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iPhone How-To: Synchronizing Your Google Calendar

The iPhone is indeed a wonderful little device and, for some of us, a game-changer in terms of managing our digital lives from the palm of our hands. There are, however, some essential features that Apple neglected to implement.

Regular GMail and Google Calendar users will have noticed the glaring lack of a Calendar synchronization option, making the native iPhone calendar app somewhat less useful.

All is not lost though! Enter NuevaSync, a web-service that enables two-way synchronization between your Google Calendar and the iPhone Calendar app. NuevaSync is secure, easy to use and painless to set-up…and most notably, it’s totally free.

So, it’s time to grab your gear and follow this ten minute guide to setting up NuevaSync. You’ll need your computer, a Google Account and your iPhone, with the latest firmware update. And by the way, iPod touch users can also get in on the syncing fun.

TAB Disclaimer: Before we begin, it’s worth noting that NuevaSync is still in beta, so if it all goes a little Steve-Jobs-circa-1985 (i.e. everything goes wrong and stops working), it’s not our fault. Nevertheless, the service has worked smoothly for us since sign-up and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

  1. To start, you’ll need to create a fresh account on NuevaSync. Before you make the account, plug your touch or iPhone in, boot up iTunes and run a quick sync to make sure you’re all backed up (it’s good practice and will make you feel all warm inside). While the device is backing up, go create your NuevaSync account on this page.
  2. Now that you’ve got a new account, visit the configuration page. You’ll notice that there are four options on this page — Calendar, Contacts, E-mail, Tasks. We’re just syncing our Google Calendar today, so ignore the others. It’s also worth noting that the clever folks at NuevaSync still haven’t implemented Mail sync for the iPhone/touch, this feature is in development though.
  3. Click change to the right of Calendar and, on the resulting page, click the Google button then click the Change button. By doing this, we’re basically telling NuevaSync that we’d like to sync our Google Calendar with their service. NuevaSync will tell you that your changes have been saved. Clicking through to the next page will take you through the service setup options. When prompted for your Google Account ID, enter your GMail address and then click Request Account Access. If you’re not logged in to your Google Account, you’ll be sent to the standard Google log-in screen before continuing.
  4. Once you’re logged in, you’ll be presented with the standard Google Access Request page. If you’re super-security conscious, read the blurb, once you’re all done, click Grant Access. This tells Google that you’re happy for them to send your Calendar info to NuevaSync (and vice-versa). Back on the Status and Setup page, you’ll see that there’s a big red light next to Calendar — this is a good thing, you’re halfway home and it’s time to grab your iPhone.
  5. We’re now going to add NuevaSync as an account on your iPhone. NuevaSync works using the Exchange options on your iPhone. Open up Settings on your iPhone, then go through to the Mail, Contacts, Calendars page. Select Add Account and then tap Microsoft Exchange.
  6. For your e-mail address, enter the same one you used for your NuevaSync registration. NuevaSync has mentioned that your device might warn about a certificate being invalid. This isn’t NuevaSync’s certificate, so it’s no reason to be concerned. It’s actually Apple’s auto-config feature trying to guess the appropriate server name based on your info. For your Username and Password, enter your NuevaSync account details. Finally, enter a Description. For instance I use, “Olly’s Calendar”. Now tap Next.
  7. You should see a quick message stating Verifying Exchange account information. Incidentally, we got an error message doing this the first time and the service still worked. If that happens and it all goes a little pear-shaped, don’t worry, there are some trouble-shooting tips at the end of this guide.
  8. When the Exchange account verification process has finished, a new field will pop-up called Server. Enter and then tap Next. On the resulting page, turn off Mail and Contacts — we only want to sync the calendar today. Then just tap Save and we’re almost done.
  9. The final step is to turn off Time Zone Support. So back on the Mail, Contacts, Calendars settings page, scroll to the bottom and then tap Time Zone Support. Then switch Time Zone Support to Off and exit.
  10. We’re all done! You’ll want to test and make sure that everything works — make sure your WiFi or 3G connection is enabled and then open the Calendar App on your iPhone or touch. It should auto-update and, if you’ve got stuff in your Google Calendar, you should see it here.  Try adding something to your Calendar and then go check if it appears on your computer’s Google Calendar (and vice-versa too, so add something to your Google Calendar and then go open the Calendar app to see if it appears there).

