How to share iCloud calendars

By , Feb 14, 2016

iOS 9 Calendar teaser 001

Apple’s Calendar application for the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Mac and iCloud.com makes it simple to share events and to-dos with select people, or let anyone with a link subscribe to a read-only calendar.

For example, you could share a “To Do” calendar with your significant other, create a calendar for your entire family so every member can put errands on it, invite your wife to a shared “Kids” calendar to keep parents in the loop about school activities and more.

Not only do shared calendars increase your productivity in the workplace, they help those who use them become more organized in everyday life. You can assign edit privileges to invitees, adjust how participants access the calendar and more.

Invitees have a myriad of options at their disposal to view shared calendars, including the iCloud Calendar web app, the stock Calendar app on the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac or Microsoft Outlook on a Windows computer.

In this tutorial, you will learn how to share a calendar privately or publicly on iOS, OS X and iCloud.com, add or remove participants, change edit privileges, adjust calendar notifications and more.

About calendar sharing

For the purposes of this tutorial, we’re going to assume that you want to share calendars with iCloud-enabled friends and family. To create an iCloud calendar that you’ll be sharing with other people, launch Apple’s Calendars app on your iOS device, tap Edit, then tap Add Calendar in the iCloud section.

You can also share an Exchange or CalDAV calendar with co-workers, but this option is limited to people who use the same calendar service as you and isn’t covered here.

How to share a calendar privately with other people

You can share a calendar privately with other iCloud users, who must accept your invitation by clicking a link in an email taking them to the iCloud login page. They can accept your invitation in the Calendar app on their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac, too.

Either way, they need an iCloud account to accept.

Participants can view privately shared iCloud calendars in the iCloud Calendar web app, the stock Calendar app on the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac or in Microsoft Outlook on a Windows computer.

A privately shared calendar can only be edited by its creator and people on your Share With list whom you have assigned edit privileges.

On your iPhone and iPad

1) Launch Apple’s Calendar app on your iOS device.

2) Tap Calendars.

3) Tap the “i” button next to the iCloud calendar you want to share.

4) On the next screen, scroll down to the bottom and make sure that the switch next to Public Calendar is set to the OFF position.

iOS 9 Calendar sharing iPhone screenshot 008

5) Now tap Add Person and enter the name or email addresses of your invitees. You can also tap the plus sign to select people in your Contacts.

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6) Tap Add.

7) Tap Done to save the changes and return to the previous screen.

iOS 9 Calendar sharing iPhone screenshot 007

As shown above, the “Shared with” information right underneath the calendar name indicates that this calendar has been shared with people.

Tip: To resend a shared calendar invitation, tap “i” next to the shared calendar and then tap Resend Sharing Invitation at the bottom of the next screen.

iOS 9 Calendar sharing iPhone screenshot 005

8) Tap Done to return to your calendar view.

On your Mac

1) Launch Apple’s Calendar application on your Mac.

2) Click the Share Calendar button next to the calendar’s name on the list. If the calendar list is nowhere to be found, choose View → Show Calendar List.

3) In the Share With field, type the names or email addresses of people you want to share the calendar with. If you don’t see this field, click below the last name or email address on the list and it shall reveal itself.

OS X El Capitan Calendar sharing Mac screenshot 002

Tip: If the field reads “Shared By [NAME]” instead of “Shared With”, only the person named can add people.

4) Click Done to save the changes.

Everyone on the Share With list will receive an email invitation to join your shared calendar on their Mac or iOS device and on iCloud.com.

Tip: To resend a shared calendar invitation, click the Share Calendar button, right-click a person’s name and choose Invite Again.

OS X El Capitan Calendar sharing Mac screenshot 016

Using web app at iCloud.com

1) In a desktop browser, log in to the iCloud Calendar web app at iCloud.com/calendar.

2) Click the Share Calendar button next to the calendar’s name on the list.

3) Select Private Calendar.

iCloud.com Calendar sharing web screenshot 004

4) In the Add Person field, type the invitee’s email address and press Return. Repeat the process for each person you want to share the calendar with.

