When Exchange support was added in the iPhone 2.0 software last summer, turning on Exhange Syncing for Contacts or Calendars was an exclusive action. Once you turned on Exchange Calendars you could no longer sync your calendars on your iPhone with your computer directly. It appears that in the iPhone 3.0 that this is no longer the case. I upgraded to the beta of 3.0 last night and when I attempted to setup Google Syncing again with my calendars, I got the screen on the right.
Previously, doing this action would prompt me that all existing calendars on the iPhone would be deleted, now it asks what to do with the calendars already on the iPhone with an option to keep them intact. This indicates that Apple is planning on removing the limitation of supporting either Exchange OR synced content but not both.
Unfortunately iTunes seems to not know what to do with this yet, and if I don’t delete the synced calendars, iTunes is not able to do anything with them.
Also unfortunate is that the iPhone will still only support 1 exchange account, an attempt to add a second Exchange Account brings up the familiar “Only one Exchange ActiveSync account can be configured.” message. While most business users will only have one Exchange account to sign into, Google’s recent move into adding ActiveSync support to Google Calendar and Google Contacts means that at least some of those business users with business accounts on their company Exchange servers may want to setup their personal Google Calendar and Contacts as well, and they’ll be out of luck.
This is still good news, however, for anyone who needs their corporate calendars and contacts but has their own calendars and contacts on their computer as well that they would like to sync. Kudos to Apple for this non-touted but useful feature.
Back in August, I posted a how-to on keeping your iPhone (or iPhone 3G) and Mac in sync with Google Calendar all the time over the air, it basically required using both Mobile Me and Spanning Sync with an Always On Mac to make sure your iPhone was kept in constant sync with both your Mac and Google Calendar.
At the time, it was the only solution available to make this possible, now however, Google has made it all so much easier, and cut out all of the cost, in fact, I’m sure Apple is not too pleased about how Google has made it possible to have two way over-the-air syncing with iPhones for free, thus making their $99/year Mobile Me Service all but unnecessary to most people.
Without further ado, here is how to keep your Mac (which no longer needs to stay online 24/7), your iPhone, and Google Calendar all in sync for Free.
I love Google Apps for Domains, I use it for all of my domains, I’ve even setup holodeck3.com with the Partner edition so that my users can get @holodeck3.com email accounts and services through them. Google does a lot, for free, and they do it well. I’m also a Mac an an iPhone user. I am never without my iPhone, and only rarely without my laptop.
Google has, over time gotten a lot better at providing me with services I need in order to keep my world more in sync. I was glad to be in the early adoption crowd of users for IMAP on GMail, and the first person among my group of friends to get IMAP support on my Google Apps for Domains accounts. This has helped a lot as my iPhone is now what I use for email when I’m away from my laptop, and in fact I find myself not going to the computer quite as often when I’m “off duty” because of it.
I love Google Calendar and prefer to have my calendar events in Google as opposed to simply a local Calendar on my computer or phone, however when I am at my computer, using iCal is so much easier then using Google Calendar (and having to keep yet another browser window open), and then of course there’s the little matter of keeping my calendar on the iPhone so I have my events easily at hand. Google has long allowed you to subscribe to a Google Calendar using iCal’s ics format, but this was one way, only allowing you to read your Google calendar in iCal, not make changes to it. Until very recently the best way to keep iCal in sync with Google Calendar is to use Spanning Sync, a $25 program (use this link and you can get $5 off!), that keeps your calendar in iCal in sync both ways with your calendar on Google. Continue reading “Keeping in Step, how to Sync your iPhone’s Calendar with Google Calendar”