How to get your Secret address in iCal format on Google Calendar

Last updated: March 31, 2020

In this short step-by-step guide we will show you how to get your Secret Address in iCal format from your Google Calendar. You will need this secret address whenever you want to sync, share or view your Google Calendar with other applications. You will need this when you are using our Simplify Screen for example.

Step 1: Choose which calendar and open the settings

In your browser, you first need to go to your Google Calendar and choose for which calendar you want the Secret Address for. On the bottom left you will see the list of your calendars. Select your calendar by hovering over it, and click the three dots that appear next to it. Next, click on Settings and Sharing.

source: Google Calendar

Step 2: Copy the Secret Address in iCal format

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When you are in the settings for the calendar, you then scroll down until you see the section “Integrate calendar”. Here you will be able to see and copy both the Public and the Secret address in iCal format. The difference is, that the Public address will only work on Public calendars that are open to anyone. The Secret address is the one we want.

source: Google Calendar

You can now select the full address and copy it to your clipboard. The address is quite long, so make sure to copy the whole line.

How to get the secret address in iCal format on a phone or tablet

At the time of writing this blog, it is not possible to get the secret iCal address from within the Google Calendar App. There still is a way to do so, but it is a little annoying. Hopefully Google will make this possible in the near future!

In order to get the secret iCal address on a mobile device, you should not open the app. You need to access your calendar from within a Browser instead. If your phone is as clever as mine, then it probably just opens the app as soon as you type https://calendar.google.com/ in the address bar. But for now you should avoid this by using the incognito mode on your browser. This is as simple as tapping in the bottom right hand corner and opening a new incognito tab, or private on safari. I personally use Google Chrome on an iPhone.

Once you are logged-in, on the bottom you can switch from Mobile to ‘Desktop’-mode. Now you can finally follow the steps above to get the iCal file you want.

Switch to Desktop

That’s it! You now know how to get your Secret Address in iCal format from your Google Calendar. Now that you have it, you can now paste it wherever you need it.

Raymond Hollaar

Raymond is a Dutch guy with Hungarian roots, living in Austria. Can you still follow? Apart from loving the outdoor life in the mountains, he spends most of his time indoors playing with computers. He has over 10 years of experience with the design of websites and especially with e-Commerce.

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Comments 11

  1. This answer is obsolete. Google has disabled the integration feature that generates secret addresses in iCal format and now only generates public iCal addresses. Google support docs confirm that “The only way to let people who don’t have Google Calendar view your calendar is to make it public.” https://support.google.com/calendar/answer/37082?hl=en
    This is a transparent anti-competitive move by Google to encourage users to stop using competing calendar apps such as Outlook. Yet another in a long series of monopolistic policies that should make people think twice before using Google services.

    1. Post
      Author

      Dear W Gibbs,

      Thank you for your contribution! I think you misunderstand the purpose of the Public and Secret iCal links. These are meant to integrate your calendar in an application and are not meant for sharing your calendar with other people. These are 2 very different things.

      The iCal addresses lead to an .ics file which can be read by certain scripts or applications. The calendar app on your phone for example, will read an .ics file and convert these lines of entries to a more visible overview: your calendar.

      We at Simplify Everything use the .ics files to integrate a Google Calendar in our Simplify Screens for example.

      I hope this is clear answer now. I will use your input and edit my Blog Post on a later time to make it more understandable to other readers as well.

      Thanks again!

      1. youre actually wrong and W Gibbs is right.

        the only way to GET the secret link AT ALL. Is to make your calendar available to the public. sure you dont have to let the planet have edit access. but you have to give them read access. which is insane.

        1. Post
          Author

          Hi,

          I invite you to look at the screenshot of my private Gmail account: https://bit.ly/32xX8Sf

          I haven’t made my calendar public, but still I have access to the secret address.

          Are you having a different settings screen?

  2. Unless I’m misunderstanding your response, I think that missed the original point. I believe the Secret address allowed you to view a synced Google cal in Outlook. I think the use of .ics just gives you a one-time import but does not keep the calendar live and in sync.

    I am looking for this solution since my work has adopted Outlook as the primary calendar, but the rest of my life is in Google. I want to be able to layer my Google cals over the Outlook cal.

