As the sun sets on Microsoft's Sunrise, here are the best alternative calendar apps for iOS

in iPhone edited June 2016
Microsoft announced this week that by the end of August it will discontinue Sunrise, a popular calendar app it acquired. For existing Sunrise users, here are some of the best alternative third-party calendar apps, offering similar functionality and push notifications.

tl;dr: If you enjoyed Microsoft's Sunrise app, use Fantastical 2. If you don't want to pay a fee, you can try Google Calendar and see if it's a good alternative to Apple's Calendar.

Microsoft has offered a compelling free calendar option for iOS through its Sunrise app for a few years now with a clutter-free design, cross-platform functionality, notification support and event integration. Though it proved popular with its event integration and ease of use, Microsoft will end-of-life of the app on August 31, 2016.

If you're a current Sunrise user wondering where to turn next, AppleInsider offers a roundup of the best alternatives for use across web and mobile iOS platforms.

Best Sunrise replacement: Fantastical 2

Fantastical 2 has an an effective natural language engine that quickly picks up calendar events for easy integration, including Facebook, Google Calendar and iCloud.

For example, if you type in "meeting with Amanda at 3 p.m.," Fantastical will begin creating a calendar entry for the next afternoon on your calendar. It will also suggest people named Amanda from your iOS Contacts application.

After you have confirmed information with a tap, the app can send Amanda an email to attend the event.

The natural processing works so well that you can type in "Haircut at four on Nov. 6 at Squire Barbershop," and Fantastical will create the event for you. You can pull up a map of the event location for directions.

Event creation in Fantastical 2 for Mac. Gif via Geekwire.

Fantastical also includes a Quick Access menu option and you can view maps of where events occur and even set geofence alerts.

The app also recognizes repeating or future events such as "every weekend" or "second Tuesday of the month."

As the winner of the 2015 Apple Design Award for Mac, Fantastical 2 has one of the best designs for calendars with a clean user interface. Events are represented with colored dots similar to the native iOS Calendar app.

You can view a range of calendars from day to week, month and year options in both landscape and portrait mode.

Unlike Sunrise, which was free, Fantastical 2 is priced at $4.99 for the iPhone version, $9.99 for the iPad and $49.99 for the desktop.

The best free option: Google Calendar

Google Calendar is free and works if you simply need to know what's on your agenda. It looks virtually the same across both iOS and Android versions. The web and mobile versions match up for easy familiarity.

Google Calendar however does not offer many options for personalization. If you have a lot of events, the calendar can quickly get too cluttered.

Other alternatives: Calendars 5, Outlook, Tiny Calendar and Week Calendar

Calendars 5.

The main competitor to Fantastical is Calendars 5
Users can also set up recurring events and also tie in to locations for meetings using Google or Apple maps.

Calendars 5 is $6.99 and offers one universal version for use across iPhones and iPads.

Outlook for iOS.

Many of the existing features of Sunrise are already integrated into the official Microsoft Outlook app for iOS. Microsoft also recently added Facebook, Evernote, and Wunderlist support to the Outlook app as well as Touch ID support as of March. However, Outlook is intended as a full-service client including email, and does not function as a standalone calendar app.

Tiny Calendar.

There's also Tiny Calendar, which has a clean, simple UI similar to iOS and integrates with both iOS and Google Calendars.

The app provides both natural language processing and drag and drop features. It also offers eight different views, including day, week, month, 4-day, mini-month, week agenda, agenda and year.

Tiny Calendar comes with both a free and in-app paid version at $6.99.

Finally, Week Calendar offers different features such as language support and alternate calendars in Chinese, Hebrew, Hindi, Islamic and Persian. It also syncs with TomTom and other navigation devices.

Week Calendar integrates with all iOS calendar functions and Google Calendar. It also comes with the option to add events with icons for easy recognition.

Among the least expensive paid calendar apps at $1.99, Week Calendar is also one of the most popular. However, it does not offer a clutter-free design, and could benefit from a redesign of the user interface to be more attractive. Additional integrations are available via in-app purchase.


