Friday, February 3, 2012

Recommended Calendar Apps for iPhone

The calendar app that comes with iOS is plain, and has many shortcomings: the interface for creating new appointments is clumsy, the colour-coding is not visible in month view, and there’s no week view at all, to name a few.

Here are some notes on popular calendar apps I’ve tried and can (mostly) recommend.

  • Calvetica Classic is what I currently use and recommend for iPhone. As far as I can tell, it’s identical to Tempus (made by the same developer) but for some reason costs less. (Tempus may be the one that gets more maintenance attention from the developers in the future, however). Calvetica Classic’s interface is designed to be quick and easy to use, and to look attractive. It also happens to be reasonably prompt about automatic syncing — which, surprisingly, not all apps are (see below).

    The reason for the “Classic” version is that the makers of Calvetica made a New-Coke-style error when they redesigned and rewrote the app for the new version 4.0. The regressions in the interface and buggy experience of the new version apparently left a lot of users clamouring for the old version, and from what I can tell, the developers responded by offering both Calvetica Classic and Tempus. I haven’t used the new version, but the reviews on the App Store currently show that it still needs a good bit of bug fixing, especially on the iPad.

  • The other really good option out there is Week Calendar. I haven’t tried it personally, but this one has been recommended by Lifehacker, and has hundreds of great reviews (many more than any version of Calvetica), so it must work well. The only reason I didn’t go for it was that Calvetica is faster for adding events1, and Calvetica just looks more cool and elegant.

  • Agenda was recommended recently on Daring Fireball and was actually the first calendar app I used after getting our phones’ sync configured. It’s not as quick to use as Calvetica[^1], but it looks gorgeous, and swiping between month/week/day view is almost too good to give up. The app otherwise great except for one major thing: it’s terrible at automatic calendar syncing, especially when an event on a shared calendar is being deleted. In my experiments Agenda would not automatically sync until I had either shut down the app and restarted it, or until I had opened the default Calendar app (which triggers its own sync). You can also use the “shake phone to sync” feature of Agenda, but honestly, all three of these things are ridiculous.

  1. Note that if you have an iPhone 4S, you can set up new events very easily on your default calendar with Siri, no matter what app you use. 

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