Managing calendars can be a tricky business and when it comes to sharing them with other people, or a virtual assistant, Mac users often find that iCal doesn’t suit their needs as well as it did before – especially if your VA isn’t using iCal themselves. We often find that one of the first changes our Mac customers choose to make is to transfer to a more flexible system, so if you’re looking to make the switch from iCal to Google Calendar, here’s how to do it safely without losing any of your appointments!

The process is actually very easy – but does often require some logical thinking beforehand. Both systems make it quite easy to import and export calendars from other systems. Note: if you are assisting a Mac user to transfer their calendar appointments, but don’t use a  Mac yourself, then you will need to ask your customer to do the first part for you – unfortunately it’s not possible to run the export from the online iCloud Calendar.

Power user note:

First things first, one of the key differences between iCal and Google calendar is that in iCal if you want to separate personal and business tasks, you would create a separate calendar for each, and colour code them differently. Of course this is also possible to do in Google calendar, however if you then need to share this calendar with other people who need to see both personal and business availability, it is much more practical to have them in one calendar, and simply apply a different colour according to the type of appointment. If you wish to do this in your new Google calendar, this may mean you need to export multiple calendars individually, and import them into Google separately – manually editing the colours after each import.

From this point of view, you may need to think logistically about which order to import you calendars in. Once you’ve got your plan, you can start the import.

Exporting appointments from iCal

To begin with, from within iCal click on the calendar that you want to export from the left-hand side of the screen.

Next go to Calendar > File > Export and select the place that you want to save the file. Note: make sure it’s somewhere accessible so you can find when you’re ready to import it into Google.

Calendar Export00004

Calendar Export00002


Click Export, your file will be exported as a .ICS file

Calendar Export00005

This is the first part complete, and you can now quit iCal

Importing appointments into Google

Next, you need to import your calendar into Google. To do this, first login to your Google account and open the calendar. From there click the settings cog (top right hand side) and from the drop-down menu click ‘Settings

Calendar Import00004

Once inside the settings, from the tabs along the top choose Calendar

Then from the calendar page select  Import calendar (located halfway down)


You with then see the import window where you can browse to the place that you save your.ICS file. Choose your file, and click open.

If you have more than one Google calendar, you can choose which one to import the appointments into. When you are done, click Import.

Calendar Import00006

Next you should see a confirmation window telling you the action was successful, and how many appointments were imported to finish. Click Close


Calendar Import00007


Click back to calendar to view the appointments. If you are exporting more than one calendar from iCal, you need to repeat this process for each calendar individually

Calendar Import00008