Shared Family Calendar – No More Scheduling Issues!

Shared Family Calendar – No More Scheduling Issues!

Picture a relaxing Sunday morning.  I just woke up and am looking forward to making a nice espresso and reading the morning news, only to be greeted by an impatient wife asking if I was ready to go.  Apparently, I agreed to go somewhere a month ago, and of course I forgot about it until it was time to leave.  After this happened numerous times and it became a bit of an issue for our marriage, I came up with the idea of having a shared family calendar.  

An obvious answer was to tack a calendar up on the kitchen wall, but we found that we (I) needed a more versatile (technical :)) solution that we could access and update any time, anywhere.  I also wanted a calendar that I could access with my phone, since that is one thing that I have with me at all times.  There had to be a way to share calendars on the devices we each carry every day and to be able to add, change, and remove events as well.  Someday, when the kids are a bit older and have their own devices, they'll need to be able to view the calendar as well.  Since our entire family uses Apple products, sharing the built-in calendar via iCloud was the best solution for us.  

As with many things to which we look for a technical solution, there are several options.  Does your entire family use Android devices?  In that case, Google calendars might be the best option.  A mix of both Apple and Android?  Again, Google calendars might be the best choice since they will run on either platform.  It is a good idea to think carefully about a platform and stick with it going forward so you don’t have to move all of your information to a new service.

How to set up calendar sharing:

Apple iOS

  • Open your iOS calendar app
  • Click on “Calendars” at the bottom of the screen
  • Either choose to use an existing calendar, or hit edit and add a new iCloud calendar
  • Click the information button next to the calendar and under the “Shared With:” section, add a person
  • Type in their email address and click "Add"
  • The recipient will receive the invite and can accept it
  • Make sure the user (by clicking the info button by their name) has the permissions you desire
  • Done!

Google Android

  • On a computer (easiest), go to
  • Expand the “My Calendars” section
  • Click on the down arrow to the right of the calendar you wish to share and select “Share this calendar”
  • Add the email address of the person with whom you would like to share
  • Set their permissions
  • Click “Save” – they will now see your calendar in their “Other calendars” section
  • Done!

Taking it one step further

Now that you have setup sharing, how will you access the information?  Sure, the default apps will work, but I’m a huge fan of Fantastical 2 for iOS.  It features rich reminders, an Apple Watch complication, and a nice interface.  Perhaps my favorite feature is the natural language input.  To create an event, you can type something such as, “Meet Jim at O’Donnell’s Pub at 5pm on Tuesday.”  Fantastical takes care of the rest.  You can choose to show that event on your shared family calendar so your significant other knows or you can put it on your private, personal calendar.  If your significant other has notifications turned on, they will be apprised of new events or even changed event details.  Have kids with devices?  Same thing applies.  Fantastical 2 also handles reminders in stride, so you can use it for all of your scheduling needs.  

Now that everyone knows the family schedule, say goodbye to surprises!  Hope this helps to keep your family a little more organized - I've found that every little bit helps!

Posted by The Efficient Dad in Technology, 0 comments