Syncing Contacts and Calendars to an iPhone/iPad without MobileMe
MobileMe with it’s subscription based service is a turn-off for most people. What most really need is a free cloud-based contacts and calendar sync. With tools like Google Sync and Yahoo! for iPhone a cloud-based solid sync is available for everyone.
As far as calendar syncing goes, Google Calendar is a pretty good candidate. The only problem Google has is that you need to create a separate delegate calendar for each calendar (in iCal!).
I would recommend using a, non-free, tool like BusyCal instead, or decide to edit your calendars only in your browser. This way it is much easier, and cleaner, to get your calendars to Google’s servers.
Once all calendars are syncing with Google you can enable Google Exchange for Calendars(!).
(Personal experience: I tried using Google for my contacts as well, but sometimes they change “something” and after the next sync a couple of fields are screwed up. Like “home phone” becomes “other”, so I decided to turn off contacts syncing and switched to Yahoo! for contacts.)
To finally allow all calendars to show up in iCal on your iPhone. You need to enable each of them in your sync preferences.
Google tries to be smart here, they track your location and give you a page that’s localized to your language. I see a page that says “This page is not available for your device” (in German). In that case tap on “Change language” and then choose “English”.
For Contacts I switched to Yahoo! Recently. Their contacts sync seems to be way more stable than Google’s. Setup is straight forward.
- Enable Yahoo! Contacts Sync in Address Book. (Preferences → Yahoo!)
- Open Settings → Mail, Contacts, Calendars on iPhone/iPad.
- Add a new account.
- Follow Yahoo!’s instructions. (Link again)
Contacts should now be syncing fine.
Two more things
You might want to delete all contact and calendar information that was on your iPhone. This can be done in iTunes or directly on your phone.
You also might want to view in cloud contacts and calendars in Calendar/Address Book only. Open either Calendar/Address Book and tap in the upper left corner. The menu that appears should be self explaining.