LazyWeb Request for Mac Geeks: How Are You Syncing iCal and Google Calendar?

I expect there’s a reader out there who’s already solved this problem, so I thought I’d ask. I’ve never used iCal. I’ve been using Google Calendar for Capulet and personal stuff for a few years. I’m quite happy with it, and it’s great for publishing shared calendars, as in “these are the weeks you can come visit us in Malta”.

I was reminded about iCal because somebody sent me an iCal request the other day, and I didn’t really know what to do with it. Subsequently, Google announced support for synching with Outlook. It occurred to me that if there was a cheap and easy way to synch iCal and Google Calendar, I’d give it a try.

I found Spanning Sync, which promises to do the trick. After searching vainly for a ‘Buy’ button on the home page, I determined that it costs US $65. That’s a bit steep for experimenting with a problem I don’t really have.

Note that I’d need to synch both ways. I know I can subscribe to a feed for Google Calendar, but that’s insufficient for this scenario.

Has anybody else confronted and defeated this particular syncing issue?


  1. I second BusySync. I’m using the beta right now and it works flawlessly. I find it faster and less error prone than Spanning Sync. Also, a heck of a lot cheaper.

  2. This probably won’t work for most people. I came across a magical triad of software that got things working enough for me. It was mostly by accident and definitely isn’t perfect. I’m no longer using this system as I’ve got a new gig and we’re not using Exchange.

    At my previous gig, I had a mac, a blackberry and an Exchange account.

    I used with IMAP to check my email. It was still an Exchange account, so any calendar request was intercepted by Exchange and put into my Exchange calendar.

    My Blackberry then synced itself against the Exchange calendar.

    There has been a blackberry to Google Calendar sync app since about December. That then synced my Exchange calendar to Google calendar.

    From there, I used the RSS feeds from Google Calendar to sync to iCal.

  3. Thanks to everybody for the suggestions. I’m going to give BusySync a try.

    John: I’ve learned to fear anything with ‘Sourceforge’ in the URL. It’s come to mean “free, but time-intensive and often frustrating”.

  4. Darren — This is late, but better late than never. I just thought I’d put in a vote for Spanning Synch. I’ve been using it for about 6 months and it’s worked flawlessly. No problems that I’m aware of. It seems to keep everything in synch between Google and my three Macs. I haven’t tried busymac but if that doesn’t work for you, I’d say give Spanning Synch a try. So far, I’ve gotten what I paid for.

  5. I can’t believe no one has figured this out yet. I’m assuming your talking about gmail calendar. If so, all you have to do in order to sync it with iCal:

    Open your google calendar.
    Under “My Calendars” click the drop down arrow and choose “Calendar Settings”
    Scroll down to “Private Address” and click the iCal button. That gives you a URL, copy it.
    Open iCal and from the “Calendar” menu click “Subscribe”. Paste in that URL you copied and your good to go.
    You can also specify how often it syncs and such. No additional apps necessary.

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