Do you use a calendar app on your phone? I'm going to take a look at Fantastical 2, a calendar app for iOS and Mac.
Calendars are one of the most useful and used apps on a device, simply because they help us keep track of what we’re doing; and because we use it so often, it helps to have an app that you enjoy using.
I use Fantastical 2 on my iPhone and Mac, and it’s also available on the iPad.
I know what you're going to say - "I already have a calendar app, that’s pre-installed". Absolutely; but I find the native Apple app very flat, and since I have multiple calendars, not easy to manage. Not only that, but adding events to the calendar is really rather clunky.
With Fantastical 2, one of the major benefits is the ability to use natural language to enter events. Just type "Lunch with Jack tomorrow at 1pm" and the event will be created.
Maybe you have a recurring appointment; just add "Tennis every wednesday at 7pm" and the event will be created on a repeating schedule.
With the app open, just click the '+' and start typing. You'll see the details populate as you type - it's quite clever. If you have multiple calendars, you can select which one you'd like to use.
Of course, you can also invite others to the same event, by entering their email address. When they reply, the event will be updated automatically.
Looking at the iPhone version; Since it works with existing accounts, as created in my iPhone settings, then it's easy to see each calendar. The number of settings is quite ridiculous, giving granular control of how you are alerted to events; whether you want to see the number of remaining events, or tasks or both. You can set the view to monthly or weekly, just by turning the phone on its side (or a quick swipe down).
If you have reminders set, which, let's face it, most of us will have a notification of an event, then you can set Fantastical 2 to remind you when you reach a specific location. Handy if you don't want to be disturbed.
You can choose your default maps application, to open directions; from either Apple Maps or Google Maps. You can also choose the default browser, for opening links.
If you prefer your app theme to be dark, then Fantastical 2 offers this option too.
On the Mac, things work slightly differently. You can still use natural language to create your events, and the breadth of customisations is remarkable.
On the one hand, you can set the badge app icon to display remaining events, or reminders, but you can also have multiple calendars that will show up depending on your location.
For example, I have a work calendar, that will automatically be displayed when I arrive in the office. This allows me to concentrate on what's ahead of me for the day, and not be distracted by personal events. When I return home, my personal calendar will be displayed.
Calendars can also be set up in 'sets', which allows me to limit certain calendar views.
Calendars I've subscribed to can also be set up within these 'sets', so I can see them too.
The Mac app also offers the choice of light or dark theme.
Then there's the quick-access mini window, which is accessed via the menu bar - this icon also displays todays date. Within this mini window, there's a text bar at the top, so you can quickly enter an event without going to the full calendar.
You can also view maps of the locations for your events.
You can set your notifications to remind you when it's time to leave; which can be a great help when you need to be somewhere.
iPad and Watch
Fantastical 2 is also available on the iPad - using the iOS version of the software, but the formatting is specific to the iPad, and looks terrific.
If you use Apple Watch, then there’s also an app for that. You can use force-touch on the screen to add events via speech; and you'll receive notifications directly on your wrist too.
OK. So I've talked through some of the functionality, but what does this cost. This is one of those apps that, on the Mac at least, has quite a high initial cost - at £39. However, before you all start shouting at me, bear in mind that this is a one-off cost. If you consider this against subscription models for other productivity apps, which charge annually, then this works out quite reasonably. The iOS and iPad cost are between £3 and £4.
We shouldn't baulk at these costs. Developers spend a lot of time and effort creating these apps, so why should we get them for free. In fact, the people that make Fantastical 2, flexibits, regularly release updates, which is always nice to see.
Now, of course, there are plenty of alternatives which offer similar functionality.
Firstly, as I mentioned earlier, there's the built in calendar apps. They're quite plain, and I don't get on with them very well. But, they are free to download and use and functional.
Google Calendar is also free to use (as is all of Googles suite of software). It's a very capable calendar, but isn't quite as polished as Fantastical 2, and there is no natural language capability. It does offer integration with Apple Health to track your workouts. You can also use Google Calendar via the browser on your PC or laptop.
Calendars by Readdle is available for iPhone and iPad (but not the Mac) and costs £6.99. It's a suitable calendar, but I find it's not as good an experience as Fantastical 2, and again, there is no natural calendar entry.
As you might have guessed; I like Fantastical 2. The one huge benefit is the ability to capture events using natural language. Typing in the way that you speak makes it easier and quicker to enter the details. I also appreciate the high cost of entry could be a turn off for many.
I hope you’ve found this post interesting.
Do you use Fantastical 2, or can you recommend a calendar app that you use. If you have any questions about Fantastical 2 or any other calendar app, then please get in touch via the Contact Me button at the top of the page.
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