Google Calendar (CalDAV) on iPhone - Instructions

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by milani, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. milani macrumors 68000


    Aug 8, 2008
    In case anyone was wondering how to get your Google Calendar on your iPhone (not as merely a subscription, but as an active, editable CalDAV calendar), follow the steps below:

    Note: be sure that you have a Gmail account and a calendar already setup. If you don't this probably won't work. I'm also not sure if you need to manipulate any settings in Gmail (I setup my calendar so long ago I don't recall what if anything that I've changed). Nevertheless, follow the instructions and hopefully it will work for you.

    On your iPhone, go to: Settings> Mail, Contacts, Calendars> Add Account...> Other> Add CalDAV Account>

    Now type the following:


    Note: if you are trying to sync a secondary calendar, use this URL

    Server:[string of numbers and letters]


    password: ******** your Gmail password

    description: Whatever you want to call your calendar - I just titled it Server Calendar

    There you go! This is a great solution for those who don't have MobileMe - and even those who do. I prefer to work with Sunbird, which MobileMe doesn't support. This way, though, I can sync the calendar to Sunbird and sync the CalDAV version to the iPhone, and all is good.

  2. dranakin macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2005
  3. milani thread starter macrumors 68000


    Aug 8, 2008
    Yes this CalDAV option only works with 3.0. I don't have an Exhange account linked to my iPhone - this method has nothing to do with Exchange at all.

    Basically with 3.0 there are two ways to sync to server calendars (like Google Calendar). Either you can subscribe via the iCal address (http://...calendar.ics) or you can subscribe via CalDAV... both of these options were granted to us with the 3.0 OS.

    Normally I think you'd need to run the latter through a calendar application first, like iCal on the Mac or something. However, by inputting the info I posted above directly into the CalDAV setup on your iPhone you can circumvent the need to use iCal or some other application to facilitate the connection between your iPhone and the Google server.

    The results: when you post an event from your iPhone to the CalDAV calendar, it will be posting straight to the Google calendar on the server. If you happen to have that calendar also synced to Sunbird or some other calendar application, the event will sync to Sunbird. In this way, it's a good alternative to paying for MobileMe, since it acts like a push calendar.
  4. milani thread starter macrumors 68000


    Aug 8, 2008
    Screen shots to illustrate what I'm talking about:

    Attached Files:

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  5. snatefinch macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2009
    Is there anyway to get more then my default calendar through CalDav? I have like 3 other calendars, other then my main one, that I use daily. I would like to edit these as well but only my main one shows up.
  6. milani thread starter macrumors 68000


    Aug 8, 2008
    You should be able to add as many CalDAV accounts as you like. Each one should show up within the CalDAV subset of the Calendars menu in the Calendar App itself. I'll add another CalDAV calendar just to check, though.

    Edit: yes, you can have more than one CalDAV subscription on your iPhone at once. I just added a second one. Oddly enough it makes a separate white "bubble" around each CalDAV calendar in your Calendars menu, but they're both there and working, which is what counts, I suppose!
  7. Pcpro745 macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2009
    change the server to you dont need to type all the other stuff
  8. snatefinch macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2009
    No, I dont think you got what I meant, I have multiple calendars under one account. And when you add a CalDAV for an account, it only adds the primary calendar.
  9. milani thread starter macrumors 68000


    Aug 8, 2008
    Hmmm, yes that might be a bit of a problem. I'm not exactly sure what you would do in that scenario. It does appear that the current way the iPhone is setup that you could only subscribe to the primary account. That's too bad. I'm sure there is some sort of work around, although I can't think of how exactly...
  10. snatefinch macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2009
    I know there is a work around with setting up your Gmail account under exchange to sync calendars, but I was hoping that I could get away from that so I could you Exchange for my school account.
  11. sam011989 macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2009
    Tucson, AZ
    you need to type a long lengthy URL address into the settings, which automatically shortens to when you enter you screen name. you can obtain the URL from google calendar's help area when asking about syncing. your better off typing the URLS for each calendar in an email, send it to yourself, and use the copy paste addition to put the URLs into the settings.....

