There are plenty of calendar apps out there, each one with a different aesthetic and feature set. But what are the best ones, and how do you decide which is right for your scheduling needs?
Start by considering what you need the app to do. Do you need a calendar you can share with your household or one that you can integrate with work apps? Do you just want a simple calendar, or are you looking for more comprehensive scheduling and planning features? Once you know what you want, start comparing your wishlist with what’s available.
To get you started, here are 10 of the top calendar apps out there. These productivity apps and calendar software are easy to use, built with the user in mind and enhanced with a variety of convenient features.
Android and iOS: Free
As one of the most popular planner apps on the market, the main appeal of Google Calendar is its ease of use. You log in using your Google account and from there you can start creating calendars right away.
Google also gives you plenty of flexibility to use your calendars in a way that works for you. You might just create one calendar and put all of your events on it, like a kitchen calendar you carry around in your pocket. You can also create multiple calendars, one for each aspect of your life, so you can view them separately or together when necessary.
Google Calendar lets you import other people’s calendars and follow public or private shared calendars. If you’re involved in a team or club that has a shared Google Calendar, you can import that calendar into yours and never miss a meeting again. You can also import individual events using ICS or CSV files.
In Google Calendar, sharing works both ways. You can export any of your Google calendars to almost any other calendar or website of your choosing. You have to do it via browser, not on the app, but it’s still quick and easy.
Automatic event generation is one of Google Calendar's best features. If you use Gmail, for example, you can set Google Calendar to automatically import events from your inbox (think flight confirmations, concert tickets, etc.).
You can also connect your Google Calendar with most major productivity apps, including scheduling apps like Calendly and to-do list apps like Trello, so you can easily auto-create events for your meetings and due dates.
Google Calendar is easy to get. If you have an Android device, you already have Google Calendar pre-installed, and it’s free to download on iOS. The web interface is accessible to anyone with a Google account, which is also simple to create.
Android and iOS: Free or with subscription
For most of its existence, Microsoft Outlook was primarily a work email platform, used mostly because it made internal communications easier. Over the past few years, though, Microsoft has made significant improvements to Outlook’s calendar function, making it a formidable planner app in its own right.
Today’s Outlook calendar is streamlined and professional-looking with plenty of options for viewing your schedule:
View by month, week, workweek or day
See individual calendars side-by-side or overlaid
View schedules for groups or shared resources (conference rooms, etc.)
Outlook also offers one-click event creation. Just click on a time slot and start typing; Outlook will automatically set up the event. Within the event view, you can add more details like reminders and color-coding for easy organization.
Unsurprisingly, most of Outlook’s best features still have to do with work. One of the most useful is the meeting request function, which lets you suggest a time and send an invitation to the participants’ inboxes.
Participants can accept or decline your invitation with a single click. They also have the option, if you grant permission, to propose an alternative time if their calendar shows a conflict.
Outlook’s “delegate access" lets someone else create, change or delete appointments and manage meetings on your calendar. This feature alone could make Outlook the calendar app for you if you have an assistant or work in partnership with someone.
If you or your company has an Office 365 subscription, you already have an Outlook calendar. If not, you can get it as a free download from iOS or Android. The calendar comes packaged with Outlook email, which is also worth a try.
Android and iOS: Free, subscription or purchase
With Informant 5 (also known as Pocket Informant or just Informant on your favorite app store) you get your choice of a simple calendar app or a fully integrated to-do list manager. The basic calendar app is free, but you need the paid version to access features like a to-do list, notepad and contacts manager.
Informant 5 for iOS has a sleek, modern interface, recently re-designed for ease of use. If you have a paid version, you can navigate the app’s many functions with the new SmartBar, a single-button tool that lets you find any calendar view as well as tasks, contacts or notes with one hand.
The recent iOS update also gives you access to a feature called Triggers, formerly known as Templates. With Triggers, you can create a format to use for related events.
For example, if you want choir practice to always have an attachments section for music, or if you want gardening club meetings to always be highlighted in green, all you need to do is create “choir” and “gardening” triggers. Informant 5 will automatically structure those events according to your specifications.
Like the app’s iOS version, Informant 5 for Android features a recently redesigned interface with sliding navigation. Move with a single swipe from one day, week or month to the next.
Informant 5 for Android also gives you plenty of customization options, including:
Choice of theme
Multiple calendar views, like week, day, month, agenda and more
Customized multi-day view
Already using the Google Calendar app that came with your Android device? Informant 5 can easily sync with it, so you can manage your events in Informant's streamlined interface.
