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Do you check your calendars on more than one device? Maybe you track different events through Apple Calendars, Google Calendars and Facebook? Want to be able to view the whole lot on your iPhone without worrying whether or not everything is up to date? Of course you do. Luckily it’s not too difficult to set up and you can start reaping the benefits right away.
Sync or swim?
Those treading technological water may be familiar with the old fashioned (circa 2010) method of syncing the calendars on your computer with the calendars on your iPhone or iPad. Simply plug in the device, open iTunes and go to Settings > Info > Sync Calendars. This technique is all well and good – and will still work for people who prefer a manual sync – but it means that your calendars are never up-to-the-minute and will only be updated when you make the effort to sync your whole device.
If this approach sounds fine, then that’s it! Stop reading – there’s nothing more to it. However, for anyone who would prefer a more automated, ‘live’ approach to handling multiple calendars, dive on in.
Setting up iCloud
Although multiple third party calendar apps exist on iOS, we’re going to focus on setting everything up for use with Apple’s own calendar client, the aptly named Calendars. The fact that this app is native to iOS means it is easy integrated with other Apple services: namely iCloud. Storing your calendars on iCloud means that all your devices – iPhone, iPad, MacBook etc – can periodically check for updates and download the latest events.
If you haven’t already configured iCloud on your device, open the Settings app, select iCloud and then enter your Apple ID details. Make sure you have iCloud set up and logged into the same account on all the devices you want to share data between. The process is pretty much the same on Macs (Settings > iCloud).
From the iCloud screen you will see a list of apps that can take advantage of the service. You can pick and choose whichever types of data you would like synced between devices, but for our purposes today make sure that Calendars is switched on from this screen.
Third party calendars
If you use other calendars, such as Google or Yahoo’s offerings, you can sync these with the iOS Calendars app too. Open Settings and tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars. Under the Accounts subheading will be a list of any accounts already configured – for example, if you already use Gmail with the Mail app you can simple tap on Gmail and then turn on Calendars sync.
Otherwise, tap Add Account and follow the instructions to set up another type of account.
As well as more conventional appointments, you can also sync Calendars with Facebook, meaning you can be notified of upcoming social events and friend’s birthdays.
To set up Facebook sync, first make sure you have the official Facebook app downloaded. Once you’re signed in on the app, go to Settings and tap Facebook. Under the heading ‘allow these apps to use your account’ make sure Calendars is turned on.
The previous steps should set up your Calendars app to always update itself with the latest information from all your calendars. But what if you don’t want to know about every single detail when you’re at home with your iPad, or you want to use your company iPhone just for work-related entries?
Open Calendars and tap, well, Calendars at the bottom of the screen. This will show a list of all your synced services along with the individual calendars – work, home, etc – attributed to each one. Tap the calendars you don’t need updated to turn them off.
Voila! Follow these steps on all necessary devices and you’re now set up to create events on one device and rest assured that you will be able to access them later from another.
Further reading: if Apple’s Calendars app isn’t for you, read our thoughts on the official Google Calendar app for iOS