Feeling like you’re always in a rush, pressed for time, or otherwise lost in the chaos of day-to-day life? You’re not alone. Fortunately, calendar apps can help you budget your time and schedule events, meetings, and tasks so you can regain more control over your life.
Although your smartphone may have come with a calendar app preinstalled, it probably pales in comparison to some of the third-party alternatives currently on the market. Below, we’ve listed a few of the more intuitive calendar apps for Android and iOS.
Fantastical 2 (free/$5 Premium upgrade)
For iOS, the best calendar app can only be Fantastical 2. It works with the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, and it takes advantage of features like 3D Touch and Force Touch. What pushes it above the rest of the apps available on iOS is how it supports multiple languages, lets people use speech to create reminders, and even supports the use of simple text phrases to make reminders and alerts. It’s intuitive, quick, convenient, and feature-rich, which is everything you want from an app you’re hoping will make your life easier to schedule.
The iPad app gets its own unique dashboard view, which provides quick and easy access to all of your events and reminders. If you have an Apple Watch, there’s a dedicated app for that as well, which will have your reminders pushed to it, and allow you to speak directly to the watch to add new events, thanks to the Force Touch capabilities. English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese are all supported.
Many of the app’s features are standard fare and just what you’d expect a calendar app to offer, but Fantastical 2 strives to make every process more convenient in order to save time. For example, you can start a sentence with “reminder,” “to do,” or “task” to create reminders, or use phrases like “remind me tomorrow at 3PM,” or “alarm 3PM” to set new alerts. You can also add a geofence to an alert so that it’ll go off when you leave or arrive at a specific location. For example, if you head out to a grocery store, you’ll be reminded of the fact that you need milk and bread.
CloudCal (free/$3 Pro upgrade)
For Android users, we can’t recommend CloudCal enough. CloudCal has a unique way of showing how busy you are on any given day. The Android app uses a system it calls Magic Circles, which turn the days of the month into clock faces, and shows different colored circles, or segments of a circle. Each one corresponds to whatever tasks you have scheduled for that day. If it’s someone’s birthday, there would be a complete magic circle on that day. If you have a meeting at work that same day, there would be another colored segment on the outside of the previously mentioned circle labeled “Meeting.” The goal of the magic circle system is to give people a rough understanding of what their day will be like, and how much free time they’ll have in between everything.
To complement the magic circles, CloudCal features gesture support, customizable views, calendar import, and it can work alongside other apps like Uber, Maps, and Waze. However, that requires those apps to be installed, and you’ll need to purchase the Pro version of the app for $3.49 first. Once installed, you can call an Uber from within CloudCal, or use Maps and Waze to attach locations to scheduled events and tasks.
The biggest factor behind our recommendation is the app’s unique Magic Circles system, which is stylish and gets information across quickly. There’s also the fact that you can use other apps like Uber, Maps, and Waze to complement CloudCal’s features and functions. We also like that you can attach photos, audio files, and Dropbox files to events.
Calendars 5 ($7)
Calendars 5 is so named because it’s the fifth version of Readdle’s Calendars app, meaning its developer has had a lot of time to invest in this particular app and its features. The current incarnation of the app works with both the iPhone and iPad, allowing you to keep track of your events across iOS devices. It’s a simple feature, but an invaluable one for those deep in the Apple ecosystem who already use the iPhone’s default Calendar app. Of course, a calendar app is nothing without intuitive ways to create new events, schedules, and alerts, and Calendars 5 does it all incredibly well.
Enter, for example, “Meet John at Starbucks on Sunday,” and the app will automatically create an event on Sunday to meet at Starbucks. Need to get a larger picture of what you have planned for the next week or month? The app has multiple views to show your schedule while utilizing the iPhone’s screen to the fullest. Was the aforementioned meeting at Starbucks supposed to be on Saturday instead? Drag the event from one day to another, and the changes will be reflected on your other devices. Edits can be made offline as well, which will then be synced the next time you have a Wi-Fi connection.
Additional features of Calendars 5 include being able to set recurring events, set custom alerts, and invite others to your events and tasks. And, more importantly, this is all done within an app featuring a design that looks and feels right at home on the iOS platform.
