Google Calendar, Contacts Mail and the iPhone

Posted on 09. Apr, 2012 by in Technology

As I write this, I’m expecting Jonathan Cliff to write a comment saying I’m making this too complicated and that I’m doing this all wrong, but I thought I’d share some of the technology frustrations I encountered today and how I fixed them.

One of the greatest leaps in technology in recent years was the ability to share my work calendar with my wife. No longer did we have to have long conversations of when I might be available, but instead, she’d just make appointments on my calendar for me.While I was on a PC, there were some good syncing apps between outlook (what I used) and google calendars (what she used). When I switched to a Mac, it got hard again. Then when we switched to Google Apps at Gateway, all was well. However, now my wife uses her iPhone 90% of the time rather than her computer.

For the past 18 months (at least), Sara has had an iPhone and she’s had access to my calendar and all has been well. However, for the past 2-3 months, she’s not had access to my calendar. I’m not sure what happened, maybe Apple or Google changed something. After about 15 questions in a row this morning about my calendar I snapped, “Don’t you have my calendar on your phone?” Not my finest moment. She reminded me that she’s been telling me this for months. Oops. So, I jumped on her phone to fix it quickly, but kept getting stuck and it wasn’t doing what I wanted. Here was the situation.

She has her gmail account on the phone and we’ve set it up under the Exchange settings. The reason for this is that using the gmail settings allows you to sync email and calendar, but not contacts. When you used the Exchange settings, you can sync email, calendar and contacts. What was important though is that once her gmail account was all set up, I could only seem to access her one main calendar. I followed all the steps I’ve done before by going to and authorize your phone and select the calendars you want to sync, but it just wasn’t working at all. After messing around for a while I came to the conclusion that perhaps you can only sync one calendar through Exchange. Again, I could be wrong, but I just couldn’t get it to work.

The solution was to set up Sara’s email and calendars through the gmail settings. I was having problems getting to work, so I ended up going to instead and picked the calendars that I wanted to sync. Once it all loaded, all the calendars came through perfectly. Ah, but what about her contacts? That was easy enough. I just set up another account using the Exchange settings and told it to only sync contacts. So in the mail/calendar/contacts, she has one account (gmail settings) for mail and calendar and one account (exchange settings) for contacts only.

Feel free to comment, maybe you know something I missed… or can explain why this was working just fine a few months ago, but isn’t anymore.

Meet Kenny

Kenny Conley has written 1891 posts on CMO.

Kenny Conley is the primary author of Childrens Ministry Online and the NextGen Pastor at Gateway Church in Austin, TX. In addition to creating the Illuminate Conference, a high quality kidmin conference designed specifically for volunteers, Kenny is a published author and speaker. For more biographical info, click here.


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5 Responses to “Google Calendar, Contacts Mail and the iPhone”

  1. Matt Norman

    10. Apr, 2012

    What, surely you jest. I thought that purchasing anything Apple made the very gates of heaven open up. That everything linked right up and a;; was made easier by the very purchase of anything with the Apple insignia on it. The problem is probably the fact that Google is Apples biggest competitor in the smart phone and tablet world. While apples goes to great links to make sure that all of their stuff works together, they don’t seem to be very interested in ensuring that their stuff plays well with others.

    Matt N.

    Reply to this comment
    • Kenny Conley

      12. Apr, 2012

      I agree… but Apple seems to be trying. Over the years, I’ve seen them make adjustments to mail that they probably didn’t “have” to… but it makes using gmail on the iphone a better experience… like being able to click on “All Mail” and view archived emails. That’s been a life-saver!

      Reply to this comment
  2. McAlpine Joe

    11. Apr, 2012

    I use an app called calengoo on the iPhone. The iPhone/iPad cal just simply wasn’t working. Google cal syncs nicely with my MacBook though. On my phone I just open up the calengoo app instead of the iPhone one.

    Reply to this comment
    • Kenny Conley

      12. Apr, 2012

      Good to know. Well, I have the native calendar working pretty well, but if I have more issues, I might check out calengoo. At the very least, it’s fun to say. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply to this comment
  3. Jesse Smith

    01. May, 2012

    Hmm…I was under the assumption that while the gmail setting will pull the mail down, exchange would push the mail to your phone meaning you get the mail without opening the app…is your wife still getting mail indications on her phone?

    Reply to this comment

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