Sync And Share Your iCal Calendar With Multiple People Using BusySync and Google Calendar

My wife and I keep our calendars in iCal, but without some divine intervention we couldn’t sync our calendars or view each other’s calendar in iCal. We ran into this same issue at the office as well – I needed our Project Manager to see my calendar, but because we were both using iCal we were isolated into our own little islands of calendar hell.

So we started using Google Calendar, where we could share calendars and see each others events – even add events to each others calendars. But let’s face it… it’s just not as pretty or convenient as iCal, and it won’t sync events to my iPhone. If only there was a way to do this in iCal…

Well, I found a way. Using BusySync, I can use Google Calendar as a conduit, which holds and shares all of our calendar information. So I can see the calendars of others, and they can see mine. When I add an event in iCal, BusySync sends that information to Google Calendar, and BusySync on the other user’s computer picks it up and updates the information in iCal for them. The whole process happens within seconds – it’s pretty amazing. Watch the video to see what I mean.

So what happens if I have multiple computers and an iPhone? (Which I do). That’s where MobileMe comes in. Here’s the full setup:

We have an iMac at home which we use as our “base” – that’s where BusySync is installed. This computer is always on, so there’s never a lag in the data getting synced. If I add a calendar event on my laptop, MobileMe syncs that information with my iPhone and the iMac at home. BusySync then picks it up and syncs it to Google Calendar, which in turn triggers BusySync on other user’s machines to update the calendar event on their iCal calendar. And with MobileMe it shows up on their iPhones as well.

So with the two services combined, you can have multiple shared calendars, managed by multiple people, syncing on multiple computers and phones without doing anything more than simply adding an event.

    • Andrew
    • September 18th, 2009

    Awesome! This sounds like you may have found the holy grail. I’m going to definitely look into this. Thanks!

    Now if we could only find a solid, reliable solution for syncing iPhone/Mac Address Books, MobileMe, Gmail/Google Apps Contacts without causing duplicates! Hint hint 😉

  1. @Andrew
    Using Google as the conduit and keeping all information there has prevented any duplicates for me. And the one time I did find duplicate calendar items, I turned off calendar syncing in BusySync, deleted the calendar from iCal, turned BusySync back on for that calendar and everything was back to normal.

    Address book syncing with Google (in Address Book Preferences) has been great – I’ve only seen a duplicate once or twice in 6+ months.

    I also recently added an Exchange calendar in iCal (after 10.6 upgrade) and BusySync now pushes that one out to Google so I can see everything there as well.

    • gail
    • March 20th, 2010

    i don’t know what i’m doing wrong here. i have downloaded busy sync. i have a google calendar. i am logged in. i have a mobile me account and anything i add to busy sync goes there. but nothing seems to go to the google calendar. any help would be great…thanks.

  2. @gail Hi Gail,

    It looks like they moved the video URL – here’s the updated one: http://www.busymac.com/busysync/videos.html

    (I’ll update this in the post as well)

    • Ted
    • March 28th, 2010

    Hi Michael,

    I’ve been trying to get something similar set up lately, and luckily stumbled on you blog. BusySync has worked pretty darn well so far, thank you for that!

    I’d like to ask though, how are you getting your exchange calendar to push through to MobileMe? I can get it into google calendar via BusySync, but not MobileMe.

    Would you be so kind as to describe your setup in this area a little more please?

    Any thoughts or insight you have would be appreciated…

    Thanks,
    // Ted

  3. Hi @Ted,

    In general, you don’t need to since you can use Exchange to do the same thing MobileMe does (I can subscribe to it on any computer and my iPhone, and all sync through the Exchange server). However, if you wanted to (for instance, some services require an additional fee to sync to an iPhone) you can use BusySync to publish the Exchange calendar to Google Calendar, and then subscribe to that on any computer that you haven’t set up the Exchange account on.

    In BusySync > Google tab > Left side (Publish to Google), publish the Exchange calendar to Google. What this will NOT do, however, is display the account in the web/online version of MobileMe (in the browser). I’m not aware of any way to do that at this time.