Tiny Calendar (free/in-app purchases)
If you need a simple alternative to the pre-loaded calendars on iPhone, you can’t go wrong with Tiny Calendar. The free version of this app lets you do all the basic things you need a calendar app to do: Work offline, sync edits and information across devices, see multiple layouts, and create reminders that will notify you either through push notifications or via email. You can use your device’s GPS to add specific locations to events, forgoing the need to look up directions later. Furthermore, you can sync Tiny Calendar with local calendars or Google Calendar, giving you more of an incentive to use it if the stock options are not to your liking.
Google Calendar (free)
You may think that Google Calendar works best for people already invested in all things Google, but that’s not necessarily true. If Gmail is your primary email service, you’ll see certain events like your upcoming flights, booked hotels, and restaurant reservations added to your Google calendar automatically. Aside from that, non-Gmail users will get the same functions out of it.
You’ll find the usual options, like being able to set reminders for upcoming events and check your to-dos scheduled for the same day as those events. There are different calendar views to show you what’s taking place on a certain day or during a specific week. Google Calendar also links seamlessly with other calendars you may use, such as Samsung’s S-Planner or Apple’s iCloud. One of the more special things Google Calendar can do, though, is the option to set personal goals. Want to run three times a week, or get in some time to play video games? The app will schedule time for those things automatically.
Unfortunately, based on user reviews, your experience may vary when it comes to how well Google Calendar actually works. Some have said that alarms and reminders have stopped working, or it doesn’t sync across devices, while others simply want additional features to make the app better. However, there are also users with no complaints who say it works as intended, and hope to continue using it. If you’re a heavy Gmail user, it’s definitely worth checking out.
aCalendar (free/in-app purchases)
The aCalendar app provides an easy way to navigate between calendar views and increments of time, which should make using the app easier and save you some precious time. It breaks down to two simple swiping motions. You swipe left/right to change between daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly views, and swipe up/down to move forward and backward in time. If you’re in the monthly view, checking your July schedule, and swipe up, you’ll smoothly transition to August, swipe down twice and you’ll be in June. The simplicity of the app doesn’t end with navigation. Double-tapping, for example, will immediately change the calendar view to a day view, instead of having to swipe left/right to achieve the same result. To add a new event, you press down for a slightly longer increment of time, while three consecutive taps can be customized to trigger certain actions.
As far as features go, the free version of aCalendar is capable of pulling birthdays from your contacts list and adding them automatically, which also includes adding photos for them. The app has several widgets, including widgets for your agenda and full-screen widgets for each of the calendar views and dates. Beyond that, you can manage your Google Calendar and set recurring events, as well as share events using either QR codes or NFC barcodes. If you want your calendar to feel more personal, there are 48 colors to choose from.
aCalendar comes with a few more features that some people may find useful, as in-app purchases. Aside from the removal of ads, aCalendar+ will provide access to advanced settings and task management, add public holidays to the calendar, and introduce several “business features,” like being able to invite attendees, link contacts, and add privacy.
Jorte Calendar & Organizer (free/in-app purchases)
Jorte aspires to be more than just a calendar. It wants to be the main organization app in your life, and the diary with which you catalog your day-to-day experiences. Available for both iOS and Android, Jorte can sync with a number of other calendars, note-taking apps, and task managers, including Google Calendar, Google Task, Evernote, and Microsoft Office. The app is also supported by a dedicated cloud service, which can be used to sync data across devices, create backups, and even share calendars with others, provided they’re also using Jorte.
Jorte is also all about personalization. It gives you dozens of colors, background images, and fonts to choose from, and even encourages you to use your own fonts. In-app purchases include additional icons, wallpapers, and themes, so it’s pretty unlikely you’ll have a hard time finding a style you like.
As far as calendar features go, Jorte doesn’t disappoint. There are monthly, weekly, and daily views, you can change the starting day of the week from Sunday, for those with weeks that don’t play out like everyone else’s, and there’s also a countdown feature that lets you know how many days are left for specific events. It also supports recurring events and provides you with the means to set events to occur every week, bi-weekly, yearly, or every first day of the month.
As if that wasn’t enough, Jorte can act as a diary as well. Photos and comments can be added to diary entries, and it can also be shared with others.