    1. Hi there,
      the secret ical address does still exist, I have just checked in my own Google account and created a new one from gmail to further test it. In both cases I can get the link.

      As far as a one-time import goes, that is not quite true. A link to an online calendar, like google, via an .ical file does keep the calendar up to date. It is a one-way stream though. Read only. It can’t add or change events in the original calendar.

      In your case, this is exactly what it could do. Get the secret .ical link and import it into your Outlook calendar. As long as Outlook grabs the information, so requires an internet connection, it should keep your calendar right. If you add events in Outlook they won’t be created in Google, however you could also link your Outlook calendar to your Google calendar so that they would effectively sync both ways.

      Hopefully this has cleared things up.

      Kind regards,
      Max

      1. Thanks Max, that is what I’m looking for; in Outlook just needs to have view only of my GCal.

        I think I just discovered something. My personal GCal has the Secret address visible, but the other Google account that I’m actually interested in does not show the Secret address. Ran across a post that indicates this is an Admin option to make that visible. I thought Google discontinued that option. Now I have a different problem to solve. 😉

  3. Hi. I’m wanting to create an office calendar (birthdays, days the office is closed, etc) in Google and give the staff access to view it on their macs. They all use ical. HOWEVER, When I went to test googles private integrated link for ical it is nothing more than a one time calendar dump. I can’t seem to get it to update on ical when I add new dates to the calendar. Does anyone know if it will do what I want? or have a solution I haven’t tried?

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Magen,
      Not sure if I understood your question correctly, but to share a calendar with other users you should just “share” it. Whilst sharing, you can select the permission to be view only (called: “See all event details”). You can find more information on Google’s page.

      When you use the iCal link, you need an app that constantly grabs the newest data to check for updates. Otherwise it will not renew.

      I hope this answers your question!

  4. Hi Raymond, Google calendar page is confusing, it’s probably the worst page on Google created by Google. It went through a couple of iterations and they still can’t get it simple enough for people to avoid spending time to study the whole page and then still searching for answers on the web.

    The secret ical link is accessible only to 3rd party clients but not to google calendar.

    Here is what I have done:

    I have copied the the secret address in iCal format.. this one…

    https://i.imgur.com/G4aqNtW.png

    … and I didn’t check to make it public …

    https://i.imgur.com/2Aij8Zy.png

    Now copying this and pasting into any 3rd party online calendar e.g. (Outlook.com, Yahoo.com) or any 3rd party client (Busycal, Outlook) will add the calendar subscription as read-only and it is live and one-way synced to me.

    However, adding the same link to Google Calendar doesn’t work. It required explicit permission from the owner of the calendar. So that’s where to confusion comes to some and to others when reading the busy page in GCalendar settings.

    When you add it to Google Calendar, following message will pop up:

    https://i.imgur.com/nhjKiAk.png

    The message saying I need to ask the owner of the calendar to give me access.

    The owner will receive this email:

    https://i.imgur.com/REsHruw.png

    Approving this will give access to the calendar and the calendar can be shared.

    The last step to request permission can be avoided instead by giving the permission right away:

    https://i.imgur.com/mLRUN2e.png

    Probably the reason why Google decided this to work in separate ways is because if the calendar is shared with another Google user, the sharing option ads choice to see busy info only/view / edit etc.. option. Those options are not available when sharing the iCal link with 3rd party outside Google.

    One more thing:
    By all means – never enable the “Make available to public” checkbox. This option is dangerous because it makes all details of your calendar searchable on Google (and even editable by anybody). The only time this option makes sense if you really want anybody find your calendar and update.

    I suspect Google could put there a check box to suppress the likelihood of being discovered on Google (Hide from search engines). However, we all know this option may not work if some non-Google search engines ignore the setting and still index the calendar. I guess Google didn’t want to take the legal responsibility for the consequences and doesn’t offer “hide from search engines” because it may not keep the page away from search engines.

    Anyhow, the sharing page is crazy complicated and it could be simplified into a one pager. I remember done the sharing 10 years ago the page was simple. Now every time I go share the link or somebody asks me how to do this, I’ll be honest, I have to re-read the staff and then end up looking for answers on Google. Well repetition doesn’t hurt so maybe by typing it out again I’ll remember better.

    1. Post
      Author

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