Like many others, I was very excited to experience the new iPhone 2.0 software and the related MobileMe service that enables over-the-air synchronization of calendar data and other information. In particular, I was hoping for a fix to a long standing family annoyance — there are 3 of us and we have 3 different schedules. Most of the time we each want to see our own calendar, but occasionally it’s important to see the calendars of other family members at the same time to schedule family events, hand-offs, etc.
MobileMe to the Rescue?
My partner Tracy and I both have original iPhones, and we’ve updated them with the latest 2.0 software. We have several calendars between us, but for simplicity’s sake I’ll talk about 3 of them: Tracy, Gabriel, and Abby. We manage Abby’s calendar as a family and our own calendars individually. However, since iCal’s publish and subscribe features presume a single person “owns” a calendar, to date there has been no way for both Tracy and I to manage the Abby calendar. That’s the “holy grail” of family organization I was hoping for with MobileMe.
Unfortunately, MobileMe does not currently provide us the ability to share calendars editable calendars with each other. In fact, calendar sharing functionality is noticeably lacking in the current implementation of MobileMe.
While searching the web for possible solutions, I came across BusySync, a software add-on to the Mac’s System Preferences that provides the ability to synchronize Apple’s iCal calendars with Google Calendar and it enables multiple people to update the same calendar. It does both of these jobs quite nicely.
What does synchronizing with Google Calendar have to do with the iPhone and MobileMe? Good question. It turns out that it’s part of a rather complex but functional workaround to enable over-the-air synchronization of iCal calendars for iPhone users. If I update an event on Abby’s calendar from my iPhone, here’s what happens:
- Gabriel updates an Abby Calendar event on his iPhone.
- Gabriel’s iPhone syncs over the air to MobileMe.
- Gabriel’s Mac syncs the change from MobileMe to iCal.
- Gabriel’s BusySync syncs the change from iCal to Gabriel’s Google Calendar.
- Gabriel’s Google Calendar syncs the change to Tracy’s Google Calendar.
- Tracy’s BusySync syncs from Tracy’s Google Calendar to her iCal.
- Tracy’s Mac syncs from iCal to her MobileMe account.
- Tracy’s MobileMe account syncs to her iPhone.