Google Calendar vs Fantastical: Which Apple Calendar Alternative Is Better on iOS

Whether you are a regular user, power user, or a businessperson, you must be using the default Calendar app in one way or the other. It’s your go-to destination to keep track of events, birthday parties, reminders, upcoming sports events, and more. The default Apple Calendar is quite capable on iPhone. Still, it misses out on cross-platform availability and number of features compared to established rivals such as Outlook Calendar, Fantastical, and Google Calendar.

Calendar 1763587 1280

Speaking of Google Calendar, Google has been updating its calendar offering with new designs and functions. On the other hand, Fantastical has already strengthened its foothold among iPhone users on the App Store. But if you had to pick one out of the two, which one would you choose? That’s not clear.

In this post, we are comparing Google Calendar to Fantastical. The comparison will cover UI, functions, themes, third-party calendar support, price, and more. Let’s get started.

Cross-Platform Availability

No contest here. Google Calendar is available on Android, iOS, and Web. The app nicely gets integrated with other Google services too. Fantastical is exclusive to Apple’s software platforms, meaning it’s accessible only on iOS and macOS.

At face value, the cross-platform availability may not look that important in a calendar app. But, the intention is to expect a consistent experience across the supported platforms.

User Interface

Since 2018, Google has been updating its apps and services with what’s being referred as the Material Design 2.0 version unofficially. Google Calendar was refreshed recently for iOS, and I have mixed feelings about it. I appreciate how it uses a white theme throughout the the interface and it looks nice as well as consistent. However, the hamburger menu feels out of place on the iPhone.

Google calendar ui
Google calendar ui2

Fantastical has hit it out of the park with a flawless UI. It resembles the Sunrise Calendar style while scrolling up. And the app supports the dark as well as light theme beautifully.

The UX has a different story though. The search menu, calendar switcher, and notification toggles are at the top, which is hard to reach on taller iPhones.

Fantastical 1
Fantastical 2

Supported Calendar Accounts

Besides the usual reminders, events, holidays from the Google account, the Calendar app also supports iCloud and Outlook. Just head to Settings > Accounts, and switch-on toggles for iCloud or Outlook.

Google account

Unfortunately, there is no way to add TV schedule and sports events to the app.

Fantastical is a step ahead. From the home screen, just tap on the all calendar option and select manage calendar. It supports Google, Outlook events and tasks, and even iCloud events and tasks from the Apple Reminders app.

Fnatastical account
Third party calendar

The app also supports interesting calendars such as holidays, sports, and finance. You can add your regional holidays, the schedule for favorite sports including Tennis, Football, Basketball, etc., and finance calendar for NASDAQ 100 and Nikkei 225.

Adding a New Event

While adding an event, you can define the location of a meeting, add guests, notes, and even attach files from Google Drive. The app also lets you add reminders that get synced with Google Tasks.

Google calendar add

Fantastical has added an AI touch here. The app has an integrated numbers row while adding an event. So, you can just type ’15:00 Lunch,’ and it will create a one-hour event for lunch. To add more details, tap on add more and mention additional info like location, URL, and notes.

Smart adding
Long tap

Another useful function is the templates. Just long-press on any event and select create the template. I have converted my most used events into templated so I can add them to the calendar with just one tap.

Additional Features

Google has implemented the Goal function in the Calendar app. With that, you can build a habit, meditate, keep free time for family, friends, and even for yourself. The app will ask the frequency for a goal during the week, and it will adjust the activity based on your busy schedule for the month.

The function is derived from the smart scheduling software called Timeful, which the search giant purchased in 2015. I found it to be less functional. There is no way to customize the habit for weekdays. For example, I set the goal to clean my room once a week for 30 minutes. Google has created the event for cleaning on weekdays while I want it on weekends. There is no way to set it.

Google calendar goal
Goal google

Google Calendar supports iOS widgets and long-tap functions to add new events, reminders, and goals quickly.

Fantastical is full of customization options. You can change the theme and play with app icons and badge.

The major functions include iOS widgets, Accuweather support, long-tap functions on the app icon, and within the home UI. I like how one can long press on the event and view the details, duplicate tasks, hide, and delete it.

Fantastical weather
Theme fantastical


Google Calendar is completely free to use. Fantastical used to be a one-time purchase on iOS and Mac. But recently, the app switched to a subscription model (which is pissing off current users though) and now it costs $5/month.

Organize Your Day

As you can see from the comparison above, both Google and Fantastical are capable alternatives to Apple Calendar. Google Calendar is free and available everywhere. Fantastical is an all-rounder with smart scheduling, templates, AccuWeather integration, and more.

Next up: Not convinced with either Google Calendar or Fantastical? Read the post below to find more Apple Calendar alternatives for iOS.

Last updated on 03 February, 2022

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