Calendars seem like a fairly basic technology on the surface, but if it were that easy to make a good calendar program, there would presumably be more worthy alternatives to Google Calendar. It’s simple, effortlessly cross-platform, shareable, tweakable, and comes with a boatload of random helpful features and integrations, and there’s honestly no perfect clone out there. There are, however, a few that come quite close, so if you’re looking to make the switch with minimal friction, check out the four Google Calendar alternatives below.
1. Outlook Calendar
If you’re hunting for a Google Calendar replacement, you may not be thrilled about jumping directly into the arms of Microsoft. I get it. Outlook Calendar is, however, a very solid free Google Calendar alternative. You can schedule meetings, create multiple calendars, share schedules, view multiple calendars in one, sync with Internet calendars (including Google if you make the switch), set email reminders, and generally do a lot of what you can do with Google Calendar. It comes with a lot of integrations as well, so it’s easy to make it play nice with other services, especially Outlook mail, which can, as with Gmail and Google Calendar, automatically generate meetings using emails.
The free web-based version is fairly sleek and easy to use, with a few clunky navigation exceptions (sharing a link to a calendar, for example, requires you to dig through a settings menu) and it’s also available as a free app for Android and iOS, integrated with the Outlook email app. It even works with Apple Watch. Desktop programs for Windows and Mac are also available with a paid Office 365 plan.
2. Zoho Calendar
Zoho isn’t exactly a household name, but its large suite of products has stayed current enough to be competitive. Its calendar is easy to use, looks pretty nice, has powerful sharing features (plus embedding!), lets you sync with external calendars, and includes meeting scheduling and group coordination features. Importing and syncing make it pretty straightforward to push events from other calendars, like Google and Outlook, into Zoho, making the transition easier. The “smart add” feature is also fantastic – you can just type in something like “meeting with Bob on Friday at 10AM,” and it’ll go on the calendar without any “create event” rigamarole.
Apps are available for Android and iOS, and while they’re fairly light on features compared to the web versions, they work fairly well. You’ll have to register a Zoho email address to use them, though.
3. Nextcloud Calendar
The ideal Nextcloud setup actually involves you running the software on your own server, giving you full data control at all times. It’s easy to get started with that, and the calendar itself has a nice, clean design. Syncing, sharing, inviting, scheduling – it’s all here, and it should easily meet standards for any moderate calendar user, though power users may come across little missing features (like setting the first day of the week) here and there.
The software is free and open source, which is a big mark in its favor. The big downside is that there’s no mobile app (for the calendar part), so you’ll have to sync your mobile phone using the CalDAV standard, which is a technical challenge that not everyone may be up to. CalDAV is built into iOS, though, and the DAVx5 app can be sideloaded from the F-Droid store for free or bought on some other app store.
While paying for a premium plan will get you access to a lot more business-grade features, Teamup’s free calendar service works well for smaller groups. It actually allows you to create and manage calendars without even signing up, and it has some seriously powerful calendar management and sharing features. You can use it for your personal calendar, of course, but its scheduling, access management, and event coordination features really shine for groups, whether it’s a business or a class. You can even share individual events as standalone web pages – Google Calendar doesn’t even do that!
It can be a bit clunky to navigate at first, but once you figure out that you have to press the hamburger button on the top right, go to Settings, and then navigate to different parts of the settings menu with another hamburger button on the top right, you’ll realize how many features are hiding out of sight. The Android and iOS apps are also surprisingly good. They don’t suffer from as much feature loss as some other calendar apps seem to.
Teamup works very well alongside other calendars, acting as a team/event management extension. I find the system isn’t quite what I need to keep track of personal day-to-day stuff, but Teamup works great if you need to quickly organize a group of people.
How do I make the switch?
You won’t have to manually bring all your events and meetings over to your new calendar. Most of these Google Calendar alternatives allow you to import an iCal file, which you can easily export from Google calendar. This will also sync your events from your Google calendar to your new one, so you don’t have to make the transition all at once.
You can also use iCal syncs to feed different calendars into each other, so if you find that a single app doesn’t fill the Google-sized hole in your life, you can attempt to stitch together a Frankenstein-like maze of different calendars to do the job.