Google Calendars and iPad

When I originaly wrote my article on Google Calendars on iPad, I didn’t think about shared calendars.  My wife and I share our calendars but have never really taken advantage of that option.  We’ve recently decided that more organization is better.  As a result, I went to my iPad to update my calendar… and realized that shared calendars were not visible.

After doing some investigation using my favorite search engine, I found many articles outlining a process of setting up the iPad to use Exchange to connect to GMail, then going to and selecting your device/calendars.  All of them pointed to Google’s own instructions, which seemed like the right way to go.

After several attempts I realized the instructions were flawed/wrong or something had changed.

  • On my iPad, going to told me I needed to backup my iPad.  After following that process, I still could go no further.
  • Following a process of setting Safari into developer mode and activating sync on it, had the same result.
  • In both cases, I should have been prompted to log into but no option was there.

After quite a bit more digging, I found a forum post that discussed the same problem.  Basically, it sounds like Google changed something and did not update their docs.  Fortunately, some intrepid user figured out the fix and shared it, just as I am going to do here.  (The more that know… the better)

Prior to iOS 4.2.1, since you could only have ONE Exchange account on your iPad.  With 4.2.1 that limitation is removed.  Either way, I’ve tested this solution using Exchange and the native GMail client on my iPad – they both work.  One big advantage of using Exchange is that your contacts will sync automatically, while using GMail does not (you have to sync using iTunes)

First step is to set up your email on the iPad.  (I would suggest backing it up first).

If you are using Exchange.  Go to Settings->Mail, Contacts, Calendars.

Tap Microsoft Exhcnage



Password: your passowrd

Domain: Leave it blank

Description: What Ever You Want

Tap Next, your iPad will attempt to verify your account.  It should come back asking for a server name.


You can leave the rest of the settings alone, assuming they are correct.

Tap Done.

Now to set up your Calendars.

Go back into your Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars

Tap Add Account

Tap Other

Tap Add CalDAV Account

These are the settings from all of the Google Documentation


User Name:

Password: your password

Description: Whatever you want

Click Next and you should be all set up for Calendars.

Next you need to set up the shared calendars to sync.

In Safari on your iPad, browse to

You will need to log in with your GMail username and password.  You can then select the calendars you want.

Once you are done Tap Save.

The addition of the calendars is not instant.  So don’t panic if they aren’t there right away.  If after 10 minutes or so, they don’t come up.  First check your Google Calendars to make sure they are shared.  I actually ended up removing all of my accounts from my iPad and re-adding them.  BE WARNED – That method will delete your contacts and calendar items on your iPad.  If you haven’t synced to something else, THEY ARE GONE FOREVER.

A few notes:

I think the Calendar is enabled by default when you setup up your GMail using Exchange.  This can create duplicate events in your calendar.  To fix this, I edited my Exchange settings and turned off the Calendar Sync.

Calendar sets your default calendar to the iPad calendar.  You can change this under Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendar.  Scroll down to the bottom.

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