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Each Mac ships with the built-in OS X Calendar application, but Apple’s calendar is basic and lacking many helpful features. Thankfully, there are plenty of great third-party apps that serve as a replacement for the Calendar application, or as add-ons to take it to the next level.

We’ve narrowed our list down to the five best calendar apps for Mac — don’t forget to let us know which one you prefer in the comments at the end of this post.

Great Replacements

Are you looking to replace the standard calendar? One of the following two applications will get the job done.

Fantastical 2 ($49.99)

Best for: Those looking to do a little bit more with their calendar each day, who don’t have time to customize.

Fantastical just happens to be a 2015 Apple Design Awards winner for Mac. What makes Fantastical so impressive is its natural language engine, which makes adding new events a pain-free experience.

For example, you can type “meeting with Jay at 4 pm” and Fantastical will begin creating a calendar entry for the next afternoon on your calendar and also suggest people named Jay from your Contacts application. Once this information is confirmed, it will even send Jay an email inviting him to the event. The application also understands text suggesting a future or repeating event, such as “third Sunday of every month,” “every weekend,” “last weekday of the month,” and more.

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Fantastical-2

Fantastical features a full calendar window with day, week, month, and year views. It also offers light and dark themes, time zone support, and birthday reminders. A Notification Center widget is also available. If you also use Fantastical 2 for iOS, Apple Handoff support is provided, offering continuity between different devices What Does Continuity Mean for Yosemite & iOS 8? What Does Continuity Mean for Yosemite & iOS 8? OS X 10.10, better know as Yosemite, is a major Mac update that offers numerous features never seen before in an operating system. One of the most important is Continuity. Read More . The application’s native CalDAV engine lets users connect their Mac directly to their calendar services such as iCloud, Google, and Yahoo.

What sets Fantastical apart from other solutions on our list is its full-featured menu bar app, which was available Manage Your Calendar From The Mac Menubar With Fantastical Manage Your Calendar From The Mac Menubar With Fantastical Manage your calendar, completely, from your Mac's menu bar. Fantastical isn't just a way to quickly see your upcoming events: it's a way to never look at Apple's default Calendar again. Read More before the application became a full Calendar replacement. Menu bar access offers a powerful way to review your day through a mini-calendar. Better still, Fantastic 2 allows this calendar to detach right from the menu bar, and you can also resize it.

Fantastical is available on the Mac App Store or Flexibits Store. A free 21-day trial is also available. Should you spend $50 on a calendar? We believe it’s worth every dime $50 for a Calendar? 5 Reasons Fantastical 2 is Worth It $50 for a Calendar? 5 Reasons Fantastical 2 is Worth It The original Fantastical wasn't cheap at $15, and now developer Flexibits will be charging $50 for the updated version — so is it worth it? Read More .

BusyCal 2 ($49.99)

Best for: Those happy with Apple’s Calendar application, who want more customization tools.

BusyCal is one of the oldest and most popular third-party Mac calendar applications. Like Fantastical, BusyCal allows you to add events using natural language. It also works with most CalDAV services, including iCloud, Exchange, and Google.

BusyCal

Where BusyCal shines through customization and the use of Smart Filters. Unlike the native Mac application, BusyCal allows you to change the number of weeks to show in the Month view. You can also change the number of days in Week view. Your calendar’s font and colors are adjustable as well.

Smart Filters let you create calendar sets and saved searches. You can create a filter that only shows events that match certain conditions, such as a text string or event type. Another filter could show events that contain a string of text modified in the last 15 days.

The application also includes a to-do list, weather reports by day, list view, and more. With all these features, BusyCal helps you become more organized and productive Get More Organized and Productive With BusyCal for Mac Get More Organized and Productive With BusyCal for Mac The OS X Calendar (formerly iCal) has been a stable application ever since the operating system was released. Many Mac users were not been too happy with the latest design of replacement app Calendar, though... Read More .

BusyCal is available on the Mac App Store or BusyMac Store. A free 30-day trial is also available, as are discounts for BusyCal 1.x customers. There is also an iOS version called BusyToDo.

Perfect add-ons

Enjoying Apple’s Calendar application, but want a little bit more from it? These three applications will fit the bill.

Blotter ($9.99)

Best for: People looking for a fancy live desktop calendar. Live Wallpaper For Mac? It's Easier Than You Think Live Wallpaper For Mac? It's Easier Than You Think Get animated wallpaper for your Mac. It's beautiful, useless, and fun. Read More

If you’d rather see your schedule and reminders on your desktop, Blotter is for you. With Blotter, your entire week becomes part of your wallpaper Top 7 Ways to Personalize Your Mac OS X Desktop Top 7 Ways to Personalize Your Mac OS X Desktop Make your Mac more personal: change how applications, your desktop and the rest of OS X looks. Read More . You can also use it to add events and reminders on the fly. With Blotter, you can show weekday dates or your desktop, or the next seven days on your calendar. You can also adjust its size and reposition it.

blotter

Blotter’s most impressive feature is its use of shortcuts. With these, you can perform simple tasks with a few clicks of the keyboard. These include new event, new reminder, next week, and more.