5) Click OK to save the changes.

Tip: To resend shared calendar invitations, click the Share Calendar button, then click the pop-up menu with the invitee’s name and choose Invite Again.

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How to share a calendar publicly

Sharing a read-only calendar publicly allows anyone to see it, provided they have a link.

Visitors can access your public calendar using the stock Calendar app on their iPhone, iPod touch, iPad or Mac, in Microsoft Outlook on a Windows computer or via any other app that supports the iCalendar file format.

An invitee doesn’t need to be an iCloud user to accept an invitation to view a shared public calendar. Invitees who subscribe to your public calendar can view it in read-only mode as only the calendar creator is permitted to make changes.

On your iPhone and iPad

1) Launch Apple’s Calendar app on your iOS device.

2) Tap Calendars.

3) Tap the “i” button next to the iCloud calendar you want to share.

4) On the next screen, scroll down to the bottom and make sure that the switch next to Public Calendar is set to the ON position.

iOS 9 Calendar sharing iPhone screenshot 002

5) Tap Share Link to copy or send the URL for your calendar using third-party sharing services available in iOS’s multi-purpose Share menu.

6) Tap Done to save the changes and get back to the previous screen.

Tip: You can invite specific people to a public calendar: tap Add Person and enter the name or email addresses of people you want to shared the calendar with. This lets everyone with a link see your calendar, but only specific people are allowed to make the changes.

iOS 9 Calendar sharing iPhone screenshot 006

As evidenced on the screenshot above, this is indicated in the wording underneath the calendar label, which now reads “Public and shared with…”

7) Tap Done to return to your calendar view.

On your Mac

1) Launch Apple’s Calendar application on your Mac.

2) Click the Share Calendar button next to the calendar’s name on the list. If the calendar list is nowhere to be found, choose View → Show Calendar List.

3) In the Share With field, type in the names or email addresses of people you want to invite to share your calendar.

4) Tick the Public Calendar box to let people not listed in the Shared With list access the calendar in read-only mode.

OS X El Capitan Calendar sharing Mac screenshot 001

5) Now click the Share button, and select how you want to send people who are not on your Shared With list a link to subscribe to the public calendar.

6) Click Done to save the changes.

Using web app at iCloud.com

1) In a desktop browser, log in to the iCloud Calendar web app at iCloud.com/calendar.

2) Click the Share Calendar button next to the calendar’s name on the list.

3) Select Public Calendar.

iCloud.com Calendar sharing web screenshot 002

4) Click Email Link to invite people to view your publicly shared calendar.

5) In the compose window, type one or more email addresses in the TO field, then click Send.

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The people you specify automatically receive an invitation email that includes the calendar’s URL. An invitee doesn’t need to be an iCloud user to accept an invitation to view a shared public calendar.

How to track responses to shared calendar invitations

The calendar owner, as well as any iCloud user who is a participant in a shared calendar, can see the responses of the other calendar invitees.

1) Open the Calendar app on your Mac or use a desktop browser to launch the iCloud Calendar web app at iCloud.com/calendar.

2) Click the Share Calendar button next to the calendar’s name on the list.

3) You will see the symbol next to the name of each invitee:

  • A green checkmark means the invitee has joined as a participant.
  • A red “X” means the invitee declined the shared invitation.
  • A gray question mark means the invitee hasn’t yet joined or declined the invitation.

OS X El Capitan Calendar sharing Mac screenshot 007

On your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, launch Calendar, tap Calendars, then hit the “i” button next to your shared calendar. You should see the word Accepted, Pending or Declined below each participant listed in the Shared With section.

If you notice it’s taking someone too long to respond to your invitation, resend it.

How to change edit privileges for calendar invitees

Only the calendar creator can adjust edit privileges for invitees. You have two options at your disposal to control who can modify a shared calendar: View Only and View & Edit.

