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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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • John

    You description of the non-obvious way to do this worked great! Thanks!

  • Jona Comendador

    Hi Mike. Is there a way to delete or hide past appointment invites on Google Calendar when using the iPhone app?

  • Supajoo

    I never write comments but i must say this article really helped. I had just added my gmail account calendar but not all my calendars were available. Only went i went to google calendar sync settings page, all were updated on my phone. So thank you very very much!!

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  • Bangkokmaster

    Michael , that was really useful, thank you. I trawled, unsuccessfully, through a whole host of forums. Google’s were no use. Glad I find yours.

  • stevenperry

    Thank you for taking the time for figuring this out, and then making the effort to post the solution.  Looks like your efforts have helped hundreds of people in need.  Charity comes in many versions, and I salute you for yours!

  • Pallante

    I am bummed I can not use Siri to load appointments in my Google Cal…or can I?

  • Alex

    Thanks man! Yours was the first Google result for “iphone 4 share calendar”, and it was exactly what I was looking for.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I’m so glad to hear that. It’s amazing how much traffic this post continues to get. It also tells you that Apple and Google could do a better job making this a little easier.

  • Kelly

    Worked like a charm with the iPhone 4S. Some little details were different (e.g. I had to click save before I got the “Delete from my iPhone” prompt, but everything was essentially the same.

  • Faithjensen5

    Absolutely fantastic!!  Thank you so much!  I have been struggling with my other calendars not showing on the phone today!  This was absolutely the easiest tutorial to follow to get the calendars to sync properly.  Thank you for posting your knowledge!

  • ColinC

    Man, I should have known you’d have a post on this. 
    I was trying to set it up and it certainly wasn’t intuitive. Thanks for sharing your challenges so we can benefit.

  • Don Van Dyke

    Thank you so much for your instructions for google calendar on iphone! I have several calendars and my wife accesses it from her computer…. so glad to have it set up right! THANK YOU!

  • Deanne


  • Prila

    Yeah! Thanks so much! I was trying to figure out how to do this forever!

  • Sue

    It works on my iPhone 4S! Your instructions were the simplest I found. Thanks!!!

  • Ann Sattley

    Adding this to my evernote in the notebook “how to do stuff”. thanks.

  • Chuck Balsamo

    To do what you’ve suggested, I deleted my google exchange set up… then redid it using gmail set up. It worked as you suggested… and I now have multiple calendars… 


    I lost my contacts, because that option is only available with exchange setup.

    HELP?? :)

    • Chuck Balsamo

      I’m posting another comment so I can follow this thread by email… 

    • Michael Hyatt

      Sorry, Chuck. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to fix that. Have you talked with an Apple Genius?

      • ChuckBalsamo

        Thanks for the fast reply!! Not yet, but I’ve spent days trying to figure this out… can’t believe how many millions of articles are written because google and mac won’t play nice!! lol

        How are you getting contacts to sync on your iPhone? 

        On the one hand I get calendars, and on the other I get contacts. Can’t I have both… it’s 2012. :)

        • Michael Hyatt

          Actually, I don’t sync contacts between Google and my Mac. I only use what is on my Mac. Sorry.

          • ChuckBalsamo

            I got it! Leaving gmail as you suggest in this post… and I’m syncing my contacts (only) through iTunes. 

            The only problem is that updates only occur when iTunes syncs. 

            Can’t believe what I’ve had to go through… would figure that Outlook MAC would find a way to sync with google and iPhone… 

            Thanks and God bless you.

  • James

    Many thanks! Your post is now the one that comes up when people are trying to find out why all their Google calendars don’t sync.

  • guest

    My google calendar isn’t used through a gmail account..just my regular email. Nothing I seem to do is working. I downloaded an icalendar app that’s suuposed to sync it with using the email and password listed in google calendar and that’s not working either. ANy help? I might be taking this phone back and sticking to andriod if i can get this to work!

  • Monique

    Thank you!!

  • Angie

    THANK YOU so very much for sharing this! It has really helped me with syncing my husband’s calendars and my calendars together (several times!). 