    ....although it automatically shortens to, just finish setting it up. once you're done and it's saved, that specific calendar will show up.

    ....make sense?
  12. milani thread starter macrumors 68000


    Aug 8, 2008
    ^ you just beat me to it! Here are some detailed instructions just the same:

    Ok I figured it out. It's a couple extra steps, but the premise is more or less the same. It also requires you to type the FULL address at the beginning of the setup. As I've now realized, although the iPhone changes the addess to, it actually logs what you had typed into the advanced window. If you simply type it defaults to the address as based on your username and password. However, since we are trying to connect a secondary calendar, we obviously need to be explicit in terms of the URL we type.

    Thus, you should do as follows.

    First, in the Google Calendar settings (in the browser, at, go to the settings menu, and find the secondary calendar you want to add to your iPhone.

    Go to Settings> Calendars> [Click on the secondary calendar you want to add to your iPhone] ... scroll down to the bottom of the window and look for the Calendar ID - it's beside the three colored buttons (XML, iCAL, HTML).

    It should look like this: [a string of numbers and letters]

    You need to copy that address (the entire thing, including the

    Next, you are going to supplement that email address for your regular email address in the long URL. This is the long URL structure (what you will add to the CalDAV address box on the iPhone):[string of numbers and letters]

    The rest of your credentials are the same as before:

    password: your password

    By doing so, the iPhone will automatically place the email address in the advanced settings for the CalDAV setup, and you will therefore have a specific, non-default calendar, in your calendars.

    Note: I haven't tested to see if the calender events show up yet - as I am writing this my iPhone just died, so I can't test it right away. I assume someone will post if it works or not. Good luck!
  13. doctor-frog macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2009
    Right. I see where you're going with that secondary calendar thing, but I can't for the life of me get it to work. I've tried several variations on the theme and no joy. Lemme check I'm doing this right, so I'm sure I'm not missing something.

    Hardware is a 32bg iPod Touch, freshly updated this morning to OS 3.0. Previously I'd be using NuevaSync with good success, but want to switch to Google CalDAV because (I think?) it colour-matches the calendars properly.

    I've got 7 calendars with 2 Google accounts. One is my personal calendar & account; my wife's calendar is shared with this account. One is a work account that contains 5 calendars; all are shared with the personal account for read/write/management.

    Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars -> Add Account -> Other -> Add CalDAV Account

    Server:{string of characters}

    Username: {account} (or in most cases)
    Password: {password}
    Description: {whatever}

    Tap 'Next' button at the top.

    Doing it this way, using the personal account's credentials, results in the message saying 'verifying calendar', followed by 'calendar verified'. So I then exit settings. Then open up The primary (personal) calendar is there using the basic Google CalDAV settings that I set up previously. Secondary calendar is nowhere to be seen.

    So then I try accessing the work calendars through the work account's credentials. Basic Google CalDAV settings get me the primary calendar on that account, alongside the primary calendar on the personal account, which is still there. Then I try to add the secondary calendars, as above, using the work account's credentials. Still no joy. Same result as using the personal account's credentials.

    Then I try some variations. Enter nothing but: {string of characters} , as suggested on a blog I saw. Won't verify. Turn off SSL and try to access via port 80 ... with and without username and password. Either won't verify; or else verifies, but demands my password when I enter and then won't accept it. Type it all in as above, but leave out the 443. Same result as if I'd left it in.

    So then I do a factory re-set on the iPod because, well, it can't hurt. Same results.

    Tearing my hair out by now. I'm as big an Apple fanboi as ever lived, but if others are getting the same experience as me, this is some pretty shoddy implementation. I really expected this to be simpler than it is. :(
  14. Shag88 macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2008
    I'm not having any luck with this. After setting up the CalDAV settings per the original post, verification fails - "CalDAV account verification failed". I've confirmed that the URL, username, and pwd are all correct, but no luck.

