Fantastical 2 brings iOS 7 good looks, Reminders smarts

I hate Fantastical. And I hate Fantastical 2 even more. Except I kinda love them. And I hate that most of all. Thing is, I don't like calendars. They remind me of everything I have to do, and I have far too many of those things, and I don't want to do most of them. I don't even want to enter them into my calendar. I want them to leave me alone. But I don't have that option. So, since I have to do them, and I need a way to remember to do them, I also need a way to make that as quick and painless as possible. And that brings me right back to Fantastical, the one calendar app that's actually quick and painless enough that I have no excuse not to use it. More precisely, Fantastical 2, and even quicker, more painless, flat out better way than even the original. With an iOS 7 redesign. And Reminders integration. And a landscape week view. Dammit.

Originally crafted by Flexibits - Michael Simmons and Kent Sutherland - for the Mac, Fantastical came to the iPhone just under a year ago and pretty much reverse-Sherlocked the built-in Calendar app. The basic mechanics of Fantastical haven't changed since then. There's still the buttery smooth day ticker on the top that somehow stays in perfect, perpendicular sync with the events listed below it. It's flatter now, of course, in iOS 7 fashion, but it works just as well. So does the pull down gesture to switch between the day ticker and month ticker. The lone buttons - Settings and Add - blessedly remain glyphs. If you want borderless buttons, you'll need to tap into the New Event screen.

If you do that, you'll also see a new switch control. Toggle it and you're taken from New Event to New Reminder. And yeah, Fantastical is as good for Reminders entry as it is for Calendar. Settings let you enable them, decide if you want to show completed items, and whether or not you want to organize by list, as well which lists you want to make available, and what you want to set as the default list.

Another new addition to the Fantastical repertoire is week view. Simply rotate from portrait to landscape and the ticker will spin around, zoom in, and become the week view. Rotate back to portrait and it'll spin, zoom, and transfer back into the ticker.

Again, I'm not a power calendar user. I'm just a busy person, working crazy hours, with way more stuff to do than I can reliably remember. In other words, I'm a normal person these days. I need tools to make my life easier, which means tools that save me time and don't take even more time away. Fantastical fits that bill, and Fantastical 2 fits it even better. I've been beta testing it for several weeks, and it's worked fantastically well, both for calendaring as usual, and, now, reminders as well.

I know some people who find it hard to use invitations at scale with Fantastical - a dozen a day or more - but I get maybe a few a week and I've been totally fine. Being able to enter appointment and tasks using the even better than before natural language parser - like a human being! - is ridiculously easy, and finding them again using the ticker and list is insanely fast. Seriously.

Fantastical was the absolute best calendar app on iOS. Now Fantastical 2 is not only the absolute best calendar app on iOS, but the best reminders app as well.

Fantastical 2 is a new, iOS 7-only app. It costs $4.99 but is currently on sale for $2.99 for a limited time. For something I use all day, every day, it's worth easily 10 times that (and I wish I could pay 10 times that to help make sure I get a Fantastical 3, but not only does Apple still not provide a mechanism for upgrades, App Store pricing is so depressed, software so devalued, that it costs more these days to pay for an hour of parking than it does something that took months to design and develop). But it is what it is. If you like Fantastical 2, if it provides the slightest value and joy to you, pay Flexibits the pittance they're asking and recommend your friends do likewise.

After all, Fantastical 2 will check all your existing Fantastical 1 settings and mirror them, so you're all set up and ready to go right from the start. That alone is more than worth the price of admission.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Fantastical 2 brings iOS 7 good looks, Reminders smarts

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App Store search on my iPhone results "no results for fantastical". The same for fantastical 2. Nothing out yet, it seems.

I deleted your other comment. Normally your trolling is blatant and ridiculous to the point of being harmless, but that crosses a line. You're more than welcome to not like stuff, and to state that, but if you continue on your current path, you'll get banned across the network, and that would be shame.

Feel free to repost your comment without being a dick about it, but please reconsider your strategy here in general. Being a member of a community means being responsible to that community. Use your presence to make us a better place. Raise the bar.

I wish more apps had the timezone support that Week Calendar has. I can turn off timezone for display purposes (which then displays according to your current location) but can still specify them when creating them.

I'm curious.... If you create a reminder to do something today, and don't get to it, does it carry over to the next day? Looking at the screen shots at the App Store seem to indicate they may stay with the day created.

Different animals. Fantastical is just fast. I'm a really light Calendar user, so getting in and out quick is my primary use case.

I love Fantastical and would gladly pay for this v2. Same story for tweetbot 3.

But these apps require iOS 7, and for the time being I'm sticking with 6.

I have a couple devices still on iOS 6 for testing purposes. I find it really hard to use now. I get why some people are hesitant, but iOS 7 is really a next step in interface.

Rene, I've noticed that as well. When I tried to use an iOS6 loaded device, it felt....wrong, slow, OLD. Apple, good job with the new OS. While it can look a little 'cartoony' at times, the overall feel and operability is outstanding.

I love fantastical and have been eagerly awaiting the 2.0 release this month. thanks for the immediate review and link release rene! already downloaded and love the addition of reminders. great software, easily worth the full price, let alone the sale...

Sent from the iMore App

I bought Fantastical because the default calendar in iOS 6 was just brutal. I'm finding the iOS 7 calendar to be pretty darn competent though. Combined with Siri's ability to handle a lot of the natural language input, I'm not so sure I need Fantastical 2. At the same time I'm tempted to throw a few bucks at the developer just to help keep the project alive and well.

