Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How long has it been possible to assign iOS calendar colors for Google Calendars?

Our family uses a (free) Google Apps domain to manage our email, calendars, contacts, documents and so on.

For years we've used Google's little known m.google.com configuration to sync multiple calendars to each device (English only). So we all see the Family Calendar, we see our own calendars, I see Emily's calendar, etc. Including various sports teams and organizations we often interact with 10-25 calendars.

It works surprisingly well; certainly better than iCloud/iCal. Except for one really annoying limitation -- color assignment is absurd. I run into color collisions pretty often and I can't fix the OS assigned colors.

I've complained about the problem quite often. I figured there was no chance of a fix.


Today I had to reconfigure my son's phone after unlocking it, and I noticed something weird. There's an Edit button and it lets me assign colors to individual Google Calendars. 


Click Edit, and I get a screen where I can assign colors.

Ooookaaayy, so I'm demented. I knew that. But I have a screen shot from 7/2011 and there's no Edit button there:


So when did the Edit button appear? I'm on iOS 5, not iOS 6.

Well, once I realized what had changed, I learned it came with iOS 5 last October. One friggin' year ago: "Another new option allows you to change the pastel colors of your calendar(s); you can’t pick colors willy-nilly, but you may choose among seven lovely hues."

I knew the calendar had changed; I'd spotted the week view on my own and I knew of the other changes. I just didn't notice the calendar creation/color option (you can't add calendars for Google ActiveSync, but you can for Exchange sync).

So Apple quietly fixed one of my multi-year complaints about iOS. Too quietly.

Am I the only guy that totally missed this? What else have I missed? How come nobody was shouting this fix from the rooftops?

See also:

1 comment:

Martin said...

I have the 'edit' button too but I cannot assign colors directly on the iPhone, i.e., I have to assign colors via the web GUI of Google Calendar.

What's the difference between ActiveSync and Exchange? AFAIK there's ActiveSync to sync mobile devices (well, computers in general) with Microsoft Exchange and other servers. And there's Exchange ActiveSync for push messaging.

I still use WebDAV on my iOS devices to access my Google calendars. Is there any advantage in using ActiveSync? (For Gmail, ActiveSync has some disadvantages in comparison to IMAP.)