Blotter works directly with your OS X Calendar app and is available on the Mac App Store.

Calendar 2 (free)

Best for: Those who want to view their upcoming schedule in the Mac menu bar without paying a dime.

Here’s another status bar app that compliments Apple’s standard calendar. With a single click, Calendar allows you to see your whole month’s events and tasks right in your menu bar. The aim here is to view everything on your schedule at a glance, without having to spend the time bring up Apple’s application.

calendar

The application shows your entire monthly calendar. Details about a particular day are just a click away, also on the menu bar. You can customize the application by changing its fonts, colors, and themes; and you can also add a weather forecast.

Calendar is free on the Mac App Store. Additional customization such as Facebook integration is available through an in-app purchase.

QuickCal 3 ($2.99)

Best for: Folks who need to add calendar events in a hurry How To Instantly Add Anything To Your Mac's Calendar How To Instantly Add Anything To Your Mac's Calendar Add something to your Mac's calendar in just a few keystrokes – we've got the software to make it possible. Read More .

Natural language plays a central role with QuickCal. After a few keystrokes, the menu bar app begins creating an event for placement in your Mac’s Calendar application. It even notes when there are conflicts on your schedule.

QuickCal

With QuickCal, your upcoming schedule is viewable in a list view, which can include events up to seven days in advance. You can also see your reminders from this location. Want to receive a notification for an upcoming event? QuickCal features “Smart Alerts”, which will create alarms at different time intervals.

QuickCal supports iCal, Google Calendar, and BusyCal. It’s available on the Mac App Store. A free 14-day trial is also available through the QuickCal website.

See also: For a slightly outdated and older equivalent of QuickCal that won’t cost you a penny, check out RemindMeLater. It was built during the iCal era but still works well with OS X El Capitan’s Calendar app, allowing you to use natural language to add events to your schedule — without QuickCal’s fancy extra features.

The Choice Is Yours

There is nothing wrong with using Apple’s built-in Calendar app for Mac. If you’re looking for something different, consider the solutions we’ve presented here. Fantastical and BusyCal will replace the Calendar application while Blotter, Calendar 2, and QuickCal will enhance it. Each can be an excellent choice, depending on your needs.

What’s your favorite calendar solution for Mac?

  1. FC
    August 30, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    Does anyone know of a good free calendar app that works with Trello? That was the main reason I used Sunrise, and the two integrated seamlessly.

    Itsycal looks okay, I'll check it and UpTo out. I can't justify spending all that cash on an app like Fantastical that looks exactly like iCal, and charges separately for mobile and desktop versions.

  2. FC
    August 30, 2016 at 11:27 pm

    test

  3. Ana
    August 10, 2016 at 8:42 am

    I'm really liking UpTo as a Sunrise replacement. Not everything sunrise was, but free. And nice. And some fun different features.

  4. Nathali Lima
    May 14, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    I've been having a very tough time looking for a free calendar (or at least one that is not so expensive as Fantastical2) that allows me to have the same functionalities on iphone and mac... Just as I used to with Sunrise. </3
    If anybody has a suggestion, please, fire away... :(

    • Mario
      May 15, 2016 at 7:01 pm

      I just tried Fantastical 2, and can't believe Sunrise being a free app was so much better syncing with google calendars than this overpriced garbage app. Calendar 5 is a good app for mobile devices, syncs well with google calendars too, but for Macbooks I'm still on the search :( Come back Sunrise :'(

    • Nathali Lima
      May 16, 2016 at 2:22 pm

      I found a couple for iphone... But nothing for Mac. :(

  5. David
    May 11, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    Sunrise is officially shutting down soon. I need an alternative, and I haven't been able to find one yet. :-(

  6. Darren Charles
    February 14, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    I've been using Sunrise http://calendar.sunrise.am

    I can keep my calendar updated on my iphone, ipad & mac

    • Ellen
      April 11, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      I just found out Sunrise discontinued further development and support as they were bought by Microsoft in Feb. :(

    • Harris K
      May 11, 2016 at 11:24 pm

      Too bad it is going away :( stupid microsoft

  7. Mark
    February 10, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Been using Itsycal for quite some time and absolutely love it, might have to check out Calendar 2 though.

    • Mike
      June 14, 2016 at 7:51 am

      Itsycal looks like crap

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