How to Share Calendars with Family and Friends

We all forget birthdays and feel guilty for not sending a card on time to a niece or uncle.  We all schedule social activities, tell our significant others, and then are disappointed when they forget and schedule something else.  Sharing common calendars takes a little bit of time to set up, but will provide immeasurable benefits for years to come.  Plus, it’s a subtle way to help your adult children remember Grandma’s birthday!

I recommend using Google calendars because if you’re sharing with others who don’t use Apple products, all they need is a Gmail account.  In other words, Google calendars will work on all smartphones, tablets and computers.  And, thankfully, it’s easy to include a Google calendar in an Apple calendar.  This example is for a family birthday and anniversary calendar.

  1. Log into your Gmail Account.
  2. Click on Calendar in the black bar at the top.
  3. On the left side of your calendar, click on the arrow beside My calendars.
  4. Click on Create new calendar.
  5. Type in a name for your shared calendar.
  6. Click Create calendar button at the bottom.
  7. On the left side, click on My calendars.  You should see your new calendar in the list.
  8. Click on the arrow beside your new calendar.
  9. Click on Create event on this calendar.
  10. Type in a title for the event, such as “Lynn Huffman Birthday”.
  11. Type in or select the date for the current year in the first date box.  It does not matter if the date is in the past.
  12. On the next line, click on the boxes to check All day and Repeat.
  13. Change the information in the Repeat pop-up to this:
  14. Click Done.
  15. Scroll down and click on Add a reminder.
  16. I like to set the first reminder as an email 1 week before the birthday or anniversary to give me time to purchase and mail a card or gift.  If you need a second reminder, you can add that by clicking on Add a reminder again.
  17. Click on  at the top.
  18. Repeat for all the birthdays/anniversaries that you want in this calendar.

Make your Calendar Visually Fun

Google provides meaningful little graphics that you can add to your calendar’s events for fun and to provide instant recognition for the type of event.  For birthdays, you can add a little slice of birthday cake that will show up beside each birthday event and a little heart for anniversaries.  If you’re creating a vacation calendar, there is an airplane, a car and a palm tree to spiff it up.

  1. From your main calendar page, click on the arrow beside My calendars.
  2. Click on Settings.
  3. Click on Labs at the top.
  4. Scroll down and click on Enable beside Event Flair.
  5. Click on Save at the top or bottom.  When you are back on your calendar page, you should see Event flair on the right.
  6. Make certain your calendar is in month view, and click the arrow at the top to get back to January of the current year.  You are systematically going to click on every birthday/anniversary event you created and add graphics.  You only have to do this once, and the graphics will be set for all future years’ events.
  7. Click on the colored bar of the first birthday/anniversary in your calendar.  If there are none in that month, go forward to the next month.
  8. A pop-up box for editing will appear and the Event flair graphics on the right side of your calendar.
  9. Click on the Event flair picture you want to add to the event.  Make certain that All events in the series is checked below the graphics.
  10. Click on the of the pop-up box.
  11. Repeat until you’ve added graphics to each birthday/anniversary for the current year.

Share Your New Calendar With Others

  1. From the main calendar page, click on the right arrow your beside birthday/anniversary calendar.
  2. Click on Share this Calendar.
  3. Do NOT check Make this calendar public.
  4. Enter an email address of someone with whom you want to share the calendar.  If you have the person’s email in your Gmail contacts, it will pop up for you.
  5. Select whether you want the contact to be able to 1) view only, 2) add/edit events, or 3) add/edit and share with others
  6. Enter as many addresses as you’d like for sharing and click Save at the bottom.

If you are sharing with other Gmail addresses or non-Gmail addresses who use Google calendars, they will receive an email notification and see the calendar on their Google calendar with the cute graphics.

If you are sharing with a non-Gmail address that is not a current Google calendar user, you have two options:

  • Select Invite when this question pops up
  • Select Don’t Invite.  Then click on the arrow beside the calendar name.  Click Calendar settings. Scroll down to Private address: and click .  Select and copy the long url address.  Click OK.  Then paste that link into an email and send to your non-Gmail recipients.  With this link, your recipients can include your shared calendar in Apple calendars, Microsoft Outlook calendars, Yahoo calendars, and many others.  They may need to google for instructions for their particular calendar.  Here is a good explanation for including a shared calendar in Microsoft Outlook.  Here is my previous post for including a Google calendar in an Apple calendar.

This wraps up my 5-part series on syncing multiple calendars with multiple users and multiple devices.  Do you have other challenges with digital calendars?  Please share below and I’ll try to help.

