Syncing Calendar and Contacts between Mac and Android via OwnCloud

I’ve recently installed OwnCloud 9 to sync my calendar and contacts between my Mac and Android phone. I didn’t want to use iCloud or Google anymore and OwnCloud promised to be a great alternative. The good news: it works really well. The bad news: getting the synchronization up and running is not always as straightforward as expected. I’ll share how I did it, along with some tips and tricks in this blog post.

Installing OwnCloud

Obviously, you will need to install OwnCloud first. There is lots of good documentation on this, so I won’t cover the installation here. However, if you’re trying to install OwnCloud at the German webhoster Strato, take a look at my blog post on how to install OwnCloud 9 at Strato (German only).

Installing the OwnCloud apps

In addition to the default OwnCloud installation, you need to install the apps for calendar and contacts. This can be done in the main menu (+ Apps) in the upper left part of the screen. It’s only a matter of a few clicks. Once the apps are installed, you’re already able to use the calendar and adress book via the web interface.

Setting up CardDAV and CalDAV accounts on OS X

To sync contacts and events with your Mac you need to create a new CardDAV (contacts) and a new CalDAV (calendar) account.

  • Go to System Prefrences > Internet Accounts > Add Other Accounts  and select “CardDAV” account.
  • Choose account type “Manual” and enter your username and password for OwnCloud.
  • If you have installed OwnCloud in the root folder of your webserver, copy and paste the CalDAV URL into the server adress input field. You can find the CalDav URL for your calendar in the OwnCloud app, you’ve just installed. Click on the cog wheel icon in the bottom left part of the screen and make sure to copy the iOS/OS X address.
  • Repeat these steps and create a CalDav account to sync your calendar.

If everything works fine, the accounts show up in the calendar and contacts application on your Mac. You’ll be able to sync data in the same way as with iCloud and Google.

If you’ve installed OwnCloud in a sub directory on your web server, OS X will have trouble finding the proper sync URL. In this case it displays the following error:

Accountname/Password could not be verified.

To work around this, add the following lines to your .htaccess file to redirect to the correct URL (instead of “owncloud” enter your OwnCloud subfolder):

Redirect 301 /.well-known/carddav /owncloud/remote.php/carddav
Redirect 301 /.well-known/caldav /owncloud/remote.php/caldav

Then create new CardDAV and CalDAV accounts, as described above, and enter your URL without any subfolders (e.g. as the server address.

Still not working?
See the bug report on Github for more details on the OS X sync issue and the OwnCloud server manual for more tips on Troubleshooting Contacts & Calendar.

Transfering all data to OwnCloud

  • To transfer an entire calendar from iCloud to OwnCloud, export the iCloud calendar and import it to your OwnCloud calendar.
  • To transfer all of your contacts, simply select all of them and drag them into the OwnCloud address book.

Syncing with Android

To sync your Android device you need to install CardDAV and CalDAV client apps. I’m using CardDav-Sync free and CalDAV-Sync, which work very well.

  • Download the apps
  • Choose CalDAV / CardDAV respectively
  • Enter your credentials and URL (same credentials as for OS X, see above)
  • Choose your settings, e.g. the synchronization interval

Congratulations, you’re now able to sync all of your calendars and contacts between you Mac and your Android phone via OwnCloud. You’re one step closer to completely own your data!

    Jürgen Röhm

    I'm a UX Freelancer from Munich with over 10 years of experience in designing digital products and services.

    • Dudi

      May 22, 2016, 11:43

      Hey, thanks for the tutorial. If try to sync the calender app on my mac book pro with the owncloud calender app. I followed your steps and the connection seems be fine, i got no errors. But if i start my contact app, the are no contacts from owncloud inside? Can you help me to solve the problem?

      • Juergen

        May 23, 2016, 22:05

        Hi Dudi, are you trying to sync your contacts or your calendar or both? If I understand you correctly, you already have some contacts/dates in OwnCloud but they don’t show up on your computer?


      May 27, 2016, 13:03

      Note that both the default Calendar and Family Schedule calendar share the same categories. This is important because the sync from Outlook to iPhone will not carry over the