A Hack to Syncing Multiple Google Calenders with your iPhone

September 24, 2009

As a proud iPhone owner, I have tried to integrate my phone with just about every aspect of my life, which of course includes all my calendars. I also have been using Google Calendar for a long time and I love how easy it is to create multiple calendars and share them with friends and family. I also have my work Outlook calendar I want to synchronize with my iPhone. This sounds simple enough, right?

The problem is most guides I have found online only provided directions on how to sync your Google Calendar as the primary calender on your phone. Since my primary calender is my work Outlook calender, I can't do this. Google Sync looks very useful, but I haven't hooked it up since it uses Outlook's ActiveSync, and we all know that the iPhone can only have one ActiveSync account enabled at a time. Google also provides a simple CalDav based solution for syncing your iPhone with your Google Calender. If you only have Google Calender, then this solution works great and it is simple to setup. I, however, want to see all of my multiple Google Calender show up on my iPhone, color coordinated by calendar.

My solution to this problem is definitely a hack (not illegal or jailbreaking, just not elegant by any stretch).  The solution is to subscribe to your Google calender through your iPhone.  This is simple in theory since all it requires is entering a URL into your iPhone.  Unfortunately, Google Calender's subscribe URL's are extremely long and it would be cumbersome to enter them into your phone.  My solution is fairly simple and successful.

First, on your computer, go to Google Calender and click on Settings.  Then click on the Calender tab and you should see a listing of all of the calendars you own as well as all of the calenders you are subscribed to.  Click on one of the calenders and scroll to the bottom, where you should see icons for XML, ICAL and HTML associated with both with your Calender Address and your Private Address. Click on the ICAL icon under Private Address and copy that URL. Paste that URL in an email to yourself that you can retrieve from your iPhone. Open the email in your iPhone and click on the link. Your iPhone will ask you if you want to subscribe to this calendar, just click Subscribe. Your Google Calender should show up in your list of Calender on your iPhone. Each one you add shows up in a different color. It is as simple as that!

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