How to Setup Google Calendar on Your iPhone

Even though my company officially uses Microsoft Exchange, including the calendar function, I use Google Calendar. I do this because a few people outside the company need access to my calendar. Google Calendar allows me to give access to anyone I want, provided they have a Google account.

A Week from My Personal Google Calendar

However, using Google Calendar with my new iPhone 4 was not as straight forward as I had hoped. When turned the calendar function on within my iPhone’s Gmail account, I only got one calendar. (I actually have five different Google calendars.) Some people suggested that I set up my Gmail account using the Exchange option, but that did not work.

After an hour or so of research and hacking, I finally figured it out. Here are the steps I took to get all my Google calendars to show up on my iPhone:

  1. Open Safari on your iPhone and go to the Google Calendar Sync Settings page. If you are not logged into Google it will prompt you to do so. This is what my page looks like. My Thomas Nelson appointments are synced to my main Gmail account. “GH” refers to my wife Gail’s calendars. (We share our calendars with one another.)

    Google Calendar Sync Settings

  2. You should see all of your calendars listed, including your shared calendars. Some calendars (e.g., “Weather” and “US Holidays”) are not available for syncing. Check the ones you want to appear on your iPhone. Scroll down and tap on the Save button.
  3. Open the Settings app on your iPhone. It should look similar to this:

    Main Settings Screen on the iPhone

    Tap on Mail, Contacts, Calendar. You should now see all of the email accounts you have set up. Mine looks like this:

    My Mail, Contacts, and Calendar ASccounts

    If you don’t already have your Gmail account set up, tap on Add Account, select Gmail and follow the directions.

  4. Tap on your Gmail account. It should look similar to this:

    Gmail Account Settings

    If the Calendars switch is on, turn it off. You should immediately get a prompt that looks similar to this:

    The “Delete from My iPhone” Prompt

    Click on the button that says “Delete from my iPhone.”

    Now turn the Calendar switch back on. (If the Calendars switch was off originally, then just turn it on.)

  5. Go to your iPhone Calendar app. Click on the Calendars button in the upper left-hand corner. You should see all of your Google Calendars, including shared calendars listed under the Gmail section. Mine looks like this:

    The Calendars to Show Page

    Tap on all the calendars you want to include on your calendar. A checkmark will appear to the right of each one you select. You can change this any time you want. When you are finished, tap on the Done button at the top of the screen.

    It may take a few minutes for your phone to download all of your calendar appointments from the Google servers. However, if all has gone well, all of your appointments should appear on your calendar with the same colors you use on the Google Calendar. Here is a screen shoot of my Google calendar on my iPhone 4:

    A Sample Screenshot from My iPhone 4

Note: If you decide to add a new calendar to your Google account and want to include it on your iPhone, you will need to add the calendar in Google, then repeat these steps again, making sure that you select your new calendar in Step 1.

I was surprised that Google didn’t provide these step-by-step directions. They are usually very good about documentation. I had to root around in several tech forums before I stumbled on the solution.

Question: Did this procedure work for you?
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  • Victor3p_9

    Magnificent! Thank you very much. How do you manage your gmail contacts list on your iPhone 4? How do you sync gmail contacts with iPhone’s?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Actually, I don’t. So I am not sure. Sorry.

  • NitishAmin

    Yes, yes, yes! THANK YOU

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  • Good life granola

    Worked perfect!

  • W. Mark Thompson

    Excellent! You are a Productivity Master. Going to go set this up immediately! …after I read another post or two.  :)

  • William B

    I’m importing an ICAL from another site into my Google Calendar.  I’m able to see the items on the browser, but unable to do so on the phone unless I select “copy to my calendar”.

  • Russ

    Worked like a champ!  Thanks!

  • Guest123

    Thank you so much!!! This was so helpful!

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  • Stevencbarrett

    This was great, fixed the calendars.
    Thank you!!

  • Adrian Gutierrez

    This worked perfectly & instantly Michael.  Thanks for adding the tutorial! Sharing it with every nerd I know.

  • Cam_worldsurf

    Thanks Heaps Michael. Saved me a lot of time. It seems your blog is going well. This is now the 3rd thing you have helped me with, via my google searches…well done!

  • Alex

    Dude, you’re my hero.   :)

  • Randy

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!  I’ve been trying to work this out for a couple of days now.  Your instructions worked right away…seamlessly.  I volunteer as part of the Production Team at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA and our schedule is automatically updated in my Google Calendar.  Thanks to you, I now have access to this information on my iPhone!  THANK YOU!!!

  • Natlaie

    This was a fantastic article. You guided me through the process quickly and easily (something Google did not manage to do). Thank you!

