IQ domain GTPase-activating scaffolding protein 1 (IQGAP1) mediates cytoskeleton, cell migration, proliferation, and apoptosis events. Calmodulin (CaM) modulates IQGAP1 functions by binding to its four tandem IQ motifs. Exactly how CaM binds the IQ motifs and which functions of IQGAP1 CaM regulates and how are fundamental mechanistic questions. We combine experimental pull-down assays, mutational data, and molecular dynamics simulations to understand the IQ-CaM complexes with and without Ca2+ at the atomic level. Apo-CaM favors the IQ3 and IQ4 motifs but not the IQ1 and IQ2 motifs that lack two hydrophobic residues for interactions with apo-CaM's hydrophobic pocket. Ca2+-CaM binds all four IQ motifs, with both N- and C-lobes tightly wrapped around each motif. Ca2+ promotes IQ-CaM interactions and increases the amount of IQGAP1-loaded CaM for IQGAP1-mediated signaling. Collectively, we describe IQ-CaM binding in atomistic detail and feature the emergence of Ca2+ as a key modulator of the CaM-IQGAP1 interactions.