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Apple Calendar for planning your meetings on the iPad

Apple Calendar is a planning, free app from Apple for tracking your events, appointments and meetings. It compliments Apple Reminders. The app is available for your iPhone, iPad and Mac.

This review focuses on the iPad version of the app. Everything you need in the app is on one screen, which serves both as the homepage and working space of the app. On the left, you have a sidebar that contains your Calendars, Inbox, Schedule and the Plus icon for adding new events. 

Creating a new event

Tapping the Plus icon gives you options to: 

  • Add a title for your event
  • Choose a location
  • Decide if this event is going to last all day.
  • Start and End times of the event.
  • Select repeating frequencies (Every day, week, month, year). If these don’t suit you, you can customise: 
    • Frequency (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly). For your weekly repeating events, you can choose the days of the week your event will be repeating (e.g. every week on Monday and Thursday). For monthly repeating events, you can choose the dates for your events (e.g. every 3rd day of each month).  For yearly frequency, you can choose the month(s) and the day(s) of the week. For example, every month on the second Monday.
    • Every lets you customise the pattern of your frequency. Your events can repeat every 2, 3 or 4 weeks. Repeating frequencies save you time, you can schedule all your tasks for a year in advance. You don’t have to plan often.
  • Set the date when your repeating ends. For example, when you have a workshop running every day for a week, you can set the last day for the workshop. Apple Calendar will stop repeating the event on that day. 
  • Add travel time for external meetings. Event alerts will add the travelling time when creating alerts for you. You can set alerts for:
    • start of travel time
    • Before travel:
      • 5, 10, 15 or 30  minutes
      • One hour or two hours
      • One or two days
      • One week. You can set two alerts if you don’t want to miss your event.
Tip 💡
If you add a location for your event, Calendar uses Apple Notes to look up location, traffic on the road and transit options to advise you on when to leave.
  • Choose a calendar to for your event, from the list of calendars in your app. 
  • Invite people via email. iCloud, Microsoft Exchange and some CalDAV servers allow you to send meeting invitations.
  • Show as busy on your calendar for people inviting you to their meetings so they know when you are free.
  • Attach files from the Files app. If there is anything you want your attendees to look at before your meeting. 
  • Add URL 
  • Add Notes

You can create new events from other apps. In Apple Notes, data detection allows you to add events to Apple Calendar directly from your notes, as though you were in the Calendar app. You can do the same in other apps: Mail, Messages, Safari and Agenda

Adding a new Calendar

In Apple Calendar you can have many calendars. You can, as in my case, have a Family, Work and Personal calendar. The app shows you all the events scheduled in all your calendars. You can choose to hide information from some calendars by deselecting them. The Birthdays calendar displays your contacts’ birthdays. When you tap on their name, you can access their contact information without leaving Apple Calendar.

To add a new Calendar, tap Add Calendar (at the bottom left corner of the sidebar). You can then: 

  • Name your Calendar
  • Choose a colour for it (from seven options).

Once you’ve created your calendar, you can add more information to it. You can choose to:

  • Share it with someone and allow the person to edit the calendar if you want, works best for Family and Work Calendars. You want everyone invited to a calendar to have the ability to make changes to it.  
  • Make your calendar public then share the link. Anyone can then subscribe to a read-only version of this calendar. 
  • Delete it

You can add iCloud, Google, Exchange or Yahoo calendars by the adding accounts to your Calendar in System settings. When using multiple calendars, you can view all your information in one place. You don’t have to worry about organising your meetings. Calendar blocks your meetings in the app, showing when you’re busy and when you’re free. The different colours for your calendars help you understand if your schedules are personal, family or work obligations. All my Google events are green, for example. 

Responding to invitations

People can invite people to your meeting from iCloud, Microsoft Exchange and CalDAV. You get three response options: Accept, Maybe and Decline. In your Inbox, you can see all your invitations and the ones you’ve responded to. 

When you mark an event as busy, people sending you invitations will be alerted that you’re not free at that time. It saves you time, everyone knows when you’re busy when scheduling a meeting. If you want others to see your time as free, then mark it as such when creating your event. 

Under Today, you can see your schedule for today and scroll to see past events and future ones. Apple Calendar doesn’t delete past events from your calendar. You can go back to refer to them if necessary. The only way to remove them from your Calendar is to delete the event. 

Calendar views

On your screen, you can choose to view your Day, Week, Month or year

Searching your Calendars

You can search your calendars for titles, invitees, locations and notes for events. The app displays your search results on the right. Tapping on a result pops up the event, which you can either edit or delete

You can easily navigate back to today’s date by tapping Today. No matter where you are on the calendar, the app hyperlinks to today’s date. Tap an event to edit it. When the event is repeating, you have two options, to save for this event only or for all future events

Settings for Calendar

You can turn on Siri & Search to let Sir make suggestions in Calendar and learn how you use the app to make suggestions across apps. You can also allow Siri to:

  • Suggest App
  • Show in App Search
  • Show Content in Search 
  • Suggest Shortcuts for App 

It allows Siri to search and show information in the app from your home screen. 

Time Zone Override 

When you turn this on, your events will show the dates and times of your selected time zone. When off, events display according to your current location. 

Alternative Calendars

Apple Calendar has three alternative calendars to display Chinese, Hebrew and Islamic. You can turn on: 

  • Week numbers
  • Week view starts on Today
  • Show invitee declines

You can choose to sync events from 2 weeks, a month, 3 or 6 months ago or all the events in your calendar. You can also choose:

  • When your week starts
  • Default Calendar. New events you create outside a specific calendar are automatically added to the default calendar. 

Apple Calendar has everything you need to track your meetings and schedule your time. It syncs across all your Apple devices and integrates seamlessly with other Apple apps for a powerful workflow. It’s free and packs features that most of us need. It is definitely worth a try. What calendar app do you prefer using?

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