How to stop Google Calendar email notifications

You need to know when meetings are coming up. But one notification’s enough.


A Gmail screenshot of many emails from every new event

It started with one email. Then two. And before I knew it, somehow, some combination of Apple Calendar and Google Calendar had decided to email me over and over—sometimes as many as 9 times—each time I had an event.

It wasn’t the most annoying thing—not as bad as a mosquito buzzing in your ear right as you’re falling asleep—but it was getting there. Annoying enough, finally, that I decided to do something about it.

So here’s how to stop getting a torrent of emails reminding you of every event:

Tweak Google Calendar notification settings.

A screenshot of Google Calendar with the menu for one calendar open

The first culprit to check is Google Calendar’s event notification settings. Open calendar.google.com, then in the sidebar on the left (tap the 3-bar menu if you don’t see it), find your calendar, click its menu, and select Settings and Sharing.

A screenshot of Google Calendar's notification settings

Scroll down to Event notifications, and check your settings. You can add as many Google Calendar notifications as you want, and it’s possible you’ve got far more added than you want. I trimmed mine down to something closer to the defaults: A notification 10 minutes before meetings, and an email a day before all-day meetings.

It’s worth noting your settings for updated events as well. By default, Google Calendar will email you if an event is updated. But if you’re using a third-party calendar app that somehow is editing your events, it’s possible that could be the source of at least some of your notifications.

Run though your notification settings for each calendar and make sure you’ll get only the notifications you want.

Tweak Apple Calendar notification settings.

A screenshot of Apple Calendar for Mac's notification settings

Then, it’s time to turn your attention to your computer. Apple Calendar on your Mac could be the culprit; it can also send email notifications for your events.

So if you’ve weeded out any extraneous notifications from Google Calendar and are still getting unwanted emails about events, open Apple Calendar’s preferences (press CMD+, for a quick shortcut), select the Alerts tab, then select your calendar account. Make sure you only have the alerts set that you want—and remember, you’ll get any notifications you set here in addition to the ones you set in Google Calendar.

A screenshot of calendar info and alert options in Apple Calendar

With that done, if you’re still getting too many notifications, right-click on your calendar in the sidebar (click the calendar icon in the top toolbar if you don’t see the sidebar at first), then select Get info. There, you can check Ignore alerts to keep Apple Calendar from sending you notifications about events from that calendar at all.


 
You might have to experiment a bit to get the right mix. I started over entirely, turning off all calendar notifications on all of my Google Calendars and devices, then re-enabled the ones I wanted.

And with that, you should be back to getting a push notification on your phone for new events, maybe an email the day before if you want, and nothing else.

You’d think our devices and apps would be better at this by now, seeing as how the iCalendar protocol is over two decades old, but alas. Sometimes the only way out is manually tweaking notification settings to get things just right.


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