If everything is working, it’s time to celebrate. Organise a party to celebrate how wonderful NuevaSync is, add said party to your Google Calendar schedule and then watch it magically synchronise with your iPhone.

Troubleshooting Tips

Maybe there was a problem in the setup process or maybe everything ran smoothly but it’s just not working. Whatever the issue, here are a few tips to ensure you get yourself synchronised:

  1. Make sure you’re only syncing Calendar. Remember that Mail doesn’t work. You can try Contacts, but we haven’t given that a go yet (and this guide only covers Google Calendar synchronization).
  2. NuevaSync have a well-written Troubleshooting page. Visit it here and see if that solves your problem.
  3. If all else fails, drop NuevaSync an e-mail. They’re a helpful bunch, very friendly and surprisingly prompt: [email protected]

33 Responses to “iPhone How-To: Synchronizing Your Google Calendar”

  1. It’s funny. A couple years ago when I was looking for the solution this article provides, I found this exact article. I did it and loved it. Now, as of about a week ago, NuevaSync decided to start charging for their service. Over the couple years of using it my need for it has diminished greatly – I could still use it but not to the extent that I would pay for it. So, I bailed on NuevaSync and just as I get in the mood to search for a new solution, I find this article again. (It’s the first one I clicked – heh…) That said, it works like a charm and I’d recommend it to anyone willing to pay for it!

  2. klara

    wow, thx so much! i was trying to do that so many times alone, without help, every time without effect – now everything is running just brilliant :) thnx again! Klara

  3. THANK YOU so much for this! I have been trying to get my google calendar and iphone to sync with just google, and things would disappear, I was getting so frustrated! I kept searching the web and found this website. I followed all the easy instructions, and voila! EVERYTHING is on my iphone AND my google calendar, even stuff from 2006, which google was NOT doing at all!!! I LOVE THIS!

  4. Any experience good/bad with events with different time zoines ? Do the events’ time zone get reliably synched and thus correctly time sifted to whatever mycurrent local time zone might be ?

  5. Swayzak

    Hey there, surfing the internet I found another quick, solid and above all cheap solution. It’s an app, called remote calendar. What made me finally choose for this app was that it can sync a variety of calendars with my iphone on the basis of CalDAV. Me and my girlfirend are using ical, while in office we are using outlook. Moreover, some frineds and me are using google for a music project. With remote calendar I have it all in sync. You should look out for it in the app store.I ike the app, because it is an all-in-one-solution.

  6. For some reason the built in calendar on my iphone is an hour off of my google calendar. I have the timezone set correctly, but all of my iphone calendar items are an hour late. Any ideas?

  7. Google now supports syncing of calendars using Exchange ActiveSync and skipping this NuevaSync solution (Sorry NuevaSync!).

    Unfortunately, I still can’t use this solution because I have my work email setup through Exchange and iPhone only supports one exchange server. I do have everything but my Google Calendars syncing over the air (they sync though iTunes). I’m waiting for the iPhone to start supporting over the air CalDAV syncing and Calendar Subscriptions (like iCal does on my Mac). Then I’d have everything.

  8. WOW. WOW. I have been looking for this. I actually found it a while ago but never invested the time to set it up because I figured that it would just be buggy and not work. MAN WAS I WRONG. It has now synced all of my calendars from Google. I am going to go test it by creating a new event and see how quickly it works. THIS IS FLIPPING SWEET.

  9. I use Google Calendar as my primary calendar and everything is syncing well using this Nuevasync method. In addition, I have setup my “Contacts

    I then wanted to sync my Google Contacts with my iPod Core App Contacts. While some cleaning up was needed, everything is syncing well and quickly.

    Here are my questions:

    During my research of how to Sync my Google contact list with my iPod Core App Contacts, since I have a Macbook also, I was told that Mac Address Book was the simplest way to do this. The respondant said:

    “if you have gmail you could wire your server/email addy/password intoMac Mail, which interacts wonderfully with the Address Book, iCal, and iPhoto.

    Address Book pgm will accept that CSV file you created from Outlook Express.

    Then in iTunes, when your phone is docked, you simply tell it to sync
    Addresses (I think it’s on the Info tab, or maybe Applications)”

    Also, I came across this Apple blog

    which explains syncing the iPhone with Address (is this in my Macbook?) using Mac OS X 10.5.3.