  • Mibhali

    Thank You!  This really worked and I appreciated the step by step instructions for someone like me who is not tech savvy.  I did the exchange without success and this was found at a height of frustration – Thanks!

  • Crystalharlow11

    THANK YOU! You just solved a mystery I had given up on long ago with my iPhone! Now all my work calendars are working.

  • Sfer

    These instructions worked perfectly. Thank you

  • Joshuah


  • TheTechGuy

    Is there any way to have invitations show up (the icon on the bottom right) when using google calendar? I haven’t been able to get this to work. 

  • Jon

    I have been struggling with this for a week now.  I have tried multiple approaches, including adding a caldav acct and your solution, but none seem to work.  When I get to step 5 of your directions, there are no gmail calenders displayed.  This has been so frustrating… SHould I just completely erase my google account off the iphone and start over? 

  • Guyko

    Good advice thanks.
    However did you know that you can achieve the same result by changing the Google Sync settings on your desktop? They will apply automatically on the iPhone.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Good to know.

  • Andrea(LilKidThings)

    THANK YOU for taking the time to do this. I have had my iphone4 for a year and never did get this figured out. You saved me!

  • Nfouche

    This was very helpful, thank you!

  • Alisonjones04

    Thank you!!!

  • Vikasperla

    Awesome….this instructions are the best and the easiest I found.  Thank you thank you and again thank you

  • Katakoche

    Thank you!! Have been trying to figure out how to do this for ages.

  • Dannycag

    Great posting! Completely forgot how to sync them onto my phone and this jogged my memory, really useful! Thanks!

  • Bhopali

    Yours was the only SANE method that worked for viewing my google calender on my iPhone ! You saved me from hours of tension. Thanks !

  • Bhopali

    Micheal , May I ask you more questions ?? Could it be pertaining to eNotate device ??

  • Fred

    Thanks so much for this information.  It is exactly what I have been trying to do for months and, as you pointed out, doesn’t seem to be documented anywhere.

  • Buttercup Bus VW Campers

    Fantastic – I was struggling with this on my new iPhone – this resolved it perfectly!

  • Anthem

    AWESOME!!!!!!!!  And thank you!  My calendars – very randomly – disappeared this morning!  And this worked immediately.  

  • Knpatt

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Have 3 calendars to manage and your steps were exactly what I needed to do!!

  • Aholl50

    Great step by step instructions! I had the same exact problem And have had to figure it out a few times by going back and looking around for articles. I have now bookmarked this one so I have an exact ‘recipe’ next time this happens.
    Thank you!

  • Andrehamoui

    It worked! Thank you!

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  • Andrew F. Butters

    So today I noticed that my alternate Google calendars were not syncing to my iPhone. On my phone I went to the page and checked to see that my calendars were selected – the weren’t. So I checked them and saved and expected to see them appear. They didn’t. So I searched The Googles for my problem and came across this article which took me to the Google Calendar Sync Settings page and all my calendars (except the default) were unchecked there too! Checked them all and saved and I’m back in business. So, in summary, thanks for this article.  Now, if you happen to know why those items would have been UNchecked on my behalf (I certainly did not do it) that would be good to know too :)

  • Christian

    Thanks Michael, this works great for me.
    I also tried the extra exchange account mentioned many times on the net but your solution did the trick !
    Regards Christian

  • Nhehemann

    How do you repeat an item added on your iPhone to Google calendar?  I am not seeing any option for repeat.

  • Fatmananji

    I was so frustrated with losing my calendar on my new iPhone but then you solved my problem.  Thank you soooooo much.  God bless you!

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  • Casandra Hutchinson
    • Michael Hyatt

      I didn’t have too much success with this in the past. I haven’t taken time to re-analyze. Perhaps they have improved the documentation.

  • Aquarelinha

    This did not work for me. It did once when I first set it all up but suddenly all calendars disappeared except the default google calendar
    What else can I try? Thx for the help!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I would start over. This has worked for hundreds of people (see comments above). Thanks.