Sync Google Apps calendars across iOS devices

We’re enthusiastic proponents of Google Apps. There’s an eternal, roiling debate over the assorted pros and cons of every online collaborative solution – Exchange versus Gmail versus self-hosted versus ISP-hosted – and truth be told, the differences between most email providers is slight at best. Yes, there are differences in terms of form (and expense), but at the end of the day you have to ask yourself something akin to “Will I be able to send an email” and if the answer is “Yes” then the smart thing to do is choose a solution, quit worrying about it, and go back to work.

One of the things we like about Google Apps is the ability to share calendars in a simple, flexible way. This is tremendously valuable when I am at Client A and Client B calls me to report that the building is on fire or that something critical has exploded in a cascade of sparks or – as is more commonly the case – a problem of a rather more pedestrian but no less stressful nature has occurred. Being able to see that Seth is scheduled to be finishing up an appointment down the street and can swing by and save the day (as is his way) is tremendously valuable.

The only fly in the ointment is that it is – on the face of it – impossible to view subscribed calendars on your iOS device. It’s a puzzling omission, and while there’s a fix, it’s not an immediately obvious one. Here, for your delectation and delight, is how to remedy that.

First, sign into your Google Apps account via your web browser of choice. Once you’ve got that out of the way, navigate to https://www.google.com/calendar/syncselect. After a moment, it will present you with you calendars (actual and subscribed). Simply check the boxes of the calendars you want to be sync over your iOS devices, click “Save”, and quit the browser.

Et, as they say, voila! Give it a minute or two, and you should be able to see those subscribed calendars and know instantly what your cohorts are up to.