It’s no secret that more and more of us are feeling overscheduled and overwhelmed. And it’s not just about meetings that take place from 9 to 5. It can be a serious juggling act to try and keep tabs on everything from playdates to parties, TV show premieres to fitness classes – especially if you’re just relying on your noggin to keep all those dates and times straight.
The good news? There are a ton of helpful calendar apps out there for iOS (and Android calendar apps) to help you organize your life while also giving you a quick, at-a-glance idea of your schedule so you can figure out where to carve out some ‘me time’ too.
We’ve rounded up the five best calendar apps for iOS (iPhones and iPad) out there, based on the price, usability, design and special features that take these apps from mere schedulers to total lifesavers.
Sunrise Calendar Editor's Pick
Sunrise offers users a simple, familiar interface – allowing you to peruse your calendar by day, week or month, alongside the local weather to give you an idea of how that may impact your day. But despite its spartan design, Sunrise actually serves as a portal to link all the various digital components of your life into one seamless experience. The account you create with Sunrise is independent of any device – it’s available on your desktop, as well as both iOS or Android, if you happen to have phones for both platforms – meaning you can basically access your schedule whenever, wherever.
Beyond that, Sunrise has pursued meaningful partnerships with some of the most popular organizational apps out there. You can pull in travel details from TripIt, be alerted when your favourite artists are playing a show in your area via Songkick, sync up with your Google or iOS calendar, and even pull contact details from Facebook or LinkedIn for whoever your events are with. And those are just a fraction of the ways Sunrise has teamed up with other platforms you’re already using. The app definitely deserves recognition for its commitment to continually provides updates and new partnerships that don’t complicate the platform, but rather, effortlessly enhance it.
Compared to most calendar apps out there, Mynd is definitely one of the most visually attractive, using a mosaic layout and modern fonts to give it a unique look and feel. But Mynd’s appeal doesn’t just come from its visuals – it’s basically a personal assistant in your pocket. Each event scheduled into your app will pull data from other sources – like Google Maps / Waze / Apple Maps to give you directions and driving times, LinkedIn to give you details on who you’re meeting up with, and any relevant notes or ideas jotted down via Evernote. This data is also filtered into your Home Screen, which gives you a snapshot of your day, including how many events you’ve scheduled in, what your day looks like, who you’re meeting with, and where you’re heading.
Another nifty feature unique to Mynd is its scheduler. If you’re trying to get together with a client, supplier or even just for a social gathering, it can be a hassle to land on a time that works for everyone, resulting in a lot of annoying back-and-forth emailing. Mynd allows you to highlight the blocks of time you’re free during a day, send out an invite to whoever else you want to meet up with, letting them choose the time that works for them. You’ll receive word on who’s free and when, making scheduling a snap. One other ultra cool feature? Mynd is constantly being updated with their users, quite literally, in mind. A feedback component allows you to vote on what enhancements you’d like to see, by allocating 10 votes to some of the ideas already submitted or to an idea you’ve come up with on your own. As one minor pitfall to Mynd, it’s probably worth noting it’s a bit of a battery hog. If you seriously rely on your calendar, just make sure you have your charger handy.
Like Mynd, Cal is one of the more visually attractive options on the market. It integrates scenic imagery, grabs photos from your contacts’ online profiles so you can see who you’re meeting with, and features a unique interface that is very swipe and gesture-heavy. Cal is an ideal pick for social multi-taskers; putting contact info at your fingertips and predicting who you want to meet – it even provides ideas for nearby places to gather. Cal also identifies when someone in your contact list is celebrating a birthday and includes a built-in interface so you can send your well wishes.
Cal is actually the sister app of Any.do, another free app available for desktop and mobile platforms that encourages you to make an ongoing list of to dos and start your day off productively by planning out what you’ll tackle. Those plans are seamlessly integrated into your Cal schedule, giving you a clear picture of both the firmly scheduled parts of your day and the things you want to accomplish in between. But apart from Any.do, Cal lacks the same level of integration with other apps. With a big focus on each day, Cal may not be the ideal fit for longer-term planners; it skips the idea of a traditional full week view for a more focused look at each individual day. But if you are someone that finds their social calendar filling up on the fly, Cal is a great way to stay on top of all aspects of your life.
This slick app is ideal for busy business pros. It allows you to sync up contact info, emails and key documents so you’re prepared walking into any meeting. For a personal touch, it also grabs your contacts’ social media activities, so you can bring up the hilarious article they shared or the charity event they’re raising funds for. Tempo also provides handy directions to wherever you’re headed via Google Maps or Apple Maps. If you get caught in traffic or have some other holdup, with a single tap you can fire off a quick note to everyone you’re supposed to be meeting with, indicating how late you’ll be.
One of Tempo’s greatest features is how little effort is required to interact with it. Its unique ‘Action Alerts’ give you single-touch access to conference calls (including pesky codes) as well as access to other info, like whether the flight you’re catching or picking someone up from is going to be on time. Like Cal, Tempo has put an extra emphasis on looks; integrating imagery from your contacts as well as beautiful scenic ‘wish you were here?’ photos as a visual break from your busy schedule.
As one of the most popular calendar apps out there, Fantastical 2 (so named for its redesign to align with iOS 7) deserves a mention on this list. For one thing, it builds on the interface of Apple’s existing Calendar app to create something familiar and user-intuitive. The handy ticker at the top gives you a micro snapshot of your day, and scrolling through your reminders and events per day or week is ridiculously simple. It also offers many of the features the other calendar apps highlighted in this post do - like the option to open up Google Maps, the ability to send birthday wishes from within the app, and seamless integration with iOS Reminders.
Although Fantastical 2 is a very powerful app, it’s hard to say it’s loaded with the types of bells and whistles that may overwhelm some users. Everything about the app feels easy-to-use, including the ability to type and speak your event to conversationally capture the fine details, or the customization options that allow you to tailor the app’s look and feel to your preferences. The one downfall for Fantastical 2 is its price tag. While the app offers a lovely, clean design and extremely user-friendly interface, the free apps highlighted in this article do the same - if not better.
There are literally hundreds of calendar apps on the App Store. Yet as we’ve shown here, each of them offers something a little unique that may work better for different users.
Sunrise is the clear utility player of the bunch; its cross-platform functionality alone makes it worth checking out. But don’t be shy about taking the other apps for a spin – Mynd is ideal for those constantly on the go, Cal is perfect for particularly social folks, and Tempo is suited to professional types. If you want to go with a product that is tried, tested and beloved, paid app Fantastical 2 may be a safe choice.
Have a favourite calendar app that didn’t make the list or enjoy one of the apps we've chosen above? Let us know in the comments below!