You’d think that with the technology available to us today, something as simple as simple as viewing an online calendar on a device of your choice would be a doddle, but it turns out that’s not the case when it comes to working with multiple online calendars, especially when they are located on various platforms such as Outlook, Google and iCloud.
Diary management often forms a large part of the work of a virtual assistant, and over the years I’ve trialled many different solutions. We often have access to multiple client calendars all at the same time, and logging into each and every one of them individually is not only confusing but also inefficient, especially when you have more than one person requiring access at the same time. When we get a customer who uses iCal or iCloud Calendar, sharing their calendar with a non-Mac user presents even more of a challenge! Whilst you can view a Google Calendar on an apple device, viewing an Apple calendar in Google is a whole different ball game, and if you want to be able to edit them too, well, that gives us even more to think about!
Having tried and tested multiple options in the past, the very best solution I have found for gaining editable access to a customer calendar is to use Google Calendar as the main ‘hub’ and then put systems in place to sync everything to there. It’s easy, it’s flexible, it’s cost effective, and virtually every app, mobile device and cloud software we know will link with it, so here’s how we do it:
*Note, although this is probably the most comprehensive solution I’ve found, it’s still not perfect. This option will allow you to view and edit a Google Calendar with an apple device, however, it won’t sync that calendar with iCloud – we’re still holding out hope that this might be something that may happen in the future!
1. Set up your Google Calendar
First of all, you need a Google account and Google Calendar. If you already have an account, and want to share the calendars in there, log in and navigate to the calendar. If you don’t, then set up an account first, then login and access the calendar.
Note: the solution below syncs all calendars from a given Google Account to your Apple Calendar app, iPad or iPhone. If you access multiple customer calendars, or have your own personal calendars in there, you should create an individual Google account for that customer, sync that calendar with the Apple devices and calendars, and also grant access to your own calendar systems.
Within your calendar area, create a new calendar and name it appropriately, in the example below we are setting up a new Client Calendar, To do this:
- From the section titled ‘My Calendars’ select the drop down arrow and click add new calendar
- On the next page, give your calendar a title, description and set the timezone
- Choose if you want to share your calendar with anybody else and adjust the settings accordingly
- Click create calendar
You’ll see your new calendar added as an option under ‘My Calendars‘
2. Connect your Google Account with your device
- Open Apple iCal and from the toolbar select Calendar > Preferences > Internet Accounts
- From the list of accounts, click the plus (+) sign to add a new account and then from the list of available options choose ‘Google‘
- Enter your Google Account login details (note: if you have 2-step verification activated in your Google account then you will be prompted to obtain an application-specific password from Google first. If you don’t know how to do this, read our article here)
- Click Set Up
- Once logged in, select the apps that you would like to sync. Alongside calendars, you can also choose to sync tasks, notes and contacts
If you open Apple Calendar, you should now see you new calendar showing in the list of available calendars. As usual, you can select or deselect calendars to make them visible or invisible. Your Google calendar is now viewable and editable in your Apple Calendar, and also from your Google calendar and will sync both ways.
The calendar won’t show up in iCloud, but you can also add the Google account to the list of accounts in iPad or iPhone and you’ll then be able to edit and view them on mobile devices too.