Apple Calendar follows Apple's design policy. A minimalistic layout with bare minimum features that will get the job done. Unfortunately, Apple has largely ignored the Calendar app forcing users to look for alternatives. One such app is Calendars 5, which comes with a plethora of options. Now that might make you wonder if you should switch from Apple Calendar to Calendars 5.
Both Apple Calendar and Calendars 5 apps are available for macOS users only. I wish Calendars 5 was available on Android, considering how good other Readdle apps are. Let's see what Apple Calendar and Calendars 5 have to offer, how they differ, and which one you should use.
1. User Interface
Apple Calendar has a functional and easy to use UI. You can easily switch between month and day view. If you don't want to zoom in, tap the Event icon to view all events for the day selected in the month view itself.
Inside the Today view, you can tap on the list icon to view all events, including upcoming events, in a nice little list. There is no drop-down menu to select different views on any screen.
The bottom bar houses options to add or manage calendars, quickly jump to Today view from any screen, and Inbox where you will find all invitations.
Calendars 5 offers a top bar to switch between different views and bottom bar to change months.
There is a plus icon to create events or tasks quickly and a menu on the left to access settings and other stuff. I would say that Calendars 5 has a better and more colorful design that is aesthetically pleasing. That should make it clear which app should favor your usage based on how you prefer to view and access your information.
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2. Creating Events and Tasks
Apple Calendar app covers all the bases. Tap the '+' icon to create an event where you can add location, attachments (only local and iCloud), and invite users. There is a feature called Travel time, which will try and estimate the travel time, depending on the location you have set. That time will be blocked in your calendar. Quite thoughtful.
Note that Apple Calendar only works with Apple Maps for location information and not Google Maps. While Apple has updated its Maps app recently, it is still nowhere near the current world leader.
Calendars 5 understands natural language, so you use that to create events more easily. Names, locations, and time will be interpreted automatically. You can then add URLs, notes, and invite other users.
One cool feature is the ability to add colors to events, making it easier to identify them when there are too many entries on the screen. However, you can't add attachments to events or tasks created in Calendars 5. Not everyone needs that feature, but I was surprised that it was absent.
3. Creating Tasks in Calendar
This is one of the main highlights of the Calendars 5 app. There is a dedicated section or a tab to create tasks. Just like you do in a to-do app. Inbox is the default list, but you can easily create more lists as you move along and even color-code it.
Based on the reminder date that you have set, you can view these tasks in smart lists like Today, Upcoming, and Completed. It also syncs with Apple Reminders, if you use that.
Creating new tasks is the same as events in Calendars 5. Tap the '+' icon to begin, and then you can add time, location, and details. That makes Calendars 5 incredibly useful, and one of the few apps that can work with both events and tasks.
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4. Third-Party Integration
It is astonishing that Apple Calendar only works with Apple Maps and not Google Maps. Both the apps work with Apple Reminders, and adding third-party calendars is easy. However, you can add other calendars like Google and Outlook in Calendars 5 app itself.
In the case of Apple Calendars, you will have to go to Settings > Passwords & Account > and add Gmail and Outlook from there. That's how iOS has always worked, and I don't think things will change in the foreseeable future.
Both the calendar apps have left out popular apps like Todoist, among others, for now.
5. Pricing and Platform
Apple Calendar is completely free, is ad-free and comes pre-installed on all iOS/iPadOS devices including phones and tablets. Calendars 5 will cost you $6.99, and there are no ads. You can add interesting calendars, but that will cost you extra. Both the apps are only available for Apple devices like iPhones and iPad. Apple Calendar also works with macOS.
Managing Dates Efficiently
Apple Calendar offers just enough to call it a calendar app, but there are far better options out there. One of them is Calendars 5, and while it is not free, it doubles as a task manager too. That will seriously help you get more productive and manage both events categorized in multiple calendars as well as tasks in multiple lists. That means you can get rid of your regular to-do app for good. The only thing it is missing is attachments, so keep that in mind.
Want to access Apple Calendar on Windows 10 computer? Follow the link below to learn how you can do so to make the app more accessible and platform agnostic.