A few weeks ago, I wrote an article on the best calendar app for iPhone. While considering all the different options, I started to come across a lot of macOS alternatives. For some reason, the built-in calendar for Mac hasn’t worked very well for me lately, so I figured I’d look at which is the best calendar app for Mac.
I know everyone uses their calendar in different ways. Some people like to manage all of their tasks from there. Others only have their official meetings. Others plan every hour of the day. As I always say when I write articles like this, it is purely opinion based for me. I have my own way of managing my agenda, and that will undoubtedly skew my opinions. I keep all my tasks in a separate app, so I only use it for appointments. So let’s go: what’s the best calendar app for Mac?
Of all the calendar apps on macOS, Apple’s built-in calendar is probably the most widely used. It’s built into every Mac and syncs with iCloud, Google Calendar, Yahoo, Exchange, and CalDAV servers in general. On the surface, it does whatever you want it to do. It works reliably with multiple calendars, it’s relatively easy to enter new appointments and rearrange events.
My problem with Apple Calendar is that it doesn’t do anything to stand out other than being the default app. In many ways, this has felt stagnant for years. The last update for new features was a few years ago when it received time travel alerts. We went through two full years without a single new feature (apart from dark mode).
I know calendar apps are mature, but there’s no reason Apple can’t keep tweaking or redesigning some aspects of the app. The application seems “heavy” to me and I would like to see a lighter version (menu bar?). There are many features of other third party apps that Apple could easily copy.
As I mentioned in my iPhone Calendar roundup, Fantastical on iPhone is fantastic. The Mac counterpart is no different. It is a “fantastic calendar”. It includes all the features of Apple Calendar (time travel, support for iCloud, Google, Exchange, Office 365, etc., and a dark mode).
On top of that, Fantastical has some features that set it apart from the Apple Calendar. I like the natural language entry that it includes. You can easily add dates just by typing in what you need to add (dinner with dad tomorrow at 7pm), and it will analyze what you mean. My favorite feature of Fantastical is the menu bar version. In Fantastical 1.0, this was the only way to use the app. In version 2, they added a full view. The menu bar version is my favorite way to use it, however. I don’t have a lot of appointments, but this quick view allows me to quickly see my day ahead and make any necessary adjustments.
In the latest updates, Fantastical has built a weather forecast into the calendar so you can know if you need to bring an umbrella for your next meeting without checking out different apps. And like Apple Maps, Fantastical will show you local weather for other locations when the address is part of the calendar entry.
Another well-implemented feature is meeting scheduling. Fantastical now includes meeting proposals, making it easy to ask people what dates or times are right for them for a meeting. The app allows you to create a proposal with multiple times and others will be prompted to choose the times that suit them. Once everyone has responded and a common time is found, the proposal can automatically be turned into an event and added to your calendar.
Overall, it’s just a great calendar app. Flexibits has spared no effort in taking the foundation Apple built with its calendar app and taking it to the next level. If you want to manage your tasks in Fantastical, you can integrate it with Reminders, Todoist, and Google Calendar (the latter two require Fantastical Premium).
Fantastic for Mac is free on the App Store, and there is a free trial of Fantastical Premium to unlock many additional features like an iOS version, interesting calendar subscriptions, 10 day weather forecast (the free version includes 3 days), a plug Full task support for Todoist and Google Calendar, templates and more.
BusyCal has been around on Mac for years. I think the original version was released on OS X Leopard. Before that, BusySync connected to iCal to share it on a local network. Needless to say, the development team has been on the Mac calendar scene for quite some time. It had been many years since I had used it, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started testing it.
Like Apple Calendar and Fantastical, it has integrated all of my calendars (Google and iCloud), but it supports Exchange, Outlook, Yahoo, etc. At first glance, it looks a lot like Apple Calendar. It has your sidebar with calendar lists, a main window (with multiple display options), and it also includes support for Apple reminders. However, it does add a unique feature that I fell in love with: it includes a ten day weather forecast. This feature is one of those things you will wonder how you ever lived without.
BusyCal supports natural language input through its quick entry box. The Apple Calendar works pretty much the same here. The menu bar app also supports it. Elsewhere, BusyCal offers many of the same features as Fantastical: support for time travel and calendar sets.
BusyCal offers a 30-day free trial, and it’s available to purchase for $ 49.99.
While I love Outlook on iOS, I’m not a huge fan of the macOS version. When considering only the calendar, I think it makes sense to use it if you want to use Outlook for email and you not need to synchronize ICloud Calendars. Outlook can only synchronize Exchange and Google Calendars.
Overall, it’s nothing I want to spend a lot of time with. If you live in the corporate email world, you might like Outlook. If this is the case for you, Outlook Calendars might be the best solution.
If you have a busy schedule, Weekly cal may be an app you want to check out. It includes a number of different views (week, list, month, calendar, etc.). The weekly view is probably the most interesting. You can see your entire view from one screen. Additionally, you can drag and drop events to new dates / times.
It lacks a natural language entry, but it does have a calendar store. The store is an exciting add-on. You can add things like weather forecasts, famous birthdays, sports calendars, and more to your list. In addition, it includes macOS widgets, meeting sharing on iMessage, email and WhatsApp, and the ability to join a one-click video conference for Zoom, Teams, and more.
If you have a lot events on your calendar, I strongly recommend that you check out Week Calendar. It’s a free download, and WeekCal Pro (widgets, smart calendars, built-in reminders, etc.) costs just $ 19.99 per year.
What’s the best calendar app for Mac?
There are a lot of great calendar apps on Mac. For some, Apple’s calendar is the perfect solution. If you want more customization and options, I highly recommend checking out Fantastical, WeekCal, or BusyCal. All three options provide multiple key benefits and advantages depending on how you use your calendar.
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