Whether you have iOS or Android, you can subscribe to Informant Sync for $24.99 and connect your Informant app across devices. Apple users can choose a monthly subscription, but Android users must subscribe yearly.
The free version of Informant 5 offers basic calendar functionality. The subscription version costs $2.99 a month and adds features like multiple calendars, tasks, contacts and notes. You also have the option to buy Informant for $24.99. When you do that, the advanced functions are yours to keep.
Android and iOS: Free
TimeTree markets itself as “a calendar made for sharing.” It was built to help users manage multiple calendars and share them with different groups of people. That means you can have one calendar that you manage with your household, another that you coordinate with your basketball league and even a work calendar for your whole department.
TimeTree's features are all about collaboration. A few popular functions include:
Event chat: Every event in TimeTree comes with a chat room. Send comments, images and ideas for an upcoming conference call or keep records of past meetings.
Keep: With this feature, you can start planning an event, then pause preparations and save it for later. Store all of your notes and lists so that when you pick it up again, you have everything you need. No more pressure to schedule prematurely.
Feed: See the progress on all of your events at a glance. Find out who’s made progress on what without having to search through multiple calendars.
TimeTree is ideal for busy people from all walks of life, and it’s extremely flexible. It works for professional teams and families alike, and there aren’t many calendars that can do that.
The main downside to TimeTree is that everyone on your shared calendar has to open an account to use it, but making an account is free.
Android and iOS: Free or $29.99 per year for Cozi Gold
If you’re looking primarily for shared calendars, consider the popular Cozi family organizer.
Cozi’s primary feature is the shared family calendar. Everyone gets their own color so you can easily see who each appointment belongs to. You can even set up reminders and emails to go out to the right people.
The primary drawback of Cozi as a planner is that you only get the one shared calendar. There’s no way to get a second calendar for work or activities, so if you need multiple calendars, you’ll have to get a separate calendar app.
The upside of Cozi is that in addition to a shared calendar, you also get unlimited shared to-do lists. If you give a to-do list item a due date, Cozi will add it to your shared calendar. Add in Cozi’s pre-built planning checklists and you can use Cozi for all of your family scheduling needs.
For $29.99 a year, you can remove ads on Cozi and get a number of additional features, including:
Quick-search of your shared calendar
Up to three reminders for appointments
Notifications whenever calendar events change
Birthday and age tracker
Shared address book
Grocery list “shopping mode”
Not sure if your household needs Cozi Gold? Try it for 14 days free.
Android and iOS: Free or $5.99 for upgraded plan
If you want a calendar app with to-do functionality but don’t want it to be quite so family-focused, Any.do could be your answer.
Any.do’s calendar used to be a separate app called Cal, but it’s now combined with the to-do app to create one simple life management tool.
As you might expect from a calendar app that was once a to-do list app, Any.do offers a lot of notification and reminder functions, including:
A reminder to preview your agenda every day
Options to add travel time when scheduling
A home screen widget to see your calendar, schedule and tasks all at once
Any.do’s reminder options are very user-friendly. You can set up one-time prompts or repeat reminders for recurring tasks, often with a single touch. Want a reminder at a particular time? Tap later today, this evening or tomorrow to get a notification.
If you’re already using another calendar like Google Calendar, iCal or Outlook, Any.do can integrate with all of these tools.
Any.do works through Zapier to connect your calendar and to-do list with more than 2,000 apps. Possibilities include:
12 Google Calendar integrations
10 Microsoft Outlook integrations
12 Gmail integrations
10 Evernote integrations
36 Trello integrations
18 Slack integrations
Of course, this is just a small sampling of what you can do. Check out Zapier to find out if the apps you love can connect to Any.do.
Any.do is free to use, but like Cozi, you can get more out of it with a paid option. Premium subscribers have the options to:
Choose custom themes
Set recurring tasks for customized durations
Set location-based reminders
Attach without size limits
Share, chat and delegate tasks with other users
Premium is well worth the money if you need a shared calendar and to-do list manager.
Android and iOS: Free with paid Premium upgrade available
iStudiez Pro is a great student-oriented planner that offers cross-platform functionality and can accommodate different types of student schedules, from high school to college and beyond.
One look at iStudiez Pro shows you that its designers had students in mind. The overview screen lets you choose a daily or weekly view and the daily schedule view highlights classes and assignment deadlines. You get a month view too, in case you want to see the macro and micro at one time.
The Assignments tab in iStudiez Pro shows you any homework and projects that are coming up. You can view by the due date, course or priority. Set yourself notifications and add project partners to make communication easy.