    Do I have what’s explained here in my Macbook? Can I do this?

    Also, here’s another blog

    that explains configuring address book synchronization via MobileMe.

    If I’m not mistaken, MobileMe is a service one has to pay for. I don’t
    use an email client as I use web-based . The only time I
    use an email client is my MobileMail Core App on my iPod to sync with
    all my email accounts.

    Also, I use a web-based calendar, only to be sync’d with my Calendar
    Core App on my iPod.

    So, it seems that for Email, Contacts, and Calendar, and since I’m not
    always on my Macbook, MobileMe is probably not for me.

    Anyway, both my Calendar and Contacts are syncing quite well.

    However, I’m using a third-party web-based service that seems to be conducting all my syncing 24/7 – Nuevasync.

    Of course, I have my settings set up in Nuevasync – as a trustworthy source – which has access to my Google Account username and password (for Calendar and Contacts). I’m not concerned about them having access to my account.

    The concern is that all of the Syncing is being performed by a third-party source over the airwaves (my iPod touch only syncs when I open the application within a Wi-Fi connection).

    If Nuevasync goes down, my Calendar and Contact list won’t sync.


    Also, if Nuevasync goes bankrupt, they also won’t sync, and I’ll need to
    find another solution to sync my Google Calendar and Contact list.


    In reading about all this, many Apple experts are commenting that it
    seems quite strange that Google, Inc. doesn’t have a direct setup to
    sync Calendar and Contacts directly to the iPhone / iPod Touch.

    That seems puzzling to me as well.

    So, should I just continue with what I’m doing with Nuevasync?

  10. Great software indeed. But I’d agree with #11 Dan that the different calendars in google-cal must somehow be supported. It’s a huge difference to me weather I can add an event to my work calendar (for all colleagues to see) or if I’m limited to add’ing to a personal (standard) google calender.

  11. Newbie iPhone user, am still in the starstruck stage, and am amazed at how well this thing works! i got a weird error message on the first go but ignored it and it was fine.

  12. I am quite pleased…. But I would love to see the ability to seperate different calendars by color (like on google calendar) and designate which calendar events are added to when added through the iphone. Probably an iPhone issue, but it would be nice.

  13. It works perfectly fine for me. Thank you NuevaSync team. Excellent work. Specially given the fact that iTune doesn’t realize any calendar software installed on my machine. Had been going through so many blogs and forums and came across this blog. Thank you so much for the efforts.

  14. I’ve just tried this, and it all seems to work pretty well. One quibble though, is that it seems to merge my multiple Google Calendars into a single calendar on the ipod touch. Plus, it’s in blue, and as minor as this sounds, my personal calendar is always green! I’ve gotten hard-wired into seeing green as me.

  15. Christopher Scott

    I have been using BusySync for about eight months now and it is absolutely fantastic for keeping all my Google Calendars (including shared ones) and iCal in sync. I never get errors. It works so reliably that I never check to make sure it’s still working correctly. It just does it’s thing in the background seamlessly. If you haven’t tried it, you really should check it out, one of the best shareware purchases I made this year

  16. I’ve been trying to set this up with my Google Apps email account for a while now, but can’t seem to get past the “authorize your google account” process… it doesn’t accept my password for my google apps account. Any suggestions?

  17. I have been using Nuevasync for a few months now and it is fantastic. Google Calendars now support two-way sync with iCal so you can enter an event on your iPhone, iCal, or Google Calendar and it will show up on the others almost instantly. The sync is not as good with contacts (contacts sync between the iphone and iCal, but not back to Address Book, even with Google Sync turned on in the options menu) but hopefully that will improve in the future.

  18. I have a corporate exchange server syncing to my iPhone, so unfortunately this option doesn’t work because the iPhone only supports one exchange account. Instead, I just subscribe to my Google Calendars in iCalendar and check them off to sync in iTunes.

    There are two downsides:
    –The Google Calendars are read only sadly (though there is some not-free mac software that lets you use Google with read/write privelages in iCalendar).
    –Syncing is only though iTunes and not over the air. My personal calendar doesn’t change often though, so it’s not a big deal to update it nightly when I sync with my Mac.

    I look forward to Apple adding support on the iPhone for CalDAV calendar servers (which Google Calendar supports) and for updating subscription calendars right on the phone. These seem like no-brainers since they are supported in iCalendar.