Set up Google Calendar, Contacts on your iPad

Even though iOS 5 introduced iCloud syncing for contacts and calendars, there are plenty of people who’ve already invested time and energy storing that info at another service, such as Google Contacts and Google Calendar. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to set up those services to sync nicely with your iOS devices.

Download Macworld Video #184

• Format: MPEG-4/H.264

• Resolution: 480 x 272 (iPhone & iPod compatible)

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• Length: 2 minutes, 34 seconds

Show Notes

Google provides some very helpful instructions for setting up your iOS device with Google Sync, as well as with other devices.

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Show transcript

This is Macworld senior editor Dan Moren with this week’s video tip.

Calendar and contact syncing via iCloud is built into all iOS devices, but what if you’ve already got a Google Calendar and Contacts that you want to use instead? With the Google Sync service, you can set up your iOS device to let you view and edit your Google Calendar and Contacts right from iOS’s own Contacts and Calendar apps.

The first step is to create a Google account on your iOS device. Go to Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars and tap the Add Account… button. Because Google Sync uses Microsoft’s ActiveSync technology, tap on Microsoft Exchange.

Enter your Google email address under email, m.google.com under domain, your Google address again under username, and your password under password, of course. iOS provides a default description for the account, but you can change it to whatever you like. Tap Next and, when iOS prompts you for a server, enter m.google.com again. Then tap Next once more.

Once you’ve created the account, you can choose to sync your Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and/or Reminders. For our purposes, switch Mail to Off. But, if you were to turn on Mail syncing, your Gmail would show up in the Mail app. When you’re done, tap the Save button in the top right corner.

After a moment, your Contacts should appear in iOS’s Contacts app. If you make any changes to the information there, you should see it reflected in your Google Contacts on the Web as well as anyplace else you sync them to.

Syncing calendars requires an extra step. Visit m.google.com/sync in your mobile device’s browser. Tap the Sign in with your Google Account button, and enter your Google username and password when prompted.

Now you’ll see a list of devices attached to this account; tap the one you want to edit and you’ll see a bunch of checkboxes indicating your various calendars. Check off the ones you want synced to this device, and when you’re done tap the Save button.

When you switch to the Calendar app you should be able to see all the calendars you’ve selected. As with contacts, any changes you make to your calendars or events should show up in Google Calendar’s Web interface and any other synced clients. It may take a few moments for the calendars to appear, so be patient.

Note that you’ll have to repeat this entire process for any other devices you want to set up. You can also set up multiple Google accounts on your iOS device; if you’ve got a Google account on a hosted domain, you’ll have to log into that account at m.google.com via your mobile device’s Web browser in order to select your calendars.

Thanks for watching.

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