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How to sync Outlook Calendar to your iPhone over wireless / 3G

February 11, 2009


Technology Vicky Lalwani 40 Comments

 

When I got my iPhone, one of the few disadvantages was wireless or Bluetooth sync for my Outlook calendar items. Unlike my previous N95, I have to physically connect my iPhone via cable to get iTunes to sync with Outlook – what a pain!

But now, Google has solved this problem. You will need a Google Calendar account for this to work and my below instructions are for PC only. The setup will look like so:

iphone-google-calendar-sync

First you need to download Google Calendar Sync – go here http://www.google.com/support/calendar/bin/answer.py?answer=98563 and click on the ‘download’ link.

Install the application (you will have to close Microsoft Outlook) and then follow the setup prompts. Enter your username and password to your Google Calendar account and setup a interval period for when the sync runs again – mine is set to 30 mins. You will also need to choose the Sync method i.e. 2 way (updates both Google & Outlook), or 1 way to update either Outlook only or Google only. I currently have mine as 1 way (Outlook to Google).

On installation the Sync will run once – so all your calendar items should get transferred over to Google Calendar in a few minutes.

Now, plug your iPhone into your computer and make a backup on iTunes. I repeat – MAKE A BACKUP!! Don’t email me back saying you lost all your stuff, tough! The next process will delete all your calendar items on your iPhone. So I suggest doing a sync to copy all your iPhone calendar items into Outlook (via iTunes).

Once the back up is complete, take your iPhone off the laptop and click on Settings. Then open “Mail, Contact, Calendars”. Then click “Add Account” and select Microsoft Exchange as the option. Leave the Domain blank and in the Email field, enter your Google Calendar username followed by the password. Click ‘Next’ on the top right corner. It will attempt to connect to a server, but won’t find one. So the next screen will ask you to enter the Server information. Put in “m.google.com” (without quotes) and click “Next” again. Currently this setup only supports Calendar and Contacts (NOT EMAIL – yet). I only use calendars, so I selected Calendar ‘On’ and the rest ‘Off’.

You will get two pop confirmation requests, stating that your calendar will be wiped out – click Sync on both requests and wait a few minutes. Open up Calendar on your iPhone, and you will start see your Outlook items (after Outlook’s first sync to Google Calendar).

So now if a meeting is cancelled or moved around on my Outlook, within a few minutes it is pushed to my iPhone. And note I use the word “Push” – that’s because Google has used Microsoft’s ActiveSync technology to enable this set up. So your iPhone only connects to get new Calendar data when one is available – saving data transfer.

*UPDATE* – I changed my setting to use FETCH instead of PUSH, as PUSH drained a lot battery on my iPhone. Fetch works just as good and I don’t need to charge my iPhone twice a day.

I am yet to see what happens when a new meeting request is sent – and how it will affect my calendar if I accept the invitation via the iPhone (probably won’t work, as I have a 1 way sync set up).

Going forward, I hope Google allows emails to start working in this fashion, as at the moment you have to Fetch it on a periodic basis.

So, has this worked for you as it has for me? Share your experience below.

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40 Comments
    Juan Mar 05, 2009

    It works great! thanks!

    Not only for creating new events, but also for deleting them either in the iphone or in outlook

    fantastic, goodbye to cable conections and dayly syncronization through itunes

    Reply
    Juan Mar 05, 2009

    but you canot accept invitations from your iphone. even with 2 way sync.

    Reply
    Tim Apr 20, 2009

    works sensationally thanks very much

    Tim

    Reply
    JB Apr 22, 2009

    Just perfect, works great ! Thank you !

    JB

    Reply
    RK Jul 06, 2009

    Thanks a lot Vicky. This is really great.

    Reply
    Danny Dec 28, 2009

    I gave up on synchronizing my Outlook calendar to my iPhone. (It was too much of a pain to plug it into my desktop every day, or multiple times a day)until i found this post. I am getting great use out of this function. Thank you Vicki! It is very convenient to have all my appointments accessible without having to plug my phone into my desktop!
    Now I’m spoiled. I want to be able to add a second calendar to Outlook and be able to access both via iPhone.