    • Ted
    • March 30th, 2010

    Thanks @Michael,

    As far as BusySync goes, I do have my Exchange calendar publishing to Google Calendar already, which was a big step forward in my overall goal… but sadly the second part of then having it come back in and be visible on the web interface of MobileMe I was not able to achieve. I thought maybe I was just missing something.

    So it is good at least to know that it’s not just me… sad to know I still have not been able to reach my ultimate goal of backing up my Exchange calendar on MobileMe.

    Well, I do have good “anywhere” sharing of Calendars between my wife and myself as of right now thanks to your article! I was just trying to consolidate and back up what seemed to me a bit messy… this will definitely do for now!

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this article and answer my question. I had honestly been looking for something for days before I found your blog.

    // Ted

    • Fabienne Devriese
    • November 8th, 2011

    Hello,
    Could someone help me out with following :
    My boss and I are both working on iMac’s and we would like to share iCal Calendar. How do I proceed ? Apparently, it no longer works with MobileMe but with iCloud. I have set up an iCloud login and password.
    It is not clear for me which steps I need to follow.
    thank you for your help !

      • admin
      • November 8th, 2011

      Hi Fabienne,

      Both you and your boss need iCloud accounts. You have to log into the http://www.icloud.com website and you can set up sharing there. You cannot do it from your Mac or iCal.

      Hope that helps!

    • Barry
    • March 14th, 2012

    HELP ME SEE THE LIGHT!

    My wife and I have a pretty complicated need as well as receiving Outlook appointments, which are not able to be edited within iCal, but…

    Holy Fri-Oly! It’s expensive just to do what I can already do with iCal – sharing calendars. Am I missing something? I watched the video. Is the extra “cha-ching” in being able to also sync Google cal or something? I don’t get it.

    I almost would rather stick Apple’s server software on an old Mac and have everything run and sync from there. Help me see the light of spending $70 bucks just so I can have our calendars sync.

    By the way… despite my ranting – I greatly appreciate your original post, comments and time I see that you take to follow up.

    -B

    • Barry
    • March 14th, 2012

    BTW, I noticed the following on the BusySync page. What relevance or complications does this invoke with your own set up if anything?

    “Attention iCloud users

    BusySync has read-only access to iCloud calendars. You can publish iCloud calendars on your LAN, or to Google, but the calendars will be read-only and not editable by others.

    If you need to publish iCloud calendars with read/write privileges, you may use BusyCal, which has full read/write access to iCloud calendars.”

    • Philip Osborne
    • September 10th, 2012

    I don’t understand why all these complicated and expensive third-party solutions are necessary, when iCal shares calendars anyway! I could understand if an iCal user was trying to sync a calendar with a Google user or an Outlook user – but if you’re all on iCal anyway, just use the built in sharing function.

    In your calendar list, just right-click and choose “Share Calendar …”

    Having multiple calendars means you can put private appointments in your own calendar so you don’t have to share every appointment with everyone.

    • Emaven
    • March 6th, 2013

    Here is the easy way to share/view/edit calendars on the Mac and/or iDevice.

    This is possible when each person has an iCloud account.
     
    On a Mac computer, each person will set up his own iCloud account. This gives the person mail, contacts, calendars, bookmarks, reminders, notes, Find My iDevice, (If there is only one Mac, each person can have his own user account.)
     
    On the Mac, subscribe to the other person’s calendar.
     
    On the iDevice, you do not subscribe to the other person’s calendar.
    You set up another account in the settings, entering the other person’s iCloud name and password. Then you turn on mail (if desired), calendars, and reminders (if desired) for that account.
     
    When entering an appointment in the calendar you can now choose which calendar to use so that you can enter appointments in the other persons calendar as well. This way both participants can enter data as well as view data for each other.
     
    Since both participants have subscribed to each other’s calendars on the Mac, this may cause you to see double entries.
    To remedy this, you need to uncheck (in the calendar app list on the iDevice) the other person’s subscription to eliminate the double view.
     
    If you only want to view the other person’s calendar, then just subscribe to it on the Mac, and it can be viewed on the iDevice.
     
     
    Hope this helps

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