and caldav can both be used at the same time! A lot of people will likely sync their calendar with the office calendar via activesync. By using caldav, you can then also add on your personal calendar from Google. Lot’s of feedback I read in forums is that people are really pleased to be able to have both their work and personal calendars in the iPhone AT THE SAME TIME, and still kept separate. This is one of the biggest advantage, the marriage of both protocols.
  4. One thing that is important for me is reminders. In Google Calendar, you can set to receive multiple reminders for an item. E.g. for important events, I like to set pop-up reminders 10hrs, 1hr and 15mins before the event time. The activesync protocol only allows one of the reminders to go through to the phone, however caldav will sync all through. So, my phone will alert me at all the set reminders. Now, this is of a huge advantage for me.

As you probably guess, I’ve dropped activesync totally and now using caldav. Just a note though, when I started using caldav, in my appointments, I can start to specify “second alerts”, which is great! However, if you have more than 2 alerts/reminders for an item, you’ll only see the first and last one. I have items with 3 reminders, and all 3 will pop up in the phone in due time, I just can’t see the settings of the middle one in the phone. But that’s only a minor issue, as I would not change the alerts, but if I need to, just need to log on to Google Calendar to change it.

I’ll just keep things short (relatively) for this post, may post a how-to setup caldav post in the future. The guides I found only managed to get me half way. Had to figure out the rest of it myself by trial and error.