What Does the Google Calendar Lock Icon Mean?

Private events cannot be viewed on shared calendars in most cases

Man typing password into laptop
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Wonder what the lock icon means when it appears for an event in Google Calendar? The lock icon means the event is set as a private event. If you don't share your calendar with anyone, no one can see an event no matter how it is set, but if you share your calendar and don't want the people—or some of the people—you share your calendar with to see a specific event, set it to private.

Who Can See a Google Calendar Event Displaying the Lock Icon

A private event in Google Calendar is visible only to you and individuals who are authorized to make changes to the calendar on which the event appears. This means their permissions are set to Make Changes to Events or to Make Changes AND Manage Sharing.

The other permission settings don't allow someone to view the details of a private event. Those permissions, See all event details and See only free/busy (hide details) don't include access to private events. However, the free/busy permissions do display a busy notification for the event, just without details.

Who Cannot See a Google Calendar Event With a Lock Icon

If you don't share a calendar, no one can see an event with a lock icon. A private event in Google Calendar cannot be seen by people with whom the calendar is shared but who do not have changing rights.

How to Change an Event to Private

To change an event to private access:

  1. Click an event on the calendar to open its details screen.
  2. Click the pencil icon to open the editing screen for the event.
  3. Click the arrow next to Default Visibility and click Private in the drop-down menu.
  4. Click the Save button at the top of the screen.

Now when you click an event on the calendar to open its details screen, you'll see the lock icon and the word Private next to it.