Thanks for the review! How does it stack up to Cal? I like Cal but if Fantastical integrates Reminders, I'm sold! Cal uses Any.do and it can be tricky.

Clicked and bought. It's a definite upgrade from the native calendar app. And my first experience with Fantastical. Rene sold me on fast. And I prefer the list view with a quick turn to see the week view.

Very nice update. I wonder if new task entry supports URL schemes so that I can use LCP to quickly enter in a new task like I can for a new event.

The only thing I don't like about Fantastical 2 is that there's not a way to show ONLY today's events in the agenda view. If you only have 2 events, the rest of the screen shows the following days' events. I like the ability of Pocket Informant Pro to do this, to only show today's events.

This is a great app that I'm gladly paying the $2.99 upgrade for. I use it regularly and it brings sanity to my life. Thanks Flexibits and thanks for the initial discount.

I'm liking Fantastical 2. I was about to proclaim Tempo as my go to Calendar app. After a few mins with Fantastical I'm not sure now.

Sent from the iMore App

I'm like you Rene. I hate managing my calendar on all my iProducts. Fantastical makes it a lot easier, but I gotta admit that I'm kind of getting tired of this new trend of making updates iOS 7 friendly, throwing a '2' or '3' behind it and recharging customers. I'm the first to support 3rd party devs and spend way too much on apps in general (just ask my wife). I'm all for them making money and if the new version actually adds some functionality the other didn't then I'm all for it (this might I haven't looked into it). I was more ok with the Tweetbot update considering the anti third party Twitter token predicament, but this looks the same and the only difference looks to be it is more in line with iOS 7 looks. I hope I am wrong, but I've already paid $5 for Fantastical 1 on my iPhone and $20 for Fantastical on my MBP. I hope this isn't the new thing to do. Hell, give me a couple days I'm sure I will change my mind and will buy it anyways.

Edit:
I guess I should finish reading your excellent review before anxiously jumping on a soap box (I do that far too often). The new Reminders integration looks excellent as is a great feature (or looks to be). Still, how am I supposed to trust when I buy an app and how do I trust that iOS 8 version 3.0 isn't another new cost?

I believe this is the first time in iOS history that there was a major redesign. That being said, this is the first time to my knowledge, that these developers (Flexibits and Tapbots) are charging for an update. I don't think it's gonna happen again for a very long time.

Yeah your right. You know I've been thinking about this for the last hour since posting my comment and I have to say I agree with both tapbots and flexbits here. I mean I enjoy their apps and I read that they will continue to support the old one (although who am I kidding I will buy the new one) which they really don't have to do. When I've bought iWork 09 I didn't expect free updates and this is the same kind of thing.

Oh well, I'm human and I made a mistake. If anything at least it spurred a good conversation. Thanks for the reply.

That makes no sense. If a dev spends time updating his app beyond bug fixing, then expect to pay for it. Do you work for free? If anything, I think he charged too little. He devalued his own work.

I totally agree my friend. It's a whole new world out there with iOS and mobile apps. I don't expect free updates of other software like Photoshop and iWork (among others) so why expect a mobile app where they make even less. Plus these are the same Indy devs I've loved supporting since the App Store release in 2008. I made the mistake of commenting and jumping to conclusions. My bad. Thanks for the reply.

in general, i think the fantastic2, currently, is more of a reskin for ios7 from the old version. if there is anything new, it's the integration with reminders.

Just downloaded, I used the original and this version is even better. Also much better than the stock iOS 7 calendar app. Highly recommend it.

Anyone know if the new fantastical 2 integrates with Apples reminders? In particular when it comes to reminding to call someone back in the phone app?

I am finding it integrates flawlessly with Apple's reminders app. As for your specific concern, if the reminder to call someone back shows up in Apple's reminders app, it def will show up in Fantastical 2 app too.

I like it so far. Improvement from the native calendar app. I am having one issue and would like someone to see if it does the same thing for them. I am creating a reoccurring event that I want to happen on the last day of every month. I create the event, go to reoccurring, choose custom, select month, then last day. It initially adds it to my calendar, but then for some reason I get an error message. If someone knows a fix or if I am doing something incorrectly, I would appreciate some feedback. Thanks!

Hey Rene, Can we set custom intervals Alerts in Fantastical 2? I mean in iOS Calendar we can only set "On day, 1 Day, 2 Days or 1 week before", can we overcome this problem in Fantastical 2?

It has both reminders AND appointments. Also, it will do CUSTOM repeats, something iOS Calendar can not handle. (e.g., "Every month on the 3rd Wednesday"). Awesome!

I downloaded this and really like that it can be used for both events and reminders. I am wondering how others use this. In other words, do you use it in conjunction with the native apps or by itself. In order to keep it synced between ios devices, does background app refresh need to be enabled? One reason I am finding it hard to completely eliminate the stock apps (at least for alerts) is because one cannot snooze alerts in F2. I was happy to see this feature added to ios 7, and would hate to lose it. However, I feel like using F2 for inputting and viewing, and ios native apps for "snoozable" alerts is a bit inefficient. Especially since it will open the alert in the native app if you need to edit it from the notification window. Any feedback is appreciated.

Thanks

Thanks for the review Rene. I have heard people talk about this app for sometime now, both on blogs and podcasts, but decided to jump in myself and see what it was all about after reading your review. So far I'm impressed. I'm not much of a calendar person, but if I have to use one, I would rather it be easy and "fun" to use. This fits the bill.

Keep up the great work!

Jim

What are your thoughts on fantastical 2 vs. sunrise? The calendar has been preventing me from updating to iOS 7 but it's time ... Also, can you send invites to default calendar users or do they also have to have fantastical? Thank you!