Your Planner tab is how you view your grades. See your GPA and all of your course grades at a glance, then click on a course to see more detail. Use iStudiez Pro’s unique Grades Graph to see if you’re slipping or soaring.
When you’re part of a group project, iStudiez Pro makes coordinating simple. You can share your schedules with classmates, friends in extracurriculars and more.
If you’re on another calendar like Google or Mac OS, you can import those events so you don’t double-book yourself. Have a family planning calendar? Share your iStudiez Pro schedule so everyone knows where you are.
Download iStudiez Pro on Google Play or the App Store. Don’t forget to get the desktop version too. That way you can check out assignment details while doing homework (without getting distracted by your phone).
24Me calls itself a “smart personal assistant,” and it’s another app geared toward busy professionals.
This one goes beyond basic calendar functions. You still get all the basics of course—events, tasks, notes, etc.—but with more bells and whistles than many other calendar apps. Colors are bright and you even get a “whoosh” sound every time you check off a task.
This app has received accolades and feature mentions from USA Today, CNN, Forbes, TechCrunch and more.
Because it’s primarily a virtual assistant app, 24Me’s feature set focuses on helping you manage your events. You can:
Take notes, make appointments and create tasks through Alexa or Siri
Figure out when you should leave for appointments based on traffic and weather
Attach notes and due dates to your tasks
Set reminder alarms
Choose task types like meet, call, errand, gift and text—the associated word will show up when the task is due
Enjoy an information-rich event view with location and embedded navigation
24Me doesn’t offer multiple native calendars, but it does let you sync other calendars like Google calendar, iCloud, Outlook and more. You can view and manage them all within the app without switching between platforms.
Have a calendar you just can’t give up? 24Me can sync with Google Calendar, Outlook, iCal and Exchange.
24Me also connects to other apps that help you manage your life. Link to Facebook and 24Me will give you reminders about birthdays. Connect with TaskRabbit and hire people to do the jobs that you can’t get around to. You can even connect 24Me to your banks and credit cards to get reminders of upcoming bills due or expiring rewards.
The primary downside of 24Me is that it’s only for iOS. You can download it for free on the App Store, but if you’re only on Android, you’re out of luck.
Android: Free or $6.99 for Pro version
For Android users who can’t use 24Me, Business Calendar 2 is a great alternative. The app is just what it sounds like: it’s designed to make your work schedule as easy to manage as possible.
With Business Calendar 2, you can create and edit your work events with just a few touches. You could:
Drag a rescheduled event to another day or time
Swipe to switch between the day, week, month and year views
Easily show periods of one to 14 days
Use widgets for one-glance schedule referencing
Just remembered an appointment while driving? Business Calendar 2 even lets you add an event using your digital voice assistant.
Download Business Calendar 2 on the Google Play store.
Android and iOS: Free or tiered subscription
There's a reason why Jorte looks and feels different from most other calendar apps: Its developers started by examining paper organizers to find out why they work so well. The result is an app that's easy to use and highly customizable, just like your favorite paper calendar.
Jorte's free version is somewhat limited, but the paid plan has enough advanced features to make it worth the price.
The app was originally developed in Japan. Because people use Jorte all over the world, the feature set reflects the diverse tastes of its users. Depending on your subscription level, you’ll get functionalities like:
Personalized featured pictures on your daily calendar
Shareable links to events
Options to record your life in a personal diary
Saved event titles, locations and times so you can add repeat events faster
Some of the features are the same as you’d find on US-developed apps, but some aren’t. That’s part of what makes this app so unique and such fun to use.
At some membership levels, you can sync Jorte with your Outlook calendar. You’ll enjoy the professional functionality of Outlook with the personalized style of Jorte. Paid memberships also let you integrate Evernote so you can add notes.
Jorte lets you subscribe to a variety of event calendars, from top song lists by Amazon to weather forecasts from around the world. Get updates from the US, UK, Japan and beyond.
You can download Jorte for free, but you have to upgrade to a paid plan to get most of the available features. Options for paid plans include:
Jorte Buffet: Download icons and themes a la carte at $1.99 per month
Jorte Plus: Enjoy Jorte’s most popular paid features including ad-free use, extra calendars and push notifications at $3.99 per year
Jorte Premium: Get all available features including task list functionality, advanced customization options and Evernote attachments at $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year
All of these planner apps have a free version, so don't be afraid to check them out to figure out which one suits your needs best. Sometimes the only way to know if a calendar works for you is to try it.
Good luck, and happy planning!
About the Author
The apps featured here work as business hacks and help you use your time wisely.
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