How to Sync Multiple Calendars to the iPad With Google Sync


Yes, we’ve covered Apple’s iPad quite a bit this week. While there are other happenings in the mobile tech world, this was a big one — besides, I haven’t blogged much about it just yet. Oh, I will — I’ve been spending time with the device in bits and pieces over this holiday weekend — but I wanted to let the dust settle in terms of coverage. However, there’s one tidbit I wanted to share now, simply because it solves a problem for Google Calendar users that want to sync events with their iPad using Google Sync.

The problem is — using a Microsoft Exchange setup for Google accounts currently works for one single calendar on the iPad. I can’t have that, so I scoured the web for a workaround, found one in a MacRumors forum, and used it successfully. Here’s the method to use until Google addresses the issue for Apple’s iPad — you’ll need to use the Safari browser, although this might work with user agent string spoofing on other browsers too:

  • Open Safari and then view its Preferences pane.
  • In Preferences, go to the Advanced tab and check “Show Develop menu in menu bar.” If you already have this checked, you can skip this step. Close the Preferences.
  • In the Safari menu bar, you should now see a Develop menu option. Select it, choose the User Agent option and pick “Mobile Safari 3.1.3 — iPhone” This tells web sites that you’re using the iPhone’s browser. You need to do this to open up the mobile site for the Google Sync service.
  • In Safari, browse to and sign in if needed. Normally you’d do this on your mobile device, but Google isn’t yet recognizing the iPad properly. If you try to configure Google Sync from the iPad, it will say “Sorry, Google Sync is not supported on this device.”
  • Now go to the Develop menu in Safari and choose to Disable JavaScript as shown by the check mark below.
  • Still in Safari, choose to manage your iPad. In my list, it’s the most recent device, but if you use Google Sync across multiple devices, it could appear anywhere in the list.
  • In the next window, you’ll see that Google says you can sync up to one calendar to your device. Ignore that message because the workaround now allows multiple calendar selections. For instance, I chose three primary calendars and three shared calendars, offering both work and family events in one single view.
    Once you’ve made your selections, click the Save button. That should do it, so don’t forget to undo the User Agent change and re-enable JavaScript in Safari. On the iPad, here’s what the result looks like less than a minute after I ran through these steps:

[digg=]I’m sure Google will address the one calendar limitation with Google Sync, but until they do, you can easily work around the issue in just a few minutes. Hopefully that helps — and now I’m off for some more iPad playtime so I can share all my thoughts soon.

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