How to get your AOL calendar onto your iPhone and iPad

If the AOL calendar suddenly disappeared from your iPhone or iPad, or if you can’t figure out how to add it in the first place, this is the article for you.

The option to turn on the AOL calendar has disappeared

Note: I don’t know when this problem first came about, but it’s not tied to iOS 14. I see the same problem on an iPhone with iOS 12. Must be something that AOL changed at their end. All we know for sure is “the problem is here, now.”

In iOS 14, in the Settings app, if you go to Calendars, then Accounts, and then tap just about any non-AOL account (Yahoo, Google, iCloud) you’ll see a list of things you can turn on, including

  • Mail
  • Contacts
  • Calendars
  • Reminders
  • Notes

Here’s how it looks when you look at a Yahoo account. I don’t have the Yahoo calendar turned on, but at least I have the option.

Yahoo account showing Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, and Notes
Yahoo account showing Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, and Notes

But when you look at the options for an AOL account you only see Mail and Notes. Where’s the Calendar? (And while we’re at it, where are Contacts and Reminders?)

AOL account in iOS 14, showing Mail and Notes, but not Calendar.
AOL account in iOS 14. Where’s the Calendar?

It doesn’t matter how you approach this– you can come in from Settings/Calendar/Accounts/AOL or from Settings/Mail/Accounts/AOL or from Settings/Contacts/Accounts/AOL and you’ll see the same thing: options for Mail and for Notes, but nothing else. (iOS 12 and iOS 13 users would go to Settings/Passwords & Accounts/AOL but they’d still be missing the option to turn on Calendars.)

How to get your AOL calendar onto your iPhone and iPad

The amount of mis-information on this topic is vast, and some of it comes from AOL itself. For example, their help page says:

AOL Calendar is only available on desktop web browsers and AOL Desktop Gold.

https://help.aol.com/articles/aol-calendar-faqs

Not true! (I’ll prove it to you in a moment– that’s the point of this article, after all).

You might think that deleting your AOL account from your iPhone and adding it again would solve things, but it won’t: if you delete your AOL account and add it again you’ll end up in the same place so don’t bother going through that exercise.

Here’s what really works.

  1. First, leave your AOL account on your iPhone (or iPad) alone. You don’t need to mess with that at all.
  2. Using a web browser, go to the Security section of your AOL Account settings and create “an app password.” More on that later.
  3. Go to Settings on your iPhone, then (for iOS 14 users) Calendar/Accounts/Add Account/Other (iOS 12 and 13 users follow a slightly different path: Settings/Passwords & Accounts/Add Account/Other. Whether you’re on iOS 14 or not, the next step is “Add CalDAV account.” More on that later too.

Here are the details. Step 1 (leave your AOL account alone): that’s easy, just leave it alone. Step 2 (create an app password) needs some explanation.

AOL has ideas about what’s a secure app and what’s not, and they’ve decided that the iPhone’s Calendar app is not secure. Apple obviously disagrees. I don’t know enough to break the tie but I do know I want my AOL calendar on my iPhone. Fortunately, AOL allows us to put our AOL calendars onto our iPhones and iPads, if we first make a special password for doing so. It sounds hard but it’s merely a little messy– and once done, you can forget about it.

Here’s how to do it.

First, go to the Account Security section of your AOL Account page. The only way I know to do this is to get on a web browser, sign into AOL.com, then click your name up at the top of the web page. That produces the Accounts page. Click where it says “Account Security.” If you want a shortcut, use this link.

You’ll see this:

Account Security section of AOL account.
Account Security section of AOL Account

The part we care about is outlined in red above. You want to add an app password. You can click just about anywhere in the area I’ve outlined in red and produce a box like this:

App password dialog in AOL Account Security page
App password dialog in AOL Account Security page

Then, choose an app from the menu in that box (I chose “iPhone Calendar”), then click Generate. You’ll get something like this:

App password generated by AOL
App password generated by AOL

Write down that password. You’ll use it in a moment. And save it somewhere, because you might need it again someday.

By The Way: generating an app password does not change your “real” AOL password. It’s used only for making a particular app work. If your AOL password is “mistersnuffleupugus” and you generate an app password that’s “abcd efgh ijkl mnop” you will still use “mistersnuffleupugus” for everything having to do with AOL, other than for this one specific app.

IMPORTANT: ignore AOL’s instructions about “How to use this app password.” Also important: despite the way the app password is presented to you, there are no spaces in it. When you go to enter the password (next step), do NOT enter spaces. Seriously.

Now we’re ready for Step 3 (adding a calendar account).

