iPad Calendar Syncing with the New MobileMe

Remember the good old days when MobileMe creating ‘syncing for the rest of us’?

No cables, no muss, no fuss — just entered your MobileMe account information, flip a few colorful switches and you could (usually) flawlessly sync mail settings, contacts, calendars, and bookmarks.

With the public beta of a new design and structure in MobileMe calendars came a surprise for many folks: their iPad Calendars no longer work. And despite hours of the traditional fudging, and fumbling — nothing seems to correct the ‘missing sync’ problem.

Sync is still there, but it’s been moved to an unfamiliar place, and it’s no longer as easy as throwing a blue switch under your MobileMe account in Mail Settings. Follow these quick steps and you can get every thing in place:

Step One: On your iPad, go to  Settings > Mail,Contacts, Calendars.  Then choose Add Account from the bottom of the Accounts panel. That brings up a new panel.

iPad Settings Panel

Step Two: At the very bottom of this new panel, select Other

iPad Add Accounts Panel

Step Three: You can now choose to add several types of accounts including mail, contacts, or calendars. Under Calendars, select Add CalDAV Account.

iPad Add Accounts Panel

Step Four: A CalDAV sync settings pane will open. To sync to your MobileMe account fill in the blanks as follows:

Server: cal.me.com
Username: <Your MobileMe account name>
Password: <Your MobileMe account password>
Description: cal.me.com will be shown as the default, but you can change the description to whatever you like.

Enter your MobileMe account Information

When you save these settings, MobileMe will verify your information and magically, your Calendars will appear just as they always did and they will sync perfectly.

Why Did Apple Do This?

The old Calendar system is an Apple format and could not easily exchange calendar data, invitations, and sync with other systems, servers, and platforms. CalDAV is the new standardized exchange format for calendaring worldwide. It is an open standard and everyone is moving to it.

It will easily let you share or subscribe to any number of calendars with CalDAV servers like MobileMe uses. You can control access, delegate actions and all sorts of nifty stuff.

But to give us all this power, Apple needed to implement some awkward changes in how CalDAV is set up on the iPad. In the long run, this is a good change, and once iOS 4.2 is available in November, iPad users will be able to set up MobileMe calendar syncing just as easily as iPhone 4 users do now.