Sunrise Calendar 2.0 for iPhone review: Now with support for iCloud calendars!

Sunrise Calendar for iPhone has always been an extremely unique alternative calendar app as it manages to combine all your calendar events with weather forecasts for the day. Previously, you could only use a Google account with Sunrise but as of version 2.0, there's support for iCloud built right in. If you aren't happy with the native Calendar app in iOS 7, which many of you don't seem to be, Sunrise Calendar is a very viable alternative.

You can sign into Sunrise calendar using one of three options, Facebook, your Google account, or by registering with a standalone email. One of our initial complaints with an earlier version of Sunrise calendar was the need to log in with a Facebook account. This has since been remedied. As long as I have at least one login option that doesn't require me to tie my calendars to a social network, I'm okay with creating a login. In the case of Sunrise, I'll happily create a login given all the benefits it offers, namely proper shared events, which we'll get to in a minute.

Once you're signed into Sunrise calendar, all your events are brought down from the services you've chosen to tie to it. When you initially sign up, you can tie not only different calendar accounts such as Google and iCloud to it, but your social networks. That way your Facebook events and birthday, Foursquare checkins, and more can all end up in the same timeline. You can even manage event invites from your social networks within Sunrise. If you want one place to manage both your regular Calendar and your social calendar, Sunrise handles the job beautifully.

The main view in Sunrise Calendar shows a two week view with a list view underneath it. Pull down on the two week view to replace it with a month view. While scrolling through the list view, tap on the carat icon in the lower left hand corner in order to return to today's date instantly.

One of my favorite features of Sunrise Calendar is that it manages to look at the context of your events and put icons next to them that categorize them. It isn't a huge deal but it's one of those things that just makes the experience of using Sunrise that much more unique. It also lets you see what kind of events you have on any given day without really reading anything. Contact photos also feed in for anyone that you've attached to an event.

That brings me to what is quite possibly the best feature of Sunrise calendar in my opinion. Event invites! A lot of alternative calendar apps either don't support event invites, particularly for iCloud, or they only provide ways to share events via email. If you use iCloud calendars, you're already aware of how you can share events with other iCloud users and they'll receive a Calendar notification that they can easily accept. Due to the way Apple handles APIs and restricts them, this limits what developers can do with invites unless they're running through their own servers. Sunrise Calendar has implemented iCloud calendars properly and on their own servers which means they can link up with Apple's servers directly and avoid API limitations. Basically, it means you have native shared events the way they were meant to be.

The good

  • Shared events the way they should be done!
  • Personable interface that ties in with social, but only if you want it to
  • One of the best looking calendar views I've ever seen
  • Weather forecasts and calendar info all in one place

The bad

  • A log in account is required, but due to the tremendous benefits this small inconvenience brings with it, namely the ability for proper shared events, I'll happily live with it
  • No natural language support
  • No iPad version, I'd really like to see one eventually
  • No Exchange support

The bottom line

Sunrise Calendar is quite possibly one of the best looking alternative calendar apps currently available for iPhone that supports both Google and iCloud calendars. Not only that, it's one of the only options that handles iCloud event sharing the proper way. If you use iCloud calendars and you share a lot of events, look no further than Sunrise.

Allyson Kazmucha

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.

  • Not sure what is taking them so long to offer support for Exchange calendars. Just about every other calendar app can pull in the Exchange calendars set up on my phone and without this, the app is useless to me.
  • +1. Useless without Exchange support.
  • I know there are some people that use exchange but there are just as many people that do not. That doesn't make the app useless to millions of others.
  • I agree. When I post a comment, I am obviously talking about me and my experience. Not about the millions and billions who use this and other services.
  • Allyson, they do support natural language input. Instead of pressing the + button to add a new event, long press it and a natural language input box will show up instead. They are horrible about advertising this. It's not as strong yet as Fantastical, but it's still pretty good.
  • Cool, thank you! It's nice that they made natural language optional, as it doesn't play well with certain kinds of entries.
  • chat heads should be placed under bad. they need to die, quickly.
  • "..been an extremely unique alternative.." It's either "unique" or not.. using "exremely" or any other modifier before "unique" doesn't make it any "more" unique. Unique is unique... just say'n...
  • I was debating complaining about this too. Long live pedantism!
  • good lord shut the fuck up... almost nothing is legitimately unique. go ahead, try naming me something you think is truly unique and i'll give you as many reasons as you want that it isn't. anything, concrete or not, falls along a continuum of uniqueness, depending on how much it has in common with other things, and how many of its features really can't be found anywhere else. this applies whether you're talking about a phone or a person or an idea in your head. which is exactly what uniqueness is: an idea in your head. welcome to being a human and inventing categories and attributes that you assign to entities in your surroundings. so when someone says "extremely unique", they aren't wrong - they're just using the word the way it was meant to be used. language as i'm sure you know has a degree of subtlety which can't be captured by inventing strict rules that you want everyone else to follow when they're speaking or writing in your presence. grow up and grow some common sense.
  • Wow what a great calender app! This will be replacing the default one on my phone for sure. Thanks for the heads up iMore!!
  • I'm surprised the app is free. What is its business model? Does it contains any ads or IAP?
  • I would love to try this app but I do not want to give them my iCloud user name and password!
  • I wish that this app accessed the iOS reminders app (Pocket Informant Pro does) and was either universal or had an iPad version too.
    Otherwise, there's a lot to like here.
  • It does access the reminders app info, after you link your icloud account.
  • Thanks Vox, much appreciated. Since I didn't think it did that, I bought Calendars 5 for iPhone and iPad. It syncs with reminders but as an added bonus you can delete reminders from within calendars 5. If Sunrise can do that, it isn't obvious. I like sunrise but I am liking Calendars 5 more. I wasn't happy that it was $6.99 (universal) because I had the previous version. Having said that it is an awesome app that has become my primary Calendar. Thanks again.
  • Very cool app. Crashes when editing two events in a row.
  • iCloud support was what held me back from the app when I had it installed, but I am not too worried about it anymore. Moved on Sent from the iMore App