Creating a Shared Family Calendar and Everyone Stays in Sync – iPhone and iPad CALDAV

The topic of synchronizing a common calendar across an entire family’s set of devices came up at my neighborhood pool yesterday. (I know…we are that boring.) I couldn’t actually remember how to do it so I was unable to explain it to my friend. I went through the exercise of doing it all over again step by step to share with others and refresh my own memory.

A couple of years ago I was struggling with trying to keep my family in Sync. We have 6 members in our household and trying to get everyone on the same page was impossible. I did a little research on how to do this and finally came across a method that works for me. I now have a unified “family” calendar that I can place entries and reminders and everyone sees the same thing. We have 5 iPhones, 2 iPads and two Macs. This isn’t an Apple promo but its just the way I am set up. Its not always perfect because like anything its subject to the user “garbage in garbage out”. At least I give my self a fighting chance, right?

Here is what you do…You set up a new GMAIL ACCOUNT. I know stop complaining I don’t like having to do things this way either…just stick with me and you’ll see that it works. Set up a new gmail account. You want to name the user/email for the account something like “smithfamilycal@gmail.com” or “johnsonfamilycal@gmail.com” etc. Something that tells you that it is the FAMILY CALENDAR. Don’t get overly concerned with the email and settings as we are only setting it up to access the calendar function of google. Once you have the account set up save/write down your username/email and password so you don’t forget them. Now you are ready to set up the first device.

1-Pick up your iPhone and go to settings (looks like a little gear)

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2-Now scroll down until you see -Mail, Contacts, Calendars-…select it

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3-On this page choose the -Add Account- option

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4-Now you should be on this page, and you want to choose -Other-

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5-Under the CALENDARS heading you choose -Add CalDAV Account-

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6-On this page you enter:

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Server: www.google.com
Username: Enter The email you picked when making your gmail account
Password: Enter The password you picked when making your gmail account
Description: I call mine “Simpson Family Calendar” this is only a description

Mine Looks Like This…

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That should be it for set up.

Now go back to your main iPhone start screen and select The Calendar icon and click the plus sign to add a new calendar entry

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Enter an event called “test” and then scroll down. On the information page where you entered “test” there will be a choice below called “Calendar”. This is where you choose which calendar your entry will be placed on. (the family’s or just your iPhone)

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Once you click on that you can choose which calendar you want the entry to be on

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Click your family calendar and move the check mark and select it

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Now you can see on your calendar the event you created with a colored dot next to it. This color now indicates the family calendar. You can change the colors but thats another blog. 😉

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Hit the plus mark again and now add an entry for the iPhone calendar (its simply called “Calendar”).

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Notice when you look at the calendar that there are two events with different colored dots. When you add events to your iPhone calendar only you and those on your phone can see it. Any entries on your family calendar will be visible to anyone with a device who has the same caldav settings as you do on your phone.

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Now repeat the steps starting at step one on the other iPhones and iPads and watch the syncing magic begin. The family calendar will auto synch with google and then transmit among all of the devices. Quite cool actually.

Its not necessary to place a test event on every device. I was only demonstrating how the settings worked.

This is not limited to only iDevices and Macs. This setup will be similar on Android devices too. If I missed a step or something doesn’t work please let me know in the comments (top right corner). Good luck.

Apple iPhone 4 16GB (Black) – Verizon
Apple iPhone 4 16GB (Black) – AT&T

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One Comment

  1. jdsimpsontypicalguy

    test

Any advice or suggestions? Lets hear them. Thanks!