    Reply
    Bijou Anwer Jan 01, 2010

    Thanks so much ! Although I like the features of iPhone, I was about to throw it away due to this critical issue of Outlook Calendar ato-sync. Thanks again my friend, good work !

    Reply
    Danny Jan 11, 2010

    any chance of adding a second calendar to Outlook and be able to access both via iPhone?

    Reply
    A Jan 20, 2010

    Hi,

    Thanks for posting this information. This is very helpful. I am able to sync my calendar but its not syncing my contacts.

    Are you guys able to sync your contacts using the above method?

    Best,
    A.

    Reply
    Kathryn Jan 27, 2010

    A

    You can synch your contacts if you enable that option during the account setup for gmail on your iphone. I did and it works like a charm.

    Reply
    Doug Feb 11, 2010

    Will this work if you don’t have an exchange server?

    Reply
    Vicky Lalwani Feb 24, 2010

    Hi Doug,

    Yes, as long as Outlook is running on your desktop, and you have the Google Sync application installed, it will still work.

    VL

    Reply
    Krystyna Mar 04, 2010

    Hi Vicky,

    That’s a nice guide, the only problem for me is I’m already syncing mail from my work Microsoft Exchange account and iPhone won’t allow more than one MS Exchange account to be set up. Any advice? I’m sure I’m not the only person around who does that…

    Reply
      Vicky Lalwani Mar 05, 2010

      Hi Krystyna,

      In this article you don’t actually setup a MS Exchange calendar on your iPhone. Just a Gmail calendar. This is because the article explains how to sync from Exchange to Google Calendar, and then view the Google Calendar on your iPhone.

      If you want multiple calendars, you can type in the location to the ICS file and have iPhone show you your appointments for that calendar.

      Let me know if we can help further.

      VL

      Reply
    Kyra Mar 10, 2010

    Hi Vicky –

    I was so pleased to find this article after buying my iPhone yesterday and realizing that I could not sync my Outlook calendar from work directly to it. But, I’m still having problems.

    So, first I set up a google account (using a yahoo acct, if that makes sense). And was able to successfully sync my Outlook calendar off my work computer to the Google calendar. Then I went to my iPhone and follwed the instructions above to set up a new Exchange acct. (I got the “unable to verify certificate from yahoo.com” message but just clicked on “accept). I put in m.google.com as the server and made it through to the page where I select which info I want to sync. I only need to sync my calendars right now so that is the only item I left “on”. Then I clicked “done”.

    I now see that email address listed (along with all of my other accounts) with “calendars” underneath. However, when I go back to my home screen and click on the calendar icon, there is nothing there indicating the sync didn’t work. What am I doing wrong?? FYI – the “fetch new data” setting is set to “push” if that makes a difference.

    Sorry for the lengthy note but I am desperate to get this to work!

    Thanks!

    Reply
    Kyra Mar 11, 2010

    Vicky – Update… After sending my comment yesterday, I ended up finding another solution online that suggested setting up an account using the “other” function (instead of exchange as you discuss) and then setting it up as a CalDAV account to http://www.google.com. To my pleasure, this worked and pulled all my info to my iPhone when I clicked on the standard calendar icon. Funny thing is, once I did that, I also could then see the calendar I pulled through previously through the Exchange. Of course, this duplicated the 2 calendars so I deleted the one I set up through exchange. Not sure why it wouldn’t sync up before. Anyway, thanks for the tips from the start!

    Reply
    Frank Oct 19, 2010

    Thank you for this exellent explanation. It was very usefull

    Reply
    Richard Nov 19, 2010

    I used this process and it works for the calendar. Will it work the same for Contacts?

    Reply
    Looney Jan 07, 2011

    Hi Vicky!
    Thanks a lot for the guide. Please, could you explain little more detaily how to share multiple calendars ? I didnt understand the thing with the ICS file.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    Andrew C Jan 25, 2011

    Hi there,
    Great advice on the Outlook Calendar Iphone sync, however, my Iphone shows the calendar entries twice. Any idea where Imay have gone wrong ?

