iPhone How-To: Synchronizing Your Google Calendar

The iPhone is indeed a wonderful little device and, for some of us, a game-changer in terms of managing our digital lives from the palm of our hands. There are, however, some essential features that Apple neglected to implement.

Regular GMail and Google Calendar users will have noticed the glaring lack of a Calendar synchronization option, making the native iPhone calendar app somewhat less useful.
All is not lost though! Enter NuevaSync, a web-service that enables two-way synchronization between your Google Calendar and the iPhone Calendar app. NuevaSync is secure, easy to use and painless to set-up…and most notably, it’s totally free.
So, it’s time to grab your gear and follow this ten minute guide to setting up NuevaSync. You’ll need your computer, a Google Account and your iPhone, with the latest firmware update. And by the way, iPod touch users can also get in on the syncing fun.

TAB Disclaimer: Before we begin, it’s worth noting that NuevaSync is still in beta, so if it all goes a little Steve-Jobs-circa-1985 (i.e. everything goes wrong and stops working), it’s not our fault. Nevertheless, the service has worked smoothly for us since sign-up and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

  1. To start, you’ll need to create a fresh account on NuevaSync. Before you make the account, plug your touch or iPhone in, boot up iTunes and run a quick sync to make sure you’re all backed up (it’s good practice and will make you feel all warm inside). While the device is backing up, go create your NuevaSync account on this page.
  2. Now that you’ve got a new account, visit the configuration page. You’ll notice that there are four options on this page — Calendar, Contacts, E-mail, Tasks. We’re just syncing our Google Calendar today, so ignore the others. It’s also worth noting that the clever folks at NuevaSync still haven’t implemented Mail sync for the iPhone/touch, this feature is in development though.
  3. Click change to the right of Calendar and, on the resulting page, click the Google button then click the Change button. By doing this, we’re basically telling NuevaSync that we’d like to sync our Google Calendar with their service. NuevaSync will tell you that your changes have been saved. Clicking through to the next page will take you through the service setup options. When prompted for your Google Account ID, enter your GMail address and then click Request Account Access. If you’re not logged in to your Google Account, you’ll be sent to the standard Google log-in screen before continuing.
  4. Once you’re logged in, you’ll be presented with the standard Google Access Request page. If you’re super-security conscious, read the blurb, once you’re all done, click Grant Access. This tells Google that you’re happy for them to send your Calendar info to NuevaSync (and vice-versa). Back on the Status and Setup page, you’ll see that there’s a big red light next to Calendar — this is a good thing, you’re halfway home and it’s time to grab your iPhone.
  5. We’re now going to add NuevaSync as an account on your iPhone. NuevaSync works using the Exchange options on your iPhone. Open up Settings on your iPhone, then go through to the Mail, Contacts, Calendars page. Select Add Account and then tap Microsoft Exchange.
  6. For your e-mail address, enter the same one you used for your NuevaSync registration. NuevaSync has mentioned that your device might warn about a certificate being invalid. This isn’t NuevaSync’s certificate, so it’s no reason to be concerned. It’s actually Apple’s auto-config feature trying to guess the appropriate server name based on your info. For your Username and Password, enter your NuevaSync account details. Finally, enter a Description. For instance I use, “Olly’s Calendar”. Now tap Next.
  7. You should see a quick message stating Verifying Exchange account information. Incidentally, we got an error message doing this the first time and the service still worked. If that happens and it all goes a little pear-shaped, don’t worry, there are some trouble-shooting tips at the end of this guide.
  8. When the Exchange account verification process has finished, a new field will pop-up called Server. Enter www.nuevasync.com and then tap Next. On the resulting page, turn off Mail and Contacts — we only want to sync the calendar today. Then just tap Save and we’re almost done.
  9. The final step is to turn off Time Zone Support. So back on the Mail, Contacts, Calendars settings page, scroll to the bottom and then tap Time Zone Support. Then switch Time Zone Support to Off and exit.
  10. We’re all done! You’ll want to test and make sure that everything works — make sure your WiFi or 3G connection is enabled and then open the Calendar App on your iPhone or touch. It should auto-update and, if you’ve got stuff in your Google Calendar, you should see it here.  Try adding something to your Calendar and then go check if it appears on your computer’s Google Calendar (and vice-versa too, so add something to your Google Calendar and then go open the Calendar app to see if it appears there).

If everything is working, it’s time to celebrate. Organise a party to celebrate how wonderful NuevaSync is, add said party to your Google Calendar schedule and then watch it magically synchronise with your iPhone.

Troubleshooting Tips

Maybe there was a problem in the setup process or maybe everything ran smoothly but it’s just not working. Whatever the issue, here are a few tips to ensure you get yourself synchronised:

  1. Make sure you’re only syncing Calendar. Remember that Mail doesn’t work. You can try Contacts, but we haven’t given that a go yet (and this guide only covers Google Calendar synchronization).
  2. NuevaSync have a well-written Troubleshooting page. Visit it here and see if that solves your problem.
  3. If all else fails, drop NuevaSync an e-mail. They’re a helpful bunch, very friendly and surprisingly prompt: [email protected]