Business Calendar 2 (free/in-app purchases)
Contrary to what its name may imply, Business Calendar 2 is not strictly aimed at businesses or people who specifically need to keep track of business-related tasks and events. That said, its design and aesthetic may not appeal to everyone, as it looks like a more serious calendar app, as opposed to the colorful, and almost whimsical Jorte. Still, BC2 gets the job done as well as any other calendar app, and if you’re on Android, you couldn’t be faulted for using this Android-only app.
Business Calendar 2 comes with everything you’d want from a calendar app, including an event calendar and task management, recurring reminders and events, multiple views, and support for holidays and birthdays. Since it’s an Android app, it also comes with several widgets that can be placed on your device’s home screen to show monthly, week, and day events, or current and upcoming tasks. One unique feature BC2 has going for it is a heat map. When viewing your schedule in the year view, the heat map makes it easier to find free days that don’t currently have any plans, tasks, or events tied to them.
Like other calendar apps on this list, there’s also a pro version that brings a number of extra features to make the calendar more robust and useful. Those features include the ability to import/export calendar data in .ics and .ical formats, create repeating tasks and sub-tasks, and link contacts to specific appointments. It could be worth paying out for anyone who wants a few more personalization options.
DigiCal Calendar Agenda (free/in-app purchases)
DigiCal offers a total of seven different view modes and six customizable widgets. You can get a really detailed look at your schedule, or take it in with a quick glance. Like many others, DigiCal can sync with Google Calendar, Outlook, and Exchange, but it doesn’t appear as though you can share your calendar with others, at least not yet. That said, you can make your own local calendar that doesn’t require syncing, in case you want to keep the events in your life private.
In addition to your own plans, you can add an almost overwhelming amount of holiday, sports, and TV schedules after subscribing to a premium service. You can also take advantage of the built-in global weather forecast to avoid going out when it’s supposed to rain or snow. Additional features amount to invitation management, notifications for snooze, maps and navigation, and a built-in location search that utilizes Google Places Autocomplete.
DigiCal+, the paid version of DigiCal, costs $5 and expands on the number of features available, including two new widgets, customization options for the calendar widgets and agenda views, and a yearly view with heat map capabilities to make it easier to tell when you’re at your busiest and when you have free time. And if the color options available in the free version aren’t enough, DigiCal+ also provides seven extra widget themes and another 42 theme colors.
Awesome Calendar ($10/in-app purchases)
Awesome Calendar does a very good job of living up to its name. It’s packed with tons of features that not only make it “awesome,” but also make it invaluable to those that are always on the move and always planning something. It touts itself as being an all-in-one tool, and we’re inclined to agree. Let’s start with the main reason anyone needs a calendar app: to keep track of any and all events in your life. When you create an event and assign it to a day on the calendar, you can then add a note to it, as well as take a picture to help you remember what the event’s about. Just as quickly as you make the event, you can easily share it with others from within the app, or set additional reminders and add a helpful to do list.
Other options in this calendar app include the ability to apply stickers to calendar events to better indicate what the event is about at a glance (for example, a birthday sticker for a birthday party), the option to create customizable alarms, and the ability to display events from 1-5 years ago to relive past experiences. You can even use Awesome Calendar as a personal diary, complete with iCloud Support and passcode locks.
Awesome Calendar can sync with Google Task, and bring over calendars from MobileMe, iCloud, Google Calendar, and Exchange. As if that wasn’t enough information already, holiday, sports, and television schedules can be integrated as well. One thing every calendar app should have is daily sayings, and this particular app has a dedicated widget just for those. So when you get a reminder telling you to take your dog to the vet, you’ll get an insightful saying alongside it.
If you like your calendar apps with a good side of extra organizational tools, then you’ve definitely come to the right place. The Plan app for iOS devices is intended to work as a companion app to the main Plan website, which allows users to jot down and track all of their upcoming tasks and create a plan of attack. Plan sees itself as a peace treaty for the office work warfare, and it’s certainly good at that.
But you’re not here for a to-do list app, you’re here for a calendar app — so what’s the skinny on Plan’s calendar uses? Well, any tasks that you input into Plan shows up in its calendar view, neatly arranged into blocks depending on the time periods you selected for them. Any meetings you’ve created can be blocked into the day, so you can arrange the rest of your daily tasks around them. Need other people to be aware of certain tasks or meetings? It’s a breeze to invite them into your tasks. All-in-all, this is calendar functionality that you can find elsewhere, but it’s paired with a great productivity tool that allows you to keep your tasks well-tracked and under control. Adding a task is simple and quick, and once added, it automatically integrates into your calendar. Much easier than plotting forward and filling in the details on the exact day. If you do need to see a list of tasks, you can see that too.