How to Share Google Calendars with Your Mac’s Calendar

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we practice calendar diversity in our family.  I use Google calendars and my husband uses iCal (soon to be Calendar when he upgrades to Mountain Lion OS).  With our crazy schedules, it’s really helpful to be able to view each other’s calendars and even share a few.  Recently I showed you how to synchronize Google calendars and Apple calendars among all your devices (Mac computers, iPhones and iPads).   In our family, that allows us to see each other’s calendars from our iPads and iPhones.  This post will show you how to sync Google calendars into Apple’s iCal or Calendar for viewing on Mac computers.

Syncing Google Calendars with iCal or Calendar on a Mac

  1. Log into your Google account and go to Calendar.
  2. Click on .
  3. Click on Settings.
  4. Click on Calendars.  You will see a list of your calendars.
  5. Click on the name of a calendar you want to sync.  It will open the details screen for that calendar.
  6. Near the bottom of the page, beside Private Address:, click on .
  7. A screen with the private url of your calendar will pop up.  Select and copy that address to your computer’s clipboard.
  8. Click OK.
  9. Click Back to Calendar.
  10. Open iCal or Calendar on your Mac computer.
  11. At the top of the screen, move your mouse over File to see this drop down menu.
  12. Click on New Calendar Subscription…
  13. Paste the Google URL that you copied into this box and click Subscribe.
  14. When this calendar info box appears, I recommend changing the calendar color (beside the name) to match your color in Google, uncheck Alerts and change Auto-refresh to Every hour.
  15. Click OK.
  16. Repeat these steps for as many Google calendars as you want to view in a Mac iCal or Calendar.
  17. Repeat on all the Mac’s in your household that will be sharing these calendars.

One Little Drawback

Since I use Google calendars when I’m working on my iMac, I would really like to sync my husband’s iCal into Google calendars to view his schedule within my Google calendars.  That doesn’t work yet.  Maybe one day.   The workaround is that I set up my iMac Calendar with his calendars via iCloud and my Google calendar through the subscribe function.  When I need to see his schedule from my iMac, I open the iMac calendar to see all of our schedules in one calendar.  Thankfully, all of this is much easier from my iPhone/iPad – the devices I more often use for adding calendar events.

My next and last post in this calendar syncing series will show you how to create and share family-type calendars (birthdays, vacations, social events).


How to Sync Your Mac computer calendar with your iPhone/iPad

My husband uses iCal on his iMac for all of his calendars.  As I’ve mentioned before, I use Google calendars.  This “how to” is step 2 in a three step process that will eventually allow you to sync Mac and/or Google calendars together across multiple Macs,  iPhones and  iPads.  In my own situation, that means once it’s all set up, my husband has no excuse for not knowing my schedule and vice versa!

Apple makes this so easy with iCloud.  You can create an iCloud account with an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with iOS 5 or later, or on a Mac with OS X Lion v10.7.2 or later.  These instructions will be for the iPhone/iPad/iTouch.

  1. Double check your version of iOS by touching Settings, then General, then About.  Scroll down to Version.  Any number 5.0 or higher will do, but if you don’t have Version 6.0, go back one screen and click Software Update.
  2. If you do not have an iCloud account, follow these simple instructions from (just overlook the title that it’s for seniors!).  I do recommend that you use the same Apple ID for your iCloud account as you use for iTunes,
  3. Once you’ve signed in, you should end up with a screen similar to this with lots of choices to turn On or Off.  For now, I recommend having Calendars and Find My iPhone ON and everything else OFF.  (If you don’t like the idea of Find My iPhone, leave it off for now.  I’ll be explaining that in a future post.)
  4. Now go to your Mac and click the   in the top left corner.
  5. Click System Preferences.
  6. Click iCloud.  Check Calendars & Reminders unless it’s already checked.  You may see this pop up screen:
  7. If you see the pop up question Click Merge.
  8. Click the upper left red circle to close iCloud settings.
  9. Open iCal (or Calendar if you have Mountain Lion OS) from your Dock or Applications.

Congratulations!  Now your Mac’s calendar is synchronized with your iPhone and iPad.  Next time I’ll show you how to synchronize Google calendars with Mac calendars across all your devices!

How to Sync Google calendars with your iPhone/iPad

Syncing your Google calendars with your iPhone/iPad is really simple.  After following these instructions, you will be able to add or change events on your Google calendars from one device (like your iPhone), and it will make the same changes to your Google calendars on your iPad and computer.

Getting Your iPhone/iPad Ready

  1. If you haven’t been following my earlier posts, first set up Gmail on your iPhone/iPad by following the instructions in the best way to set up Gmail on your iPhone and iPad.
  2. Now, on the iPhone/iPad, touch Settings.
  3. Touch Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
  4. Touch Exchange.
  5. If Calendars is Off, touch Off to turn it On.
  6. Touch upper left arrow twice.  Press the Home key.

