Friday, August 23, 2013

Google's Calendar Sync with Mountain Lion through Yosemite is a flaming mess

[This is unchanged in Yosemite and I suspect is also true of El Capitan.]

This is what Mountain Lion shows as my Calendars as of August 2013 after standard setup against my Gmail account:


The accounts I see under "Google" are the set of Calendars my Gmail account has access too that are also checked in the web page that controls Google CalDAV access for iOS Calendar.app

The Delegate list is what appears based on my selections in Calendar:Preferences:Accounts:Delegation, where options include ALL calendars known to Google, not just those selected in

If I check all of the calendars in (Mac) I'll get duplicate entries. If I disable "delegation", which appears to be Google's undocumented recommendation I get a neat list, but any changes I make in do not appear in Google Calendar (sync is broken, or, if you prefer, it's "one-way" from Google to

If I uncheck Calendars under the 'Google' tree in Mountain Lion "Calendar List" and just use the Delegates sync is more-or-less bidirectional (not broken). That's what I'm doing for now.

I once thought Google was responsible for this mess, but given Apple’s software bungling over the past 4-5 years I think it’s more likely their issue.


Martin said...

Apple is most likely to blame since BusyCal shows that an OS X app can sync with Google Calendar without more than the usual issues in the software business. Apple probably simply does not care enough, especially now with iCloud.

I have never used Google Calendar with iCal (and Calendar app) on OS X exactly because of the issues you describe, i.e., they do not look new to me.

By the way, what is the state of calendar sharing (including access and some level of configuration) in the iCloud universe?

A major advantage of BusyCal, by the way, are calendar groups. I created groups for all calendars being shared with me and can enable/disable them when I need/don't need them so see. I wish I could use this feature on iOS …

Dan Swift said...

Years ago I tried using iCal with Google and I also tried Thunderbird (with Lightning) with Google. I encountered all kinds of syncing problems with either approach.

Ultimately, I settled on using Google directly. The syncing to my touch is fine and settling on a non-local service worked for me because if my internet connection is down, I'm not going to be doing much anyway ... worst case scenario, my touch will push calendar changes back to Google.

John Pell said...

I have my "Google list" set to include (and sync to my iPhone/iPad/iCal) only calendars which represent my own time. Then, I turn on delegate calendars for calendars which are one way or another not "my" time, like my school's academic calendar, my wife's calendar, &c. I use BusyCal on my Mac, and Calendars (by readdle) on my iDevices.

The result is that any app that naively uses the system-configured calendar only sees "my" events. For example, Evernote (on Mac or iOS) automagically names notes based on where and what I'm doing, as best as it can guess based on my calendar and location services. But, my "real" calendar app knows about and sees all events.

It's the best I've come up with for dealing with the broken state of calendars seemingly across all modern platforms. (Don't get me started on contacts.)

John Gordon said...

With Mountain Lion 10.8.5 I think the regular calendar sync is working; I turned off my delegates.

Also, checkout Calendar 5 for iOS -- very impressive.