Ask LH: How Can I Get My Calendars To Sync Properly?

Ask LH: How Can I Get My Calendars To Sync Properly?

Dear Lifehacker, I’m generally pretty organised (full time work and study makes it a necessity) but this is being hampered by the fact that I can’t get my calendar(s) straight. I create an event on my phone that doesn’t come through on my Mac, my events at work only appear sometimes, and my classes all seem to appear twice! I keep tinkering but I can’t seem to get the various applications (iCal, Google and Outlook, plus feeds for university stuff, FB events, Meetup events and holidays) to play nice with each other. Any advice on making on making it work? Thanks, Confused About Calendars

pictureCalendar picture from Shutterstock

Dear CAC,

So here’s the brutal truth about calendar sync: it often bites. As soon as you start trying to use more than one piece of calendar software, the odds are that you’re going to find stuff going missing, duplicating itself, placing itself in the wrong time zone or otherwise messing you up.

Given that, the most effective solution is to commit to just one calendar system, use that to enter everything and avoid trying to sync data from different services. Yes, it’s ludicrous that what should be a relatively straightforward task is so messed up, but that’s the reality we inhabit right now.

Our App Directory has recommendations for calendar apps for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows and Linux. Pick an app, make it the centre of your planning, and stick with it. Or abandon apps as such, and use a web-based calendar you can view on any device.

Cheers Lifehacker

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      • I’m the founder of synqYa and I can assure you that your data remains private and will NOT be shared with anyone…. free services are not necessarily evil…

        • But what’s SynqYa’s business plan? If I grant that you are not evil, how do I know you’ll still be around in a year after getting hammered with users taking advantage of this now to sync Google Calendar and Outlook? I don’t even see a freemium pricing plan on your website, so I’m not sure how you plan to stay in operation.

  • Sigh if Microsoft got off their butts and put Caldav into you could just use that for everything. But stupid OSX can’t edit

    • If only it were that easy. iCal also has issues with CaldAV. It synchronises, but will randomly change notifications. IME calander synchronising was more standardised before CaldAV.

  • Look on the bright side: You could be locked into using Lotus Notes. Try getting that to sync with anything.

  • Yeah this is a PITA. Mainly since Google don’t produce a desktop app for their Calendar, and I still find their web interface unergomonic and short on features. Hence why I still cling to Outlook purely for its calendar functionality (and use Thunderbird for email).

    It was a great shame that Google binned their Outlook Sync utility as it worked well and used little resources. A clever bit of bait-and-switch by them to get people like me to use their OS and calendar and wean us off Outlook.

    My workaround has been to use CompanionLink. It’s not perfect and has “lost” many of my archived entries, but it does keep Outlook and Google sync’d with all the relevant fields intact. A licence wasn’t cheap (around $50) but was worth it in my eyes.

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