Shared Family Calendars

With iCloud, you can create shared family calendars that appear on your Mac and iOS devices. You can add anyone with an iCloud account to the calendar and they can view, edit and add events. This makes it easy for a family to stay organized. You get notifications when someone changes the calendar. You can create many of these calendars for different subjects or different groups of people to share. If someone does not have a Mac or iOS device, it may be easier to use a Google calendar instead, which can still be accessed in the same Calendar apps on Apple devices.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. On today's episode let me show you how to create Shared Family Calendars with iCloud.

iCloud allows you to create calendars that you can then share with others with a separate iCloud account. It is great way for families to keep a calendar with events and appointments and things that they can all see. It is really easy to do.

Everybody has their own iCloud account. All you need to do in the Calendars app on your Mac is create a new calendar in iCloud. Call it what you want so let's call it Family Shared and then click here, the little sharing icon, to set sharing things.

So here you can add the name or email address, the name would come from your Contacts. So you can use the email address to make it simpler of anybody that has an iCloud account. Then add them all in here. They all then will be subscribed to this calendar. They cannot only view it but they can add events as well. This allows a family to put all their different events on there and everybody can view this one calendar then which shows those events.

Not only that but you get notifications when somebody adds events to the calendar. So instead of doing something, say you book a flight for a family vacation, you can add it to the calendar and everybody gets notification that that event has been added and they can view all the details. They don't have to keep bugging you for what is the flight number or when do we leave and things like that.

Not only that but since this is on iCloud of course it is on all their devices. So, for instance, you and your spouse could look at it on your Macs and iPhones and iPads and if your kids have iPhones as well they can view it on the iPhone. So anybody with an iOS device can view and edit this shared calendar.

So you can Control click on the calendar here to get info and add descriptions as well.

There is no reason you can't have multiple calendars. For instance you can have calendars for your family for travel plans or for school schedules. Things like that. You can also have calendars that cover different family members. So for instance you can have one for an extended family. One for only a local family. You can have a calendar that is just for events for your kids say and leaves out the stuff for other family members.

So a lot of different things you can do. You can even ignore alerts if say you decide to create a calendar that doesn't have important events that everybody needs to be notified when they are added.

In addition you can easily add more at anytime by clicking here and just adding their name.

Not only can you do this on Macs and iOS but you can also do this at iCloud.com as well. You can log on. So even if you don't happen to have an Apple device on you you can still check your family shared calendar.

Now this Shared iCloud calendar that I've created is different from the one that you automatically get if you go to System Preferences. Go into iCloud and if you decide to use the family sharing that is a system where you can basically have one credit card and one master account that pays for purchases on other Apple IDs.

This is great for families and does lots of different things. One of the small things it does is create a family calendar that is automatically shared between everybody. You can't remove it. You can Hide it but you can't remove it and it is set.

I don't like using that one in particular because you don't have as much control. For instance you couldn't add a family member that is not part of that paid sharing plan. You also couldn't add other people and add various ones for say school schedules, vacations, or different things like that. So I like creating my own instead of using that default one created when you use Family Sharing.

Now what if somebody in your family doesn't have Apple hardware. They have an android phone or a windows PC. Well they could still access this through iCloud.com. But you may want to go with a cross platform calendar solution instead.

For instance you could just use your gmail account, use a Goggle calendar associated with a gmail account there. You have that automatically. But you can easily add a new calendar and when you add that new calendar you can then share it with people. So it is the same kind of thing. If you want to go and do that I found the easiest way to do that is through the web site.

So you want to go and do that through Goggle calendar and once you've added it then you can go to System Preferences and add your Goggle account as an internet account even if you are not going to use it as Mail, you can have Mail unchecked here so you are not receiving your gmail through the Mail app. You can have Calendars turned on. I'm going to turn on Calendars there. It can be the only thing you have turned on for the account if you wish.

Once you do that and you go to the Calendar app and you see you've got your iCloud calendars and I've got my Goggle calendars including this Family Shared calendar. So it is kind of steps you do first on the web and add people to it and then people can get that on their calendar here in the Calendar app. You can add and edit events here on the Calendar app and they will be reflected on the web and vice versa. It is pretty easy.

If you go to Preferences inside of Calendar you can see you've got your iCloud account and you've got your Goggle account there and you can setup various preferences for it there.

So it works just as well if you use a non iCloud service with a Calendar app and the Calendars apps on your devices. Of course you are going to have to go and add these Goggle calendars as well to your iOS devices by going to the Preferences there and adding that Goggle account.

Comments: 8 Responses to “Shared Family Calendars”

    Crosby Smith
    2/26/15 @ 9:58 am

    Great video. I’ve been using shared calendars for several years. I keep personal events in my personal calendar, family social events in our shared calendar, and when my daughter was planning her wedding, we shared a Wedding Calendar. The events that are added show up automatically with others sharing the shared calendar. Its great !

    Robyn
    2/26/15 @ 1:28 pm

    Gary this was a fantastic tutorial – thanks.

    nick
    2/26/15 @ 7:30 pm

    hi Gary
    I had a Family calendar already showing and I suspect that I might have created inadvertently when I set up my iCloud account. I turned it off the iCloud settings but now when I try and create a new calendar within the app, the option of creating a new calendar is not showing up, the menu only expands as far as File>New Calendar and that’s it so there are no options showing up in the menu.
    Hope this makes sense
    any suggestions?
    thx
    nick

      2/26/15 @ 7:42 pm

      That was probably the default “Family” calendar I was talking about. But if you turned off “Calendar” in your iCloud settings then you won’t be able to create any iCloud calendars at all, or view the ones you currently have. So turn that back on and create your new calendar(s).

    crystal
    2/28/15 @ 10:42 am

    looking for a way to sync family calendars AND contacts. (due to PG on iOS devices/games) we use 1apple id/1 iCloud (the teen’s iCloud notes, bookmarks, books turned off, which disables syncing those from her iphone to her new macbook. playlists created on my iMac to her iPhone imports only some songs into her mac?) family share PG is limited. kids don’t need iCloud icon/download access and hiding is time consuming. any suggestions for better syncs? :)

      2/28/15 @ 10:45 am

      You should use iCloud account for one person. Anything else will cause problems. Once you have that taken care of, use the new Family Sharing option in iCloud to put yourself in charge of the kids’ accounts for purchases. Then use the Family calendar. There is no way to have a shared Contacts account, but that should be a minor issue compared to the major problems you get with sharing one iCloud account across multiple people. Just export or send the contacts that your kids need to them. You probably don’t want them having all of your contacts anyway.

    Ben
    2/28/15 @ 3:18 pm

    Hi there, I find that the inclusion of google calendar via your gmail account a bit misleading. In other words – You can’t really share your google calendar to anyone else unless you give them your google calendar credentials, really. A better way of sharing your google calendar would be through a subscription of a public calendar in google through a webcal – link. The downside of this is that the person subscribing your public google calendar can’t make changes to it.

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