Go to Settings, and if you’re on iOS 14, go to Calendar, and then Accounts. (iOS 12 and 13 users: go to Settings, then Passwords & Accounts.) Scroll to the bottom of the Accounts and tap “Add Account.” Then– this is where the magic happens– don’t tap “Aol.” Instead, tap “Other.”

Adding an account in iOS 14
Adding an account in iOS 14– choose “Other”

We’re adding a calendar-type account, so go to to the Calendars section and tap “Add CalDAV Account.”

Adding a Calendar account in iOS 14, CalDAV type
Adding a CalDAV account in iOS 14

In the Server box, type “caldav.aol.com” as shown in the image above. For User Name, put in your AOL address (including the “@aol.com” part). In the Password box put in the App Password you generated (and wrote down). No spaces, remember? In the Description box you can leave it as is, or write “AOL Calendar” or anything else you want. The Description is just for you, so you can find it in the list of accounts someday.

Now tap “Next” at the top right corner. If you got everything right you’ll get a nice check mark next to everything, like so:

Then you can turn on the Calendars switch (if it’s not on already) and then click Save and you are D-U-N done. Enjoy having your AOL calendar on your iPhone (or iPad).


Why this works

AOL uses a standard calendar data format called “CalDAV.” CalDAV isn’t an AOL format; it’s a format used industry-wide. Fortunately, the iPhone and iPad know how to handle CalDAV, and fortunately we know how to add such a thing.

Copyright 2008-2021 Christian Boyce. All rights reserved.

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28 thoughts on “How to get your AOL calendar onto your iPhone and iPad

Add yours

  1. Thank you so much!!!! I had literally spent hours trying to figure this out. I so wish I had found your article first. I had it fixed in five minutes. I so appreciate your knowledge. Thanks again!!

    1. As it happens, I wrote the article today, thanks to someone sending in a question, so it would have been hard to read my article first!

      It took ME a while to figure out how to get the calendars into the iPhone. Didn’t help that AOL’s documentation says it can’t be done.

      Glad you have the calendar working. Your comment made my day.

  2. Hi Christian – I’m also having trouble. After a few seconds of ‘verifying’, I get a screen back that says: “Cannot connect using SSL. Do you want me to try setting up the account without SSL?” “Cancel” or “Continue”. I am reluctant to have a connection that is not SSL?

  3. I follow your instructions to the letter. I have tried both leaving the generated password up and finishing on AOL, and then set up the caldav account on my phone (iphone SE). I first get the screen “Cannot Connect Using SSL” “Do you want to try setting up the account without SSL” “Cancel” or “Connect”. Of course I choose “Connect”, and then I get the screen “Calendar Account” CalDAV account verification failed”. I have tried to regenerate the password, and get the same. I have tried turning of my WiFi and just use cellular data, but get the same.
    Thanks,
    Ashley

    1. Hmmmm.This shouldn’t be so hard. Delete the AOL account from the iPhone, go to aol.com and create an app password, add the account back to the iPhone and use the app password you just made. If I understand correctly this is what you did. Is that right? Any other details– such as, you have it working on your Mac, or on your iPad, but not on the iPhone?

  4. My very simple thought is thank goodness for people like you that can help after AOL gave me the run around through many different reps. Bless you, thank you and……………………………..keep fighting the good fight:).

    1. Depends on why one gets a “verification failed” message. You probably won’t make the AOL calendar work with a very old macOS. You might make it work with a less-old one if you delete and reinstall the AOL account, and you use an app-specific password.

  5. I did exactly what you described and everything worked (got the check marks). But unlike you said, it changed my AOL password for my email and now my email doesn’t work.

  6. I did this. Thanks so much. I have been going crazy trying to figure this out. So now if someone sent me invites will they have to send again?

  7. Once the AOL CALENDAR is set up on iPhone and iPad, are they synced to any AOL CALENDAR on any device?

  8. Hello Christian, I followed the steps but on my iPhone it says “password Incorrect” I tried the new password for the specific app and also my regular password and none of them work.

    1. If your iPhone is fairly new you don’t need the app-specific password. Which system is your iPhone on? And, if you DO need the app-specific password, you have to put it in without the spaces. So if the app-specific password is “abcd efgh ijkl mnop” you’d enter “abcdefghijklmnop”. Also, you have to generate an app-specific password for the Mail app on EACH device you have– you can’t use the same app-specific password on two devices.

  9. Followed the steps and adding the account using your steps, worked. But this I mean, no errors. But, appointments on my AOL calendar are not appearing on the iPhone.
    I tried adding an appointment to my AOL calendar from my windows machine, and one from my iPhone. (same AOL account). But neither appointment is appearing on the other device.

    Thoughts?

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