Problem: Apple iCal 3.0.8 Not Showing Shared Google Calendar Delegates

Last week, iCal 3.0.8 running on Mac OSX 10.5.8 stopped importing and sync’ing delegates from shared Google Calendar for 2 of our oldest Macs.  

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a HowTo of anything. Since I’ve dumped Windows almost 3 years ago, and drifted away from Linux just over a year ago, things have been… easy.

So, my entire office is set up for Google Calendar on which we have 10 different calendars to organise the various aspects of the business. All these calendars are imported locally using Apple Mac’s iCal.


So being Apple, things just work; unless, you know, it doesn’t.

Last week, iCal suddenly stopped importing all the shared calendars (sync’ing the delegates) from Google Calendar for 2 of our oldest Macs.  Both these Macs are running Mac OSX 10.5.8 and iCal 3.0.8.

The rest of the users, all with higher OS versions, do not have any problems.

I’ve looked into the various solutions, a few that didn’t work and then, the last solution, which did work.

Didn’t Work: Make sure the OS & Software is Up to Date

This should already be true, but just in case, make sure your operating system and software is as current as you can get.

If you can’t / don’t want to upgrade to the next newest operating system (not even an option for the oldest of our Macs), you should at least have all the latest patches for your current system.

To be fair, this has only ever once solved a problem I’ve had. It didn’t work for this problem.

Didn’t Work: Delete and re-add account

Next thing is to try to delete the Google Calendar account from iCal and re-add it.

For me this is not an issue, as everything we use the calendars for, are sync’ed on Google.

If you save some stuff only locally, then you might want to skip this option as it will delete local data associated with the account too, and that will be gone for good.

Alas, as the heading suggests, this didn’t work to solve this particular problem either.

Didn’t Work: Reformat the Calendar URL

One of the dated posts I found in a forum suggested changing the formatting of the calendar URL slightly.

In iCal 3.0.8 you have to add the user calendar address like so (where is my hypothetical and non-existent user):

The forum post suggested to reformat the URL to like so:

But no luck. It didn’t work.

It Worked! Adding 1 iCal Account for each Google Calendar

There are 2 addresses you can add to iCal to sync your Google Calendar.

The easiest is your account’s address (as specified above), which ads your account as a top level calendar, with all your shared calendars under Delegates. 

A lesser known method is each calendar’s specific address, which looks similar to this:


By adding this a new account and using this calendar specific address, you can get access to each calendar individually.

Here’s how it works (in my experience this only applies to iCal 3.0.8)

1. In Google Calendar, next to the shared calendar, find and click the drop-down triangle that gives you options for, amongst other things, the Calendar Settings.

2. On the settings page you will see a section called Calendar Address with 3 buttons, 1 each for XML, ICAL and HTML. Next to it, in brackets, is the Calendar ID. Copy that long ugly URL.

3. Go back to iCal 3.0.8 and open the iCal Settings ( Shortcut: CMD+, ) and go to Accounts.

4. Add a new account, and fill in your details. Now where it says Account Url, type this and replace with YOUR calendar ID, which you copied in step 2:

Click add

5. You’re done!  In your calendar list you should now have a top level calendar with whatever description you assigned to it.

A calendar added in this way will NOT appear under your iCal account’s delegates.  From forum postings I’ve read, people said they had trouble syncing iCal with an iPhone when the calendars were added like this, but that’s beyond my experience.

I hope this solution was helpful if you also had a problem sync’ing your Google shared calendars with Apple Mac’s iCal 3.0.8.

Let me know your results and if you had a variation on the problem and/or the solution.

Published by Yaku

Yaku is a brewer, baker, and semi-retired trouble maker (semi-retired from trouble-making that is). Although he believes anything is possible, he is nevertheless frequently stupefied by his world and the people in it.

11 thoughts on “Problem: Apple iCal 3.0.8 Not Showing Shared Google Calendar Delegates

  1. You can also go to your Ical preferences, go to accounts, then select the google calendar account, then select delegation to the right of account information. You should see your shared calendars there. Select the ones you want to show up in Ical. Tadaa.

  2. One other issue that I didn’t see mentioned here (which your method may indeed resolve) is that events added to a Google Calendar through iCal on your Mac when said calendar is accessed through the “Delegates” method apparently won’t be editable on an iOS device which syncs to the same Google account via CalDAV (i.e., as a “Gmail” account in iOS). I’m speaking from an August-2012-OS-X-Lion-and-iOS-5 standpoint here; Mountain Lion and/or iOS 6 may be different.

    Once the invitee (uglyurlwithletters& for the delegated calendar “accepts” the event you created in iCal—which basically happens instantaneously—your humble “” account will no longer be able to edit the event details from your mobile device. It’s not very intuitive that way.

    A workaround-workaround for that is (possibly) to change the Google Calendar event property (on so that invitees can modify the event. This option isn’t checked by default for new events, I don’t think, and anyway that gets tedious if you have lots of preëxisting events.

    I didn’t get to follow through with the method in your post, since I ended up shifting all my calendar events to an Outlook Web Access and syncing to iCal using the Exchange protocol (for unrelated reasons). But I’ll definitely be bookmarking these instructions. Thanks!

  3. Thanks for figuring this out. Isn't it great how Google can JUST CHANGE STUFF without help for us poor users!

  4. Thank you very much. I have been looking for a solution and this worked! Thanx again!

  5. Many thanks for your help! After hours of searching, this worked for me. I have all my data back. Very grateful to you for taking the time to write this!

    1. Glad it was helpful to you. It’s good to know I am not the only one suffering these problems. Besides, blogging about it gives me a sure source to reference next time the problem comes up and I can’t remember the solution 🙂

  6. Thanks for your thorough assessment, I was wondering what had happened! I'll try implementing your solution ona couple of the older mac in our office this week. I wonder why this change was instigated! Thanks again

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