Dear Lifehacker, With two young children and a busy work/social schedule, we rely on a family calendar to organise our time. Problem is, we often forget to transfer information from our phone calendars to the master calendar hanging on the wall.
I'd like to do away with the clunky paper calendar concept altogether, and am wondering if you can recommend a family calendar app where two or more users can share and update a centralised calendar? I have an iPhone and my husband has an Android (plus separate iPads), so it needs to be able to work across different platforms. Thanks, Calendar Girl
For a fool-proof solution, you should get your family to commit to a single calendar system. Trying to sync data from different services invariably leads to missing entries, odd duplications and a lot of unnecessary headaches. With that in mind, your best bet is probably Google Calendar, which boasts cross-platform support and a user-friendly interface. Best of all, it's free.
With Google Calendar, you can easily create a shared group calendar and access it on all of your devices, either by downloading the calendar app from Google Play or using the web interface. Simply select the "Share this calendar" option from the calendar list and then enter the email address of each family member.
You can also select different permission levels for each person — handy if you have bratty kids who are likely to delete events or leave sarcastic comments. More detailed instructions can be found on Google's support page.
Provided that your family remembers to use it, you should have no problems keeping tabs on everybody's schedules with Google Calendar. The important thing is to ensure the program is synced across all your devices so that everybody gets the same updates at the same time. Google provides instructions on how to sync Calendar with a variety of mobile devices — including iPhone or iPad — here. Additional iOS advice can be found in our guide on the topic.
We'd also like to hear from our readers — what's your go-to solution when you need to share online calendars with multiple people and across multiple devices? Share your tips in the comments section below.
Got your own question you want to put to Lifehacker? Send it using our contact form.