Preparing for my iPad – Google Mail and Calendar

I still don’t know if I’m going to get an iPad yet or wait for iPad 2.0, but I thought I’d start preparing for it anyway.

At the moment I tend to work from my desktop iMac and therefore only occasionally need to access e-mails and such like from other computers. When I do need to I’ve been able to log into my webmail account and access e-mails like that, but as most of my e-mails were POP accounts that didn’t sync with things on my desktop. I don’t have a smart phone or a laptop so there was never a need to sync things with those either.

However, if I get an iPad then I will use it in the lounge and maybe out and about, so I might end up checking e-mails and such like on it, in which case it would be nice if anything I did on it then synced with my desktop computer. I thought this might be a good time to consolidate my e-mail addresses too, so decided to use my Google Mail IMAP address as my main account.

The idea behind this is that all my e-mail can forward to the one Google Mail account. I can then access this via IMAP in Apple Mail on my desktop, and also access it via Mail for the iPad on my iPad. Any e-mails that I receive, move to folders, reply to etc will then all be synced between my desktop and my iPad as they will all be coming from the Google Mail server. It all seems to be working so far between my iMac and Google, but I’m not sure yet how it will work once I add an iPad to the equation.

iCal Screenshot


Whilst I was at it I thought that maybe I could also use Google Calendar to sync my iCal calendars. This wasn’t quite so successful. I was able to add my calendars to Google Calendar without any problems and I was able to sync the accounts between Google Calendar and iCal. Changes that I made in iCal were reflected in Google Calendar and vice versa.

There was a problem though as Google Calendar won’t let you set reminders for events for more than 28 days before the event. I have no idea why such a limitation is imposed by Google, but there is and it meant that any events I had in my iCal calendars that had alarms set for more than 28 days before the event didn’t get synced properly. The events were there but the reminders / alarms weren’t. This was quite a problem for me as I had hundreds of events with reminders for 60 days and 30 days in advance. This one limitation means that Google Calendars will be of no use to me.

Google Calendar Reminder Settings

Google Calendar Reminder Settings

However, I’ve just remembered that my iPod can sync with my iCal calendars via iTunes and that works well, so I’m sure the iPad will too. This will mean there won’t be a need to use a third party intermediary such as Google anyway. Maybe I will be able to keep my digital life synced between my iMac and iPad afterall and I’ll be able to keep myself organised and check my mail on either device and any changes I make will be reflected on the other.

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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