  • View Only—Invitees who have been assigned View Only access can view the calendar, adjust their own calendar preferences and their view from day to week and more, without affecting the view of other participants.
  • View & Edit—Invitees who have been assigned View & Edit access can do everything like folks with View Only access, and additionally can create and delete calendar events, change event details and track the responses of guests invited to a calendar event.

RELATED: How to display calendar events as list view in iOS Notification Center

On your iPhone and iPad

1) Launch Apple’s Calendar app on your iOS device.

2) Tap Calendars.

3) Tap the “i” button next to your shared iCloud calendar.

4) In the Shared With section, tap a participant to change its edit privileges.

5) On the next screen, set the switch next to Allow Editing to the ON position if you want to let this person make changes to the calendar, or leave it OFF if you want to allow them to only view the calendar.

iOS 9 Calendar sharing iPhone screenshot 009

6) Swipe or tap Edit Calendar to get back to the previous screen.

7) Tap Done to go back to your calendar list.

8) Tap Done to save the changes

On your Mac

1) Launch Apple’s Calendar application on your Mac.

2) Click the Share Calendar button next to the calendar’s name on the list (View → Show Calendar List if the calendar list is not visible).

3) To keep someone from making changes to your shared calendar, Control-click their name or email address, then choose View Only. Selecting View & Edit lets them make changes to the shared calendar.

OS X El Capitan Calendar sharing Mac screenshot 003

4) Click Done to save the changes.

Using web app at iCloud.com

1) In a desktop browser, log in to the iCloud Calendar web app at iCloud.com/calendar.

2) Click the Share Calendar button next to the calendar’s name on the list.

3) Click the pop-up menu with the invitee’s name and select access privileges (View & Edit or View Only), then click OK.

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How to stop sharing a calendar

On your iPhone and iPad

1) Launch Apple’s Calendar app on your iOS device.

2) Tap Calendars.

3) Tap the “i” button next to your shared calendar.

4) Now tap a person’s name or email address.

5) Tap Stop Sharing at the bottom.

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A message pops up, warning you that the person will lose access to this calendar.

6) If you’re OK with this, tap Remove to confirm the action.

On your Mac

1) Launch Apple’s Calendar application on your Mac.

2) Click the Share Calendar button next to the calendar’s name on the list.

3) Click a person’s name, then press Delete. This will remove that person from your Shared With list and the shared calendar from their devices.

Tip: To stop sharing the calendar with everyone, select the shared calendar on the list and choose Edit → Stop Sharing or Control-click the calendar and choose Stop Sharing in the contextual menu.

OS X El Capitan Calendar sharing Mac screenshot 015

Using web app at iCloud.com

You can stop sharing a private or public calendar with all participants at any time using the Calendar web app at iCloud.com.

1) In a desktop browser, launch the iCloud Calendar web app at iCloud.com/calendar.

2) Click Share Calendar next to the calendar’s name on the list.

3) Deselect Private Calendar to make your private calendar unavailable to all participants, Public Calendar to invalidate its URL and remove it from all participants’ devices, or both.

4) Click OK.

5) In the dialog that appears, click Stop Sharing.

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How to unsubscribe from a calendar

To stop subscribing to someone else’s calendar, you can unsubscribe from it.

On your iPhone and iPad

1) Launch Apple’s Calendar app on your iOS device.

2) Tap Calendars.

3) Tap the “i” button next to the calendar you’re subscribed to.

4) Scroll down and tap Delete Calendar.

5) Confirm that you wish to unsubscribe from this calendar and remove all events associated with it from your device by tapping Delete Calendar.

iOS 9 Calendar sharing iPhone screenshot 004

On your Mac

1) Launch Apple’s Calendar application on your Mac.

2) Click the Share Calendar button next to the calendar’s name on the list.

3) Control-click the calendar in the calendar list, then choose Unsubscribe.

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Using web app at iCloud.com

1) In a desktop browser, log in to the iCloud Calendar web app at iCloud.com/calendar.

2) Click the Share Calendar button next to the calendar you’re subscribed to.

3) Select Leave Calendar.

