Quick: What app do you use to manage your calendar on your phone?
If you’re anything like most people I hear from, the answer’s probably something along the lines of: “Uh…whatever calendar app came on the phone when I got it?”
It’s a surprisingly common position, but guess what? On Android in particular, there’s a decent chance your phone’s default calendar app isn’t the best option. And it doesn’t take much work to give yourself an upgrade. In fact, you don’t have to look any further than this very page.
After much exploration and experimentation, I’ve identified the best Android calendar apps available for different styles of professional schedule management. Some are meant to act as replacements for the less-than-stellar services that come preinstalled on certain phones, while others are supplements that have the potential to add worthwhile functions into any Android calendar setup.
We’ll start with the simplest and work our way up to some increasingly advanced and feature-laden options.
The best all-around Android calendar app for most users
If you don’t have any special needs or requirements — and especially if you’re already using Google Calendar on the desktop — Google’s own native Calendar application is a spectacular way to manage your agenda on Android.
And lest you think it’s too obvious to warrant inclusion in this list, remember: The Google Calendar app doesn’t actually come preinstalled on all Android devices, including the massive number of phones sold by Samsung. If you’re using a Galaxy phone in particular, switching to the Google Calendar app will represent a significant leap forward in both overall experience and protection of your data (ahem).
The Calendar app is nicely designed and easy to use, with a clean and simple scrollable agenda view along with serviceable monthly, weekly, daily, and three-day viewing options. It closely matches the Calendar experience on the web and gives you thought-free syncing of your Google Calendar agenda. And it probably goes without saying, but the Google Calendar app is free for individuals and built into the enterprise-level G Suite package.
The best Android calendar app if you have a Microsoft account in the mix
If you lean on Microsoft for your agenda organization — or rely on a mix of Microsoft and Google, thanks to the presence of both personal and work accounts on your device — the most effective way to keep up with your calendar on Android is with Microsoft’s official Outlook app.
Once you sign into the app using your Microsoft account, you’ll see all of your Outlook-associated appointments right alongside events from Google Calendar — for any accounts you have connected to your phone. That effortless configuration is a sharp contrast to the numerous hoops you have to jump through to get Outlook events to show up within Google’s app.
And cross-account compatibility aside, the calendar portion of Microsoft’s Android Outlook app is also just intuitively designed and pleasant to use. It’s a commendable tool for keeping track of appointments on the go, regardless of what account or series of accounts you’re using.
The best Android calendar app if you want extra features and customization
Business Calendar 2
For professional users seeking an Android calendar experience with some extra oomph, Business Calendar 2 represents a noteworthy upgrade over the status quo. The thoughtfully designed app offers all the basics you’d expect along with handy additional features, such as an always-present favorites bar that lets you easily hide or show different calendars with a single tap, a week slider to quickly zoom into any date range you need, and a custom template system for faster event creation.
Business Calendar 2 automatically syncs with your phone’s system-level calendar, which means it’ll effectively sync with Google Calendar and thus work seamlessly with Calendar on the web. It’s free to use with an optional $7 Pro upgrade that removes ads and unlocks certain advanced features, including the aforementioned template system as well as forecast integration and a variety of customization options.
The best Android calendar app for interacting with your agenda on your home screen
Calendar Widget by Home Agenda
Most Android calendar apps come with widgets, but few are as exceptional and easy to use as the awkwardly named Calendar Widget by Home Agenda. Calendar Widget, as we’ll call it from here on out, does one thing only and does it well: It gives you an app-like interface for accessing and managing your agenda on your home screen.
Yup, that’s right: The entire app is just a widget, along with a configuration tool to make it work the way you want. So it’s less of a replacement for your standard Android calendar app and more of a supplement for whatever app you’re using.
Calendar Widget is about as customizable as it gets. You can have its widget show as much or as little detail as you want — with a visual arrangement, font size, and color scheme that’s optimized for your reading style and general preferences.
The widget lets you specify which calendars and types of events it displays, too, and even lets you dictate the number of days it includes and the total number of events it displays at any given time — an almost shockingly sensible option that’s missing from most Android calendar widgets.
The app costs $2.
The best Android calendar app for having easy access to your agenda from anywhere
Widgets on the home screen are certainly handy, but maybe you reference your calendar often enough that you want to be able to get to it from anywhere on your device. Enter Calendar Notify, a clever Android calendar supplement that puts a persistent view of your agenda right into your phone’s standard notification panel.
That means no matter what else you’re doing, all you’ve gotta do is swipe down once from the top of your screen to get a quick glance at your upcoming events — without having to exit your current app or in any way switch processes.
Calendar Notify is fully interactive, too, so you can tap any individual event within its notification to view more details about that appointment and even hop into another app to edit it, if the need ever arises.
Calendar Notify is free with an optional $3.50 upgrade for advanced features and customization options.
The best Android calendar app for managing meetings
This last Android calendar app isn’t technically an Android app — yet — but even in its current browser-based form, it’s so effective, helpful, and relevant to the busy business lifestyle that I thought it was worth including. It’s called Woven, and it’s one of those rare services that really, truly has the potential to change the way you work.
Woven is essentially an intelligent scheduling assistant: You connect the software to all of your relevant calendars — work, personal, family, whatever else you’ve got — and then you gain the ability to simplify your scheduling in three significant ways:
- When someone asks you for a meeting — whether it’s a colleague, a client, or an old college pal — you can use Woven to create a one-time scheduling link that’ll show that person your available days and times, based either on what’s already in your various agendas or on a specific set of windows you specify. Your recipient will receive a link that shows all available suggestions and lets them select a time, without needing to sign in or download a thing. Once they make a selection, the event automatically gets added onto your calendar and an invite automatically gets sent to them.
- When you’re trying to find a suitable time for a group of people to get together — for an in-person meeting or, more likely at this current moment, a video-based encounter — you can have Woven create a group poll that provides all the dates and times that work for you. Everyone involved will receive a link that prompts them to mark the options they can handle (again, without any sign-ins or downloads required). Then, once everyone’s responded, Woven sends you the best all-around option and lets you simultaneously add it onto your calendar and send invites to everyone else with a single tap.
- If you offer open scheduling for anything from consultations to quick help sessions, you can use Woven to create a permanent, public scheduling link that lets anyone click in to see available times on your calendar and then easily select and secure an option that works for them.
To use Woven from your phone, for now, you’ll first need to create an account on the company’s desktop website. Then, you can simply open Woven.app from your phone’s browser for future sign-ins (and if you want to create an app-like shortcut to that site on your home screen, just open the site in Chrome, tap the three-dot menu icon in the browser’s upper-right corner, and select “Add to Home Screen” from the menu that appears).
Woven expects to have an Android app available somewhere toward the middle of this year. For now, the service is free, though its creators say that’s likely to change once the current beta period ends at some point in the future.
Until then — and maybe even after, depending on what sort of pricing model is unveiled — Woven is a tool well worth embracing and one that’ll add a hefty dollop of power into your Android calendar arsenal.
Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.