Catch up and Keep Up with Technology!

Catching up and keeping up with technology requires some effort when you first begin and a willingness to learn and change as products evolve, but it is the key to staying current and having a frustration-free digital life. The foundation for achieving your digital bliss is synchronization. If you can get your devices synchronized in the following three areas, you will amaze yourself!

1) Mail, contacts, calendars and notes Read more

The Best Way to Set Up Contacts, Calendars and Gmail on Your iPhone (your iPad, too!)

Until recently, I taught a different set up for synchronizing contacts and calendars on the iPhone/iPad, but Google is phasing out that program called Google Sync and I have rewritten the set up instructions. Below is the best Google-supported process for connecting and synchronizing your iPhone/iPad to Gmail, Gmail contacts and Google calendars. If you don’t have a Gmail account yet, go here first to set one up.

Set up Gmail Contacts

Once your contacts are in Gmail’s Contacts, make the following changes to your iPhone (the ‘>>’ symbol is a short-cut for ‘touch’):

  • Touch Settings>>Mail, Contacts, Calendars>>Add Account>>Other. 
  • Touch Add CardDAV Account.
  • Enter the following in the fields:
    • Server:
    • User Name: your full Gmail address
    • Password: your Gmail password
    • Description: My Contacts (or your choice of a description)
    • Touch Next.

This will take you back to the Settings, Accounts list.

  • Touch your newly added Contacts account.
  • Verify that Account is ON. If it is not, touch OFF to turn it ON.
  • Touch Advanced Settings.
  • Verify that Use SSL is ON. If it is not, touch OFF to turn it ON.
  • Touch My Contacts arrow at the top.
  • Touch Done.
  • Scroll down to the Contacts heading.
  • Touch Default Account.
  • Touch My Contacts (or your new description) so that it is checked.
  • Touch the upper left arrow to go back to the Mail, Contacts, Calendars screen.

 Set up Google Calendars

  • From the Settings>>Mail, Contacts, Calendars 
  • Touch Add Account.
  • Touch Gmail.
  • Enter the following in the fields:
    • Name: your name
    • Email: your full Gmail address
    • Password: your Gmail password
    • Description: My Calendar (or your choice of a description)
  • Touch Next.
  • Turn Mail OFF.
  • Leave Calendars ON.
  • Leave Notes OFF.
  • Touch Save.

Set up Gmail

  • From Settings>>Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  • Touch Add Account>>Other.
  • Touch Add Mail Account.
  • Enter the following in the fields:
    • Name: the name you want seen when you send an email
    • Email: your full Gmail address
    • Password: your Gmail password
    • Description: should autofill with GmailIf not, enter Gmail.
  • Touch Next.
  • IMAP tab at top should be highlighted with blue background. If it does not, touch IMAP to highlight it.
  • Under Incoming Mail Server enter:
    • Host Name:
    • User Name: your full Gmail address
    • Password: If your password wasn’t automatically filled, enter your Gmail password
  • Scroll down to Outgoing Mail Server and enter:
    • Host Name:
    • User Name: your full Gmail address (enter it even though it says Optional)
    • Password: your Gmail password (enter is even though it says Optional)
  • Touch Next.
  • After account verification, you will see an IMAP screen with Mail ON and Notes OFF.
  • Touch Save.
  • Press the Home key.
  • Touch the Mail icon.
  • If you don’t see “Checking for mail” on the bottom of the screen, but you do see Mailboxes in the top left, touch Mailboxes. Then touch Inbox to refresh your Gmail.
  • If you see “Checking for mail,” just let it finish.
  • Touch the Home key, then Settings, and then Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
  • From the Accounts list screen, touch your newly created Gmail account and then your Account name.
    • Scroll down and touch Advanced
    • Touch Drafts Mailbox.
    • Under On the Server, touch Drafts.
    • Touch Advanced in the top left corner.
    • Touch Sent Mailbox.
    • Under On the Server, touch Sent Mail.
    • Touch Advanced in the top left corner.
    • Touch Deleted Mailbox.
    • Under On the Server, touch Trash.
    • Touch Advanced in the top left corner.
    • Under Deleted Messages, touch Remove.
    • Touch Never.
    • Touch Advanced in the top left corner.
    • Touch Account in the top left corner.
    • Touch Done.
  • Touch the upper left arrow to go back to the Mail, Contacts, Calendars screen.
  • Press the Home Key to exit out of all Settings.