Plan is free to download, and has a pricing system in place for power users. In practice though, if you’re not part of a team, then you’re unlikely to ever need to spend money on this app, as the free version is totally sufficient for single users who just want to keep an eye on their own tasks and calendar.
Simple Calendar ($1)
Simple might be as simple does, but that doesn’t always have to be an insult. In the case of Simple Calendar, it wears its simplicity on its sleeve, proud for the world to see it in all its glory. Simple Calendar is exactly that — a simple way for you to see all of your upcoming appointments, meetings, or tasks on a simple calendar interface. Where Simple Calendar differs from the other calendar apps in this round-up is its status as a completely open source, ad-free app that’s simply there to do one job and do it well.
Creating tasks is simple, and the app allows you to set a certain time period so you can see what you’re supposed to be doing and when. If it’s a regular task, you can set it to automatically repeat, and send you reminders before it’s due. You can link Simple Calendar up to CalDAV if you’re tech-savvy enough, and Simple Calendar is transparent with its permissions as well, making sure you know exactly what it needs permissions for.
There’s also a highly customizable widget included that can be resized, or altered to fit the color scheme of your phone, if that’s your bag. Simple Calendar is a simple, transparent, open source, and always-free calendar tool that offers a lot of the functionality you’d expect from some of the paid options on this list.
Organizing a family can be a real hassle, and there’s always someone that forgets to do something, no matter how many times you tell them. Help cut down on some of the hassle by using TimeTree to organize your family group. TimeTree lets you put everyone’s schedules on the same calendar, allows them to share tasks, and to create handy notes for later. You can even leave comments in the app to discuss upcoming tasks or events, making it super easy to keep everyone up-to-date.
TimeTree is available on Android, iOS, and on PCs, making it a cinch to keep everyone together, no matter their platform of choice. It even has options for sharing event details outside of the app, so you can quickly and easily share even with someone not using TimeTree — and if you’re worried about privacy, users can create multiple calendars, including their own private calendar for anything that doesn’t need to be shared with everyone.
Of course, TimeTree isn’t just useful for families; it could be used by small teams, businesses, couples, students, or even groups of friends who need to organize themselves. With such a powerful organization tool with tons of features at your disposal, TimeTree is perfect for making sure that everyone knows where they need to be.
ZenDay (free/in-app purchases)
Relax a little — there is no reason that organizing your day should be stressful. ZenDesk wants to take some of the stress out of organizing your life with an app that dynamically shifts your day, depending on the relative importance of tasks and the time left in your working hours.
ZenDay doesn’t look like regular apps. Rather than the boring, old calendar interface you might expect, ZenDay uses a 3D timeline with the future ahead of you, and the past behind. Using familiar gestures, you can zoom in on a particular day, rapidly skim through upcoming weeks, or tilt the view to see your upcoming tasks stretch away into the future. Creating a new task or event is as easy as tapping the right time in the day, and you can specify what sort of action the task requires (phone calls, physical meetings, or otherwise), or even set subtasks.
One of the most interesting options is the “Fixed” option. Let ZenDay know that a particular task isn’t fixed into a certain part of the day and it will prioritize your day for you, shifting tasks around the most important, fixed points of the day. It’s especially useful for someone who has a lot of tasks, but not enough time to organize them properly.
Not everyone is working 9 to 5, so it seems unfair that most calendar apps don’t come with an easy way for users to set up their day for irregular shift patterns. Shift.Cal aims to change that with its innovative approach to scheduling.
Shift.Cal supports setting shift patterns for up to 28 days — great if your work patterns repeat on a monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly basis — but it also has the ability to quickly and easily add new shifts. If your shift patterns regularly change from week to week, then you’re not going to want the hassle of an arduous process every time you need to input your new shifts, so Shift.Cal makes it simple.
The interface is straightforward, clean, and easy to read, it offers stats on the hours you’ve worked, as well as the details of any overtime you accumulated, so you’re always aware of what you’ve worked and when. Shift.Cal is free, and there is a paid version that cleans up the ads.
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