  • jamie

    Thank you so much! i have been trying soooo hard to find a way to sync google calendar with my iphone. it works now :D .  your directions were easy to follow.
    Again, thank you so much :)

  • dmigl

    Thanks. This worked perfectly for me!

  • Anonymous

    Michael, thanks for this – it’s most helpful to sync with the Google Calendars for the various organizations of which I am part.  I actually didn’t know that Google Calendars were so well supported on the iPhone, so thanks for leading the way..
    Happy Holidays!

  • Garrattsdamp

    worked for me, to me 2 minutes thanks to you hours…

  • Jonestech

    Wow!! thanks a bunch!!!

  • Charlottebartol

    Thank you so much!!!!

  • Cristina Ishmael

    Thank you. This was very helpful!

  • Shelley Aistrup

    Fabulous.  Worked like a charm.  Thank you!

  • Redlofmaps

    This was definitely helpful.  I was syncing mail, contacts, and calendars with Microsoft Exchange, which apparently only allows you to sync with your primary calendar.  I am still using Microsoft Exchange to sync contacts but using Gmail to sync mail, calendars, and notes.  It works like a charm!

  • Gian Toyos

    Excellent. Very helpful, thanks.

  • Angel7haven

    BRILLIANT!!!!! Sorry for the shouting but it was very frustrating to find the answer and thank God for your help! Thank you! God Bless you!

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  • Karen

    Thanks for posting.  I am having trouble getting past step 1 from the safari page. Did you type into the browser?  This just brings up web pages, not like the creen shot you show.  Any advice?

  • myrapintor

    What a great training session! And what a great tool to use to better organized! Thanks.

  • Marymel66

    Thanks!  Worked to perfection!

  • Dwat

    Thanks for the help,  never would have figured that out…

  • Rachel

    Thank you so much.  It was not nearly as straight forward as when I added all of my google calendars to my iPod Touch all those years ago.  I appreciate your walking me through this convoluted process.

  • Marlyse Comte

    Thank you!! This solved my problem fully. Very happy to have those calendars finally integrated on the iPad/iPhone. Unfortunately I still have not figured out how to get additional TASKS calendars sync’ed with the Reminder app (or to show up as an iCal task calendar).

  • Pointlesschatter

    THANK YOU!!!!  I have been rooting around on forums to find out how to view all of my calendars, and I felt so lost!  Thanks to your advice, it worked like a charm, and I didn’t feel completely inept!!!!!  THANK YOU!!!!

  • ASM

    Thank you!!!  I didn’t even realize for a while that my shared calendars were not showing up!  I just assumed they would as they had on my android.  Loved the clear instructions and screen shots!

  • guest

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!  I have struggled with this for hours and you walked me through the fix in minutes!!!!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

  • Christian Coughlin

    Good work thank you for your help

  • matthew

    I followed all the instructions for syncing my new Iphone 4s with my multiple gmail calendars, and no matter what i did, my primary account would not show up once I went over to the Iphone Calendar app.  I finally found a solution, I had to setup this particular account, for whatever reason, by entering the account under “exchange” instead of the default “gmail” setup iphone provides.  follow instructions here:

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for sharing what you learned!

  • Asecondsolution

    This didn’t work for me, and the instruction on Google’s site didn’t either. It still only shows me my main calendar. :(

  • BigT619

    Thanks!  Worked like a charm!!

  • guest

    thank you SOOOOO much, this was seriously bothering me!!

  • Noah Fleming


    Thank you. As a reader of your blog I was surprised to find myself back here when googling for a solution to these calendar issues :-)


  • Dwaldon

    I found this thread awhile ago, and recently needed to dig it back up… still works perfectly! Thanks!

  • Jennifer Cardine

    Thank you!!!

  • Emilyj383

    Thank you.  This was amazing.  I had been getting very discouraged with my brand new iphone now I am so excited to have all the info I need at my fingertips.  Thanks again

  • Sato@Nagasaki

    Thank you so much from Japan.
    I was so puzzled to see all the calendars were OK with my iPad, while the same settings showed only one calendar in iPhone.
    Your post was so helpful. It’s like a bottle of water in the middle of the desert.

  • Cheryl

    Great tutorial!  Thank you!

  • Joe Weber

    Google apps are the best, but the problem is that the iPhone is 10x better than Android, so it was so frustrating having the best phone and the best calendar app but no way to make them play nice together! But after my business partner found your article and got his accounts to sync in perfect harmony, he showed me what he did and I was able to get everything in order for myself in a giffy.

    Many thanks for this detailed article!

  • Doug S.

    Thanks Michael.  You da man!  Yeah, this should have been a lot easier to figure out and not sure why all the google sites said you had to set up gmail via the exchange server when this was even easier

  • Missymv25

    Amazing instructions!  I had to try 3 other sites before finding this one and this was the only one that worked!  Thanks!