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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The Best Way To Set Up Gmail On Your iPhone and iPad

The ability to check email and send email from anywhere, on any of your devices, is a real time-saver, but only if ALL of your devices “know” what’s being changed, deleted, etc.  It’s called syncing and it’s supposed to make your electronic life easier.  For example, deleting emails on your iPhone while you’re having your oil changed won’t be deleted from your iPad and computer if you haven’t set them all up to delete and synchronize correctly.  Then you are wasting your time by duplicating or triplicating the work later.  More importantly, this method will allow you much greater flexibility for multiple email addresses and calendars.  It’s time to set up your iPhone/iPad properly to liberate your time, and it’s easy.

1. Confirm your iPhone/iPad’s software version

These instructions work for the iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S and any iPad.  This will not work for the original iPhone or iPhone 3G (sorry). Plus, you must have a Gmail account/address.

How do you know which version you’re running?  Do the following:

  1. Touch the Settings icon on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Touch General
  3. Touch About
  4. Scroll down a little until you see Version.
  5. You should see a number 5.0 or higher.  If you don’t, then you need to connect your iPhone/Ipad to your computer and update the iOS through iTunes. Instructions are here.

Now that you’ve checked and you’re running iOS 5.0 or higher, it’s time to set up your iPhone and/or iPad.  The instructions are the same for iPhones and iPads, so just repeat on as many iPhones and iPads as you own.

2. Remove any previous setups for Gmail on your iPhone/iPad

This will not permanently delete your Gmail account or any of your Gmail information with Google or on your computer.  It will temporarily remove Gmail from your iPhone/iPad.

  1. Touch Settings
  2. Scroll down and touch Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  3. What do you see under Accounts?  You may have one or more listed.
  4. If you see iCloud listed, just leave that alone for now.
  5. If you see Exchange listed, touch that to open it.  If the Account email address at the top is a Gmail address, look at the list just below your Gmail address.  Make certain that Mail is Off. Leave your Contacts and Calendars settings alone for now. Touch the arrow in the top left corner to return to the list of Accounts.
  6. If you see Gmail listed, touch that to open it. Touch Delete Account and then touch Delete Account again.

3. Set up an Exchange account properly

if you did not see an Exchange account with your Gmail address when you checked for previous setups of Gmail, do the following from the Mail, Contacts, Calendars page in your iPhone/iPad Settings page.

  1. Touch Add Account…
  2. Touch Microsoft Exchange
  3. Fill in the form as follows:
    Email – your gmail address
    Domain – don’t type in anything
    Username – your gmail address again
    Password – your gmail password
    Description – it should already have Exchange.  If not, enter Exchange.
  4. Touch Next in top right corner
  5. The same screen will reappear with a field for Server.
  6. Enter in the Server field
  7. Touch Next
  8. After verification, you should see this:
  9. If Mail is On, touch On to turn it Off
  10. Touch Save

4. Manage your Google Sync devices

  1.  Press the big, round indented button on your iPhone/iPad.  It’s called the Home key.
  2. Touch the Safari icon
  3. Touch the white website/url field at the top.  Delete whatever is in that field.
  4. Type in the field
  5. Touch Go in the bottom right corner
    You will see a screen describing Google Sync for your iPhone
  6. Touch Sign in with your Google Account
  7. Type in your password
  8. Touch the Sign In button
  9. You should see iPhone listed under Manage Devices.
  10. Touch iPhone
  11. In Google Sync Settings make certain the following are checked:
    Enable “Send Mail As” for this device.
    Enable “Delete Email As Trash” for this device.
  12. Touch Save
    (If you see Calendar settings, don’t worry about those right now.  That’s for another topic.)
  13. Press the Home key (big round indented button on iPhone/iPad).

 5. Add your Gmail account the better way

  1. Touch Settings
  2. Touch Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  3. Touch Add Account…
  4. Scroll down and touch Other
  5. Touch Add Mail Account
  6. Fill in the form as follows:
    Name – the name you want seen when you send an email
    Email – your Gmail address
    Password – your Gmail password
    Description should autofill with Gmail.  If not, enter it.
  7. Touch Next
    IMAP tab at top should have blue background.
  8. Under Incoming Mail Server enter:
    Host Name –
    User Name – your Gmail address
    Password – If your password wasn’t automatically filled, enter your Gmail password
  9. Scroll down to Outgoing Mail Server and enter:
    Host Name –
    User Name – your Gmail address (enter it even though it says Optional)
    Password – your Gmail password (enter is even though it says Optional)
  10. Touch Next
    After account verification, you will see an IMAP screen with Mail On

  11. Touch Save

This is the foundation for more easily using Gmail and other email addresses on your iPhone/iPad.  Stay tuned – there’s more to come!