Ran into an interesting problem over the last couple of days. I’m planning a driving trip with friends. One friend has an iPhone and the other has an Android phone. To be nice I set up a Google calendar for the three of us to share, making it available by adding their Google email addresses in the Google Calendar share panel. All seemed normal.
The three of us got together to go over our plans and I asked if they had accessed the Google Calendar I set up. Both indicated they had not and could not even see the calendar. Very strange. I checked the settings on the iPhone and Android phone and saw that both friends could see their own Google calendar but not the one I shared. One friend logged into their Google account using the Safari web browser on a laptop and there was the shared calendar. It was completely visible and available when viewed through Safari, but was not visible at all on the iPhone or the Android phone.
There seemed to be something going on with the calendar. One thing of note was that Google’s web page shows two groups of calendars. In the left column you see one group labeled “My Calendars” and a second group labeled “Other Calendars”. All of the calendars in the “My Calendars” area were visible on the iPhone and Android phone. None of the calendars in the “Other Calendars” group were visible on the mobile devices.
After lots of googling, it seems that Google does not “sync” other calendars to mobile devices by default. You must explicitly turn that option on. And, you cannot get to that option from any place on the calendar page or from account settings.
The magic is to make sure you are logged into your Google account in a web browser such as Safari. Then enter “https://calendar.google.com/calendar/syncselect” (without the quotes) in the location box at the top of the window. A web page appears listing all of the calendars associated with your account. Each calendar has a checkbox indicating whether that calendar should be sync’d with mobile devices. The shared calendar I had set up was unchecked. Checking the sync checkbox fixed the problem.
After updating my iPhone friend’s account, the iPhone showed my shared calendar within a minute’s time. My friend with the Android phone took over an hour before the calendar showed up on his phone.
If you are trying to share a Google calendar and cannot see it on your iPhone or iPad, make sure the sync option is turned on.