  • Reply 1 of 14
    toysandmetoysandme Posts: 243member
    Pocket Informant is a winner. 
  • Reply 2 of 14
    Lots of great options, but until Apple allows us to designate a third-party app as our preferred client for email, calendar, etc. I will end up defaulting back. It's very frustrating that they have barely improved email and the calendar app AT ALL since the iPhone was launched. They are incrementally better at best. 
    roger wade
  • Reply 3 of 14
    Pity that MS (and other giants) can buy up small apps like this, and then kill them off.  So much for a competitive marketplace.  The original developer got rich, no doubt, but the users that created their value are now stuck in a lurch.
  • Reply 4 of 14
    toysandme said:
    Pocket Informant is a winner. 
    Agreed.  Can't believe they missed it out.  iOS and OSX, calendar, tasks, notes, contacts.... no competition really.

    roger wade
  • Reply 5 of 14
    ChetNYCChetNYC Posts: 6member
    toysandme said:
    Pocket Informant is a winner. 
    Another vote here for Pocket Informant.  Been using it for a few years now- had it on my Android, now on my iPhone, iMac, and my iPad.  Couldn't live without it.
  • Reply 6 of 14
    crimguycrimguy Posts: 124member
    Me too.  Been using PI on my iPhone since it was released.  before that used it on my Windows phone.

    Latest version seems a step backwards though.

  • Reply 7 of 14
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,765member
    I really like how Google Calendar adds art and images to your calendar appointments based on the location. Fantastical is my go to because it works with all my calendars, but the aesthetic is very clinically functional.
  • Reply 8 of 14
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,765member
    Pity that MS (and other giants) can buy up small apps like this, and then kill them off.  So much for a competitive marketplace.  The original developer got rich, no doubt, but the users that created their value are now stuck in a lurch.
    Sunrise will keep working for the immediate future won't it?  Or is there a server side component?
  • Reply 9 of 14
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,546member
    Honestly, Apple needs to improve stock calendar app in ios10. It has been stall for several generations and we not asking much. Even simple old calendar App called "Week Cal" is simple and better than stock. Google keep improving it's stock calendar than why not Apple ? Keep it simple with most usability functions. Leave fancy things upto 3rd party App developers.
    1. Month view has each day's event's small descriptions.
    2. Split view(upper half screen month view, lower half day selected) Custom colored dots for events under each day in split view. slide lower screen up for more view of day)
    3. Days event also shows if alarm is set or not.
    4. Good syncing with email calendar.

  • Reply 10 of 14
    martinmimartinmi Posts: 5member
    I know you can't cover all Calendar apps, but I've been a fan (&user) of BusyCal for years and you didn't even consider it.
    It's been around a long time and has many great features.
  • Reply 11 of 14
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,765member
    Did someone dislike my comment purely because I expressed an appreciation for something Google has done?

  • Reply 12 of 14
    Outlook was graded down in this analysis because it's part of an integrated package? This is funny because the article actually does mention that MS integrated Sunrise features into Outlook, and the whole point of the article is that Sunrise it's supposedly going away. But it's not! The features are in Outlook! Plus, being an integrated calendar/email/contracts app it's a pretty huge plus. I guess the writer has a bias against Microsoft and it's trying to make it seem like the bad guy. Numerous reviews have written about how great the Outlook app for iOS is - the Verge called it "The best email app for the iPhone".
  • Reply 13 of 14
    Having been in the computer consulting business for over 29 years, I have seen many calendaring applications come and go - anyone remember Daytimer2000? I still have clients that insist I get that fixed.

    Google calendar won't update the Facebook calendar and it's a major part of my photography business as bands invite me to shows and I find out if they want me to handle the show for them.

    Sunrise expires shortly at the end of this month. It handled ALL of my calendar feeds on all of my devices. Paying 50 bucks to get that functionality again is ludicrous. There has to be a products that covers all of the bases.

    I don't need another email app for my iphone or android - there are the native apps and the google apps already installed - how many more do I need?

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