Syncing calendars between Mountain Lion and Snow Leopard

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Reader Ron Sharp has a question that continues to puzzle some Mac users. He writes:

I have an older Mac on a local network that is still using Snow Leopard—so it’s incompatible with iCloud. How can I share calendars between it and my other Mac running Mountain Lion?

This was a popular subject when Mac OS X Lion (10.7) first shipped, as Apple drew a firm line between the new and old ways in regard to data sharing. MobileMe was out and iCloud was in. At that time there were a couple of sneaky ways to make Snow Leopard’s iCal work with iCloud. Allow me to report that I’ve wasted plenty of my time so that you needn’t waste yours. These schemes are broken and it’s very unlikely Apple is going to do anything to make iCloud compatible with Snow Leopard.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t use an alternative—Google Calendar. In order to have such a thing you must sign up for a Gmail account. For the six of you who don’t have one, hightail it on over to and set it up.

On the Mac running Snow Leopard launch iCal, choose iCal > Preferences, and click the Accounts tab. In the resulting window click on the Plus (+) button to add a new account. In the Add an Account window choose Google from the Account Type pop-up menu and then enter your Gmail email address and password. Click Create and iCal will do the rest.

Now, when you add an event to a Google calendar on one Mac, it will also appear on the other. Should different people be using each Mac, all you have to do is launch your web browser, travel to your Google home page, select calendars, choose a calendar you want to share, and then configure it so that it’s shared with the person using the other Mac. Grant them editing powers and each of you can then add and remove events.

Note too that Google calendars can also be synced with iOS devices. So, while you may shed a tiny tear that you can’t live entirely in iCloud, there’s some balm in the fact that Google calendars are so well integrated with Apple’s two operating systems.

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