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How to adjust notifications for a shared calendar

Actions related to shared calendars appear in the Notification Center on participants’ iOS devices, Mac computers and in a browser for logged-in iCloud users.

On iOS devices, you can enable or disable notifications for shared calendars separately from other Calendar alerts in Settings → Notifications → Calendar → Shared Calendar Changes.

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If you’re not receiving mobile, desktop or web notifications about shared calendars, open the iCloud Calendar web app at iCloud.com/calendar, click the Action menu in the sidebar (the gear icon), choose Preferences, select the Advanced pane, then click “In-app notifications” and choose Save.

OS X El Capitan Calendar sharing Mac screenshot 008

On the Mac, choose Calendar → Preferences → Alerts and select “Show shared calendar messages in Notification Center” and “Show invitation messages in Notification Center.”

To select the style for your calendar notifications, go to System Preferences → Notifications, click Calendar in the lefthand column and select either Banners or Alerts as the alert style, or select None to silence calendar alerts.

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How to stop receiving emails about shared calendar updates

After sharing a calendar with others or joining someone else’s shared calendar, the system will send you email notifications for actions like adding a new event or removing an existing one from the calendar. Thankfully, you can opt out by flipping a switch in the Calendar web app on iCloud.com.

1) In a desktop browser, launch the iCloud Calendar web app at iCloud.com/calendar.

2) Click the Action pop-up menu in the sidebar and choose Preferences.

3) Click Advanced, deselect “Email me shared calendar updates” and click Save.

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Calendar tips and tricks

Here are a few things you should keep in mind that will help you increase your productivity and make the most from shared calendars.

Email invitations to shared iCloud calendars are sent from your iCloud email address. If you disable your iCloud account, any calendars you have shared will become unavailable for everyone, with each participant receiving an automatically generated email notifying them that the calendar is no longer shared.

You may be wondering if shared calendars and collaborative editing play nice. In a word, yes! Every change the calendar owner or a participant with edit privileges makes will be reflected on the devices of other participants.

RELATED: How to access list view in Calendar on iPhone

However, if multiple participants try to edit a shared calendar at the same time, the changes that are saved first are kept and reflected in the calendar and the guy whose changes arenʼt saved sees a message saying their updates had not been saved.

There are many ways you can take advantage of shared calendars. My boss, for instance, has shared with me a calendar of upcoming tutorials. We both add articles to it and move things around, which helps us plan iDownloadBlog’s tutorial coverage.

You might want to create a calendar for your junior’s sports team and share it privately with just the coaches so they can edit it, or share it publicly with all the parents to let them view it whenever they want.

RELATED: How to disable calendar suggestions based on data found in Mail

Or, you could create a shared “Kids” calendar to keep family members in the loop about school and weekend activities. Speaking of which, when you set up Family Sharing to start a new family group, the “Family” calendar will be automatically created and all family members will be added to it.

Every family member can add, view or change events and reminders related to family matters such as camping trips and violin recitals. Family members cannot be removed from the “Family” calendar except by leaving or being removed from Family Sharing.

Apple’s curren restrictions limit the total number of calendars, events and reminders per iCloud account to 25,000 items. You can have no more than a hundred combined calendars and reminder lists and their combined size (excluding attachments) cannot exceed 24MB.

You can invite up to 300 attendees to an event and share a private calendar with up to a hundred invitees.

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  • Gary LE

    So what does home means under default calender?

    I have ipad, iphone and a mac and I do not share with anyone at all so what should I put my default calender too?

    Thanks anyone?

  • Shingo

    do you guys know why my icloud calendar and my iphone+ipad calendar has different set date list?
    i created my appointment or schedule using iphone and set 2 reminders one is 2 hours before and the alternate is 1 day before BUT on icloud it will listed the actual appointment day is following the alternate reminder not on the actual day date

  • Marcus

    I was just wondering how to do this last week. This has taught me a lot more about what I can do with Calendar. Thank you!

  • Justchris

    This is a great article! Thanks!