    Thanks again
    Andrew C

    Reply
    Sanket Mar 05, 2011

    I followed your process and currently on my iphone I do not see all the meetings which are in my outlook calender. I see some but not all and on the laptop google sync says 100% synchronization is done…

    Any help is much appreciated.

    Reply
    Keith May 24, 2011

    Will this work with outlook 2002?

    Reply
    Patrick K Jul 24, 2011

    Fantastic,
    Thank you so much for sharing this infomation.
    I was certain that there had to be a way, but sorting the usefull info from the duff can be so difficult.
    Works exactly as it should.
    Thank you again.

    Reply
    Sherry Sep 14, 2011

    Up until a couple of months ago I could sync my outlook calendar to my iPhone and the event reminders would pop up on my iPhone. Now the events stopped popping up in the iPhone. Any suggestions ad to why this happened?

    Reply
    Guest Oct 17, 2011

    Great, clearly written, accurate article but just too many steps for the average person. For someone who really needs it, it is workable solution. Also, there are too many issues that come up like losing data, data duplication, installations on clients pcs, etc. etc. Waiting for a true sync solution to come out and not work arounds.

    Reply
    darrin Oct 19, 2011

    Good Day,
    I followed the steps but my outlook is not showing up in my google calendar, so it is not getting pushed out to my iPad

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks,
    D

    Reply
    shaun davis Nov 23, 2011

    This is the set up I used but it has a very annoying drawback. Your Outlook trash gets filled with old deleted appointments. Every time you sync it adds all the past appointments (even from over a year ago) syncs them and deletes them… so every day I end up with literally 1,000′s of old appointments in my trash.

    Not a great thing if you are looking for that email you just deleted in error!!!

    Reply
    Charity Dec 02, 2011

    I have followed the instructions and my calendar did sync. However, I keep getting this error message that my Password is Incorrect and I need to enter the password for the Exchange account but when I enter my password it doesn’t work. Any suggestions?

    Thanks,

    Charity

    Reply
    Glenn Jan 04, 2012

    Quick question – does this workaround actually download calendar changes from Outlook to my iPhone calendar or am I just downloading the Google calendar app and using it to have both calendar’s sync?

    Reply
    Steve Jan 05, 2012

    My problem is work calendar is exchange. I have it on the phone but have not found a way
    To get it on my laptop so I can see both personal and work appointments.
    How can I get it all merged from phone to home laptop.
    Google calendar just has home entries.

    Reply
    Jared Mar 27, 2012

    Even 3 Years later, This still works and works great!

    Reply
    Kenan May 25, 2012

    Sir you are a genious. A great solution. Works like a charm.

    Reply
    Riges May 27, 2012

    hi – I didn’t get this step “You will get two pop confirmation requests, stating that your calendar will be wiped out – click Sync on both requests and wait a few minutes.”

    I do recall getting some notice the first time I tried this and I think I selected delete all calendar entries. I’m not concerned about historical calendar entries but I just need my iphone to sync with outlook over the web. It’s not happening. I’ve been using macs for the last 8 years and I’ve been given a windows pc for the new role –

    Can someone help? Please :)

    Reply
    Joe Jun 27, 2012

    This really did work perfectly – thank you SO much for sharing!

    Reply
    Shawn Crittenden Sep 14, 2012

    Yet again; Something Apple, SHOULD HAVE DONE!
    Thanks Vicky.

    Reply
    George Jan 17, 2013

    Even after 5 years , this is perfect!
    Im facing a new problem of having double events on my phone and not PC.
    Displaying I cloud and gmail calanders..
    Anyone can help?

    Reply
    Mo Feb 15, 2013

    Google no longer “supports” this outlook calendar sync…. BUMMER. Can anyone recommend a good 3rd party app to sync my outlook calendar to my iphone? thanks.

    Reply
    James May 02, 2013

    do you think this is better than icloud? and if so why?

    Reply
    Faustino Jul 14, 2013

    Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your
    article seem to be running off the screen in Internet
    explorer. I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know.

    The design and style look great though! Hope you get the issue fixed soon.
    Many thanks

    Reply
      Vicky Lalwani Jul 17, 2013

      Thanks Faustino, I’ve updated the CSS – hope this is fixed now.

      Reply

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