Changing Google Calendar Names and Settings

On Your Computer:

  1. Log into your Google account.
  2. In the black bar across the top click on Calendar. (If you don’t see it, click on More, then Calendar.)
  3. If you’ve already been using and creating Google calendars, you probably have given them meaningful names.  If you haven’t been using Google calendars, Google starts you off with one using your profile name.
  4. On the left side of your screen, click on My Calendars.  My Calendars will expand with your named calendar(s) below.
  5. To rename a calendar, click on the down arrow to the right of the calendar’s name.
  6. Click on Calendar settings.
  7. Type in a different Calendar name and click Save.
  8. This is a good time to choose a color for each of your calendars so that all events within a calendar are shaded with the same color.  Once you assign the same colors to the same calendars on your iPhone/iPad, it will be much easier to share calendars with others.  Go back to the right arrow beside a calendar name and click on it.
  9. At the bottom of the drop-down box, click on your chosen color.

On Your iPhone/iPad:

  1. Touch the Safari icon.
  2. Touch the white website/url field at the top.  Delete whatever is in that field.
  3. Type in the field.
  4. Touch Go in the bottom right corner.  If you need to, sign into your Google account.  Otherwise, you should see this screen.
  5. Touch iPhone or iPad.  Under My Calendars, touch to check the calendars you want to see and use on your iPhone or iPad.
  6. Touch Save.
  7. If you have another iDevice you can select calendars for it by touching Choose another device. Repeat the calendar selection and touch Save.
  8. Press the Home key on your iPhone/iPad.
  9. Touch .
  10. Touch Calendars in top left corner.
  11. Touch Edit.
  12. Touch a calendar name that needs to have the color changed to match your Google calendar color.  Touch the correct color.  Touch Done.  Repeat until all iPhone/iPad Exchange calendar colors match your Google calendar colors.

You’ve just liberated a little bit of your time from manually re-entering the same information on multiple devices!  For those of you who prefer using Apple’s iCal or Calendar on your Mac, my next post will show you how to synchronize it via iCloud.

How to Sync Multiple Calendars with Multiple Users and Multiple iPhones, iPads and Computers

In a perfect digital world, you and your significant other should each have your own calendars that are synced with each other and across all your devices.  In addition, having a shared calendar or two for family birthdays or vacations can really simplify scheduling within families.  My next few posts will teach you how to accomplish this with simple steps.  The upcoming topics are:

  1. Syncing your Google calendar with your iPhone/iPad
  2. Syncing your Mac computer calendar with your iPhone/iPad via iCloud
  3. How to share calendars when one person uses Google calendars and the other uses iCal
  4. Setting up, sharing and editing common calendars (such as birthdays, vacations)

I’m teaching this in a series so that you can just follow the instructions that fit your calendar usage and situation.

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How to Send from Different Email Addresses on Your iPhone/iPad

If you use Gmail on your iPhone/iPad, you may have noticed that you can only send or reply from your Gmail address.  This can be frustrating when you have additional email addresses that you use.  If you have followed my best way to set up Gmail on your  iPhone/iPad and set up Gmail for your non-Gmail addresses, then you are able to receive and read messages for all your email addresses on your iPhone/iPad.  What’s missing is the ability to send email from all of your email addresses.  By following these instructions, you will be able to choose your send-from email address on your iPhone/iPad.  This is quite helpful when you want to use your business email instead of your personal or vice versa.

Using your iPhone or iPad:  (You will follow these instructions twice if you own both.)


If the page is not blank, then touch the + sign in the top right to open a new page.

Starting with your Gmail address, type in all the email addresses you’ve set up or want to use in Gmail, separated by commas.  Do not type any spaces or hit Return (ignore any blanks Notes automatically puts in your text). This is what I typed in Notes:,,

Then simply put your finger anyplace on the text you just typed.  When a little round magnifying glass pops up, lift your finger and this bar will appear:

Touch Select All.

Touch Copy.

Press the Home key (remember, it’s the round, indented button near the bottom of your iPhone/iPad).

Touch Settings.

Touch Mail, Contacts, Calendars.

Touch Gmail.

Touch Account.  Your Gmail address should be listed beside Email.

Place your finger on top of your Gmail address until the magnifying glass pops up.  Lift your finger.

Touch Select All.

Touch Paste.  Your string of emails will replace your single Gmail address.

Touch Done.

Press the Home key.

To test it, touch 

Either compose a new message or reply to a message.

Touch the Cc/Bcc, From: row.  It will expand into three separate rows.

Touch the From row.  Select your correct send-from address.

Now you can send and receive from any of your email addresses using your iPhone/iPad!