    Any ideas?
  15. thyvillageidiot macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2009
    CORRECTION: Secondary Calendar's URL

    The original post is incorrect; "events" should be "user":{string of characters}
    Yeah, I agree... Why can't it just sync with iCal's Settings? This is going to be a pain to when I change my password....
  16. thyvillageidiot macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2009
    Remember that the url needs to be modified. Where it says "" put your actual email address there.
  17. Shag88 macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2008
    Yeah, I know. :) No worky, though...
  18. Shag88 macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2008
    Turns out I am an idiot, though. I somehow managed to leave out the "dav" part of the URL every time I typed it in. Brilliant.

    Thanks for the guide!
  19. doctor-frog macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2009
    Yep. That did the trick. :)
  20. dabeeeenster macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2008
    Is there any benefit to using CalDAV with Google Calendar over the Exchange method that worked before the iPhone 3.0 firmware was released? I have been using this for a while:

    Which works well, just curious whether there is any reason to modify my setup to use CalDAV? I don't have a work Exchange server, so can't really see any reason in moving?
  21. snatefinch macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2009
    That was the main reason that I wanted to switch it to CalDAV because I have either a work or school account I would like to set up under exchange.
  22. doctor-frog macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2009
    Funny, I was just about to come back and point out the same thing. The exchange method works just fine, as does (also a free exchange server, which can hook up with Google as well as several other services like Plaxo).

    Where the difference is for me is in colour-matching. CalDAV-ing straight from Google imports your calendar colours to match what you have on your Google account. Exchange (either Google or Nuevasync) does not; using that method gives you the stock five iPhone calendar colours, which can't be changed (unless you do the bodge where you make dummy calendars and then delete them), and which get recycled once you surpass five calendars. I have 7 pretty full-ish calendars, and need to know at a glance what's what. CalDAV makes that a lot easier.

    For the record: if you also sync your calendars to iCal on your Mac, I finally figured out the easiest method of getting it right. Still a bit fiddly; but simpler than anything else. Works for both primary and secondary accounts, with no fuss, no muss.

    On your Mac:

    1. Go into iCal -> iCal menu -> Preferences -> Accounts.
    2. Click on the calendar -> then click on Server settings.
    3. Copy the URL you find there and paste into an email.
    4. Repeat for each calendar you want to sync to your iPhone.
    5. Mail the URLs to yourself.

    On your iPhone (this assumes you're using IMAP):

    1. Collect your mail. If you're on Google and it doesn't show up, look for it in 'Sent' items.
    2. Copy the first URL: tap-and-hold and you'll get a dialogue for this. Then exit Mail.
    3. Settings -> Mail, Contact, Calendars -> Add Account -> Other -> Add CalDAV Account.
    4. Paste your URL into Server. (The OS will do any parsing that's required.)
    5. Username: {username} or (Actually, if you want to save strokes, only username is required. The OS will add the bit.)
    6. Password: obvious.
    7. Description: name your calendar.
    8. Click Next and wait for your calendar to be verified.
    9. Repeat for each calendar.

    And bob's your uncle.

    On reflection (and after experimenting with iCal on my Mac), I think the fiddliness may have more to do with Google's implementation rather than Apple's. But a bit of instruction from either company could have saved me the better part of my day today!! 8 out of 10 for a great idea; 1 out of 10 for documentation.
  23. milani thread starter macrumors 68000


    Aug 8, 2008
    ^ No kidding. I wish there was some semblance of standards.

    Good call - I will fix the original post!
  24. malbert75 macrumors newbie

    Jul 2, 2007
    So there is this mention of a string of characters when you are trying to add a secondary calender. I do not see that anywhere in any settings. Where do I get this information from. I have my own hosted version of gmail and google apps. I successfully set up my own calendar but can't seem to add any of my colleges calendars. Why is this so damn difficult? I mean up into this calDav support the cal app on the iphone was like carrying around a dead body. You would think they would have made it just a little bit easier to set up. Oh and don't expect to find anything in Google's horrid help center....
  25. milani thread starter macrumors 68000


    Aug 8, 2008
    I assume you've managed to navigate to Settings> Calendars>

    Once there, click on the calendar you are trying to add via CalDAV. Once you're viewing the information for the secondary calendar, simply scroll down to toward the bottom and you'll find the ID.

    I've attached a couple screenshots of my Google apps calendars (I just made a temporary one to illustrate the point).

    Attached Files:

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