Deciding which calendar app to use on your iPhone isn’t simple. The App Store has a huge variety of third-party apps that add features and functions default apps don’t offer. While you can’t replace the default app due to Apple restrictions, these popular calendar apps for iPhone are a glimpse of what the default app could be.
1. Fantastical 2
Nearly every list of the best calendar apps for the iPhone includes Fantastical 2. Full of features, customizations and natural language support, it’s excellent. The magic starts with the popular DayTicker layout. This all-in-one view of your upcoming schedule is in a word, beautiful. There’s also syncing with Apple’s built-in reminders app for a dual calendar/to-do list.
Support for natural language is another homerun. Instead of typing in the specifics of your event, write “dinner with mom on Saturday at 7 pm” and the app takes care of the rest. There’s recognition for holidays, locations, repeating events and even support for geofence alerts. But wait, don’t forget support for Google Maps, Apple Maps and 1Password.
2. Calendars 5
If you need a calendar app that can display your entire day’s schedule in a single glance, Calendars 5 is your next download. You can list your events by day, week, month or “timeline,” which lists all upcoming events. With natural language support, adding new events is as easy as typing (or saying) “lunch meeting with the team at 2 pm in the conference room.” With support for Apple’s Reminders app, it is also easy to see all your tasks alongside upcoming meetings.
Want to quickly reschedule an appointment? It’s as easy as heading to week view and dragging an event to a different time or day. As the date or time changes, Calendars 5 sends a notification to anyone tagged on the event. Events can be pulled from Apple’s own calendar app, Google Calendar, Exchange, Yahoo, Facebook, Outlook or AOL, making this one of the most connected calendar apps today.
Avid notebook users likely know the Moleskine name for their beautiful products. Fortunately, they also make a great calendar app. Syncing with iCloud, Facebook and Google Calendar, Timepage by Moleskine is a unique entry on this list. For $1.99 a month, you’ll receive a self-described “stunning design” that helps you see the week at a glance. Alternatively, you can see your availability over the next five or ten days for quickly planning the rest of your week.
The monthly “heatmap” is unique to Timepage, helping you see uncover the most common times and days of the week you’re available. It’s not foolproof, but it might help carve out some “me” time in your day. That you get all of this, plus extras like natural language support, makes Timepage another much-loved calendar app. As a bonus, there’s even a beautiful Apple Watch app complete with detailed weather info.
4. Google Calendar
Google Calendar is often thought of as the foundation of competitive calendar apps, but it’s worth a second look. Featuring a bright and clean interface, the app incorporates beautiful images and vibrant colors to stand out. Direct integration with Gmail makes it an attractive option for individuals entrenched in Google’s ecosystem. Pulling info right from Gmail automatically creates calendar events for hotels, flights, and dinner reservations.
Like previous list entries, Google Calendar contains natural language support. As a visual perk, any travel entry pulled from Gmail is matched with beautiful imagery. Taking a trip to Atlanta? Google Calendar will pull a picture of downtown Atlanta and overlay it onto your calendar event. It’s a gimmicky addition, but its uniqueness makes Google Calendar stand out.
5. Vantage Calendar
Visually different from other calendar apps, Vantage Calendar uses “stacks” to see your upcoming events. Clicking on each “stack” opens it to see the entire day’s events. Incorporating colors and stickers to make every entry unique, Vantage puts its own spin on the calendar app.
Vantage also allows users to “tag” events in groups by color. You can make easily separated professional and personal calendars by selecting different colors for entries. Add in a beautiful widget that lives in the notification center and support for iCloud, Google and Exchange, and Vantage is a clear winner as a calendar app that’s refreshingly simple.
Honorable Mention: Apple Calendar
Apple’s built-in Calendar app immediately grabs you by showing today’s date right on its icon. It’s the only calendar app that can do that. As the default app, it adds deep integration with Apple’s ecosystem (including other default apps like Mail). And with real-time Apple Maps traffic data, you’ll always know exactly when to leave for your next appointment.
You can easily see all of your events in different views including day or list. Event data is pulled from Google Calendar, iCloud (of course), Exchange, Yahoo or any CalDAV-enabled service. Since it’s free, it’s easy to see why millions of iPhone users stick to the basics. If Apple ever gets around to adding natural language support, third-party apps better look out.
No matter which third-party calendar app you choose, you’re going to enjoy a better design and view of your calendar events. Third-party additions like natural language parsing and built-in reminders make it even easier to switch over to one of these excellent apps. However, if you want to stick with what you know, you still can’t go wrong with the built-in app. Now, if only Apple would let us change the default apps.