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
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.
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?)
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.
- First, leave your AOL account on your iPhone (or iPad) alone. You don’t need to mess with that at all.
- Using a web browser, go to the Security section of your AOL Account settings and create “an app password.” More on that later.
- 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:
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:
Then, choose an app from the menu in that box (I chose “iPhone Calendar”), then click Generate. You’ll get something like this:
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.”
We’re adding a calendar-type account, so go to to the Calendars section and tap “Add CalDAV Account.”
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.