Google Calendar For The iPad

PROS

  • Video conferencing for events via Google Meet
  • Attach any file (more than 10) to an event
  • Add tasks, reminders and goals too
  • Integrates with Google Tasks
  • Automatically add events from Gmail.

CONS

  • Attaches files only from Google Drive
  • No year view

9/10

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Google Calendar is a free planning and calendar app from Google. You can use it for tracking your Events, Tasks, Reminders and Goals. It has a web app that’s accessible from any device and mobile versions for iPadOS, iOS and Android.

Orientation

Google Calendar has four views you need to be aware of: Schedule, Day, Week and Month. Your landing page can be any of these depending on where you left off when you closed the app. For all these views, except the Month view, you get a calendar on the top left, which you can toggle away if you want. Your landing page has four icons. Starting from the upper left corner. You have the: 

  • Three bar icon for navigation.
  • Toggle icon (on your month) for toggling away the monthly calendar on the left. This icon doesn’t appear on the monthly view though.
  • Calendar icon to jump to the current date.
  • Plus icon for creating Event, Task, Reminder and Goal.

Creating A New Event

When you create a new Event in Google Calendar, you can: 

  •  Add title for the event. 
  • Set the starting date and time.
  • Under More options you can: 
    • Add end time to set the date and time when your event is ending.
    • Choose a Time zone 
    • Set repeating options, which could be: 
      • Every day
      • Every week
      • Every month
      • Every year 
      • Custom repeats every couple of days, weeks, months or years. Depending on your preferences, your task can repeat every:
        • 1-99 days
        • 1-52 weeks on specific days of the week.
        • 1-36 months on the same day or specific day of each month.
        • 1-30 years: wow, once every thirty years, that’s something. We surely all know exactly what we want to be doing thirty years from now and Google Calendar’s got us covered. You can also select when your custom repeating will end:
          • Doesn’t end
          • On a date for a specific date
          • After number of occurrences to let the task repeat, say 5 times then stop
  • Add people: you can invite people to your event via Gmail and allow your guests to add other people. 
  • Add video conferencing to add Google Meet video conferencing details to your meetings.
  • Add location for your event. The app will put a photo of your chosen location if it has photos in Google’s database or adds a map when there are photos of the location you’re looking for. When you long-press on the image or map, you have options to: 
    • Remove photo/map
    • Show in Maps 
  • Set notification time 
    • 10 minutes before
    • 30 minutes before 
    • 1 hour before or 
    • 1 week before, as email.
    • Custom minutes, hours, days or weeks. You can choose to get a notification or an email and you can also have up to five notifications in Google Calendar. If you miss it the first time, surely you have no excuse for missing the fourth or fifth notifications. 
  • Default colour to help you make some important events stand out by using a different colour for them. Or, if you’re extra like Uncle Dan in the studio, you can just have a different colour for every event on your calendar. Some people would call him jobless, while others would find him creative. 
  • Add description 
  • Add attachment from your Google Drive. We managed to attach 10 files in Google Calendar. What are the chances you will need more than that? In case your event is more elaborate than ours, you can add more than 10 attachments to your event. The cool thing about your attachments in Google Calendar is that you can attach anything in your Google Drive: movies, audio files, documents and even zipped files. That is quite decent. On the other hand, you’re only limited to adding attachments from Google Drive only and you can’t add files on your computer or other cloud services. If you’re already in the Google Drive ecosystem, that’s great. If you’re not, that might be a bit uncomfortable.
  • Visibility: You can set your event visibility to Public, Calendar default or Private. Public means anyone with access to your calendar can see the event. But when on private, only your attendees can see it. On Calendar default, the event uses the general visibility settings for your calendar.
  • Show as Available or Busy. When your event shows as busy, that slot in your calendar is no longer available for other people to invite you to events. But when you mark your event as available, people can still invite you to their events during that time. By default every event you create shows as busy, which makes sense.

Save your event when you are done. You can Edit, Delete, Duplicate and Copy the event to another calendar when you are signed in to multiple calendars. You can also create a new event by simply tapping any free spot in your calendar.

Creating A Task

Google Calendar can double as a task managing app. You can create a task in the app just like you do in Google Tasks. Tasks you add to your Google Calendar automatically appear in Google Tasks and vice versa.

You can mark your tasks as completed, but nothing happens to them on your monthly view. In the other three views, Google Calendar strikes them out to differentiate them from incomplete tasks. Your tasks (to-dos) have the Google Tasks logo, so you can tell them apart from your events.

Events Vs Reminders In Google Calendar 

In Google Calendar, your events are complex. They usually involve a lot of people and are fixed. For example, you might have a meeting on the 28th of this month from 7-8 am. If you miss the meeting, that’s it. You’ll have to manually reschedule it. The same goes for weddings, parties and doctor’s appointments, etc. Reminders are different. They are those things you need to do, but always forget for some reason. For example, you’re supposed to call Jane to catch up with her, but you’ve forgotten to do it for the past week. You can set a reminder for tomorrow and your reminder will get pushed forward until you call her and mark your reminder as done. A reminder is not a fixed event, so you can always do it tomorrow or the next day.

Create Reminders 

You can create a Reminder in Google Calendar, set a date and time it. Your reminders can repeat: 

  • Every day
  • Every week
  • Every month
  • Every year and you can customise your repeats as you do with your events. 

Setting Goals

You can set goals for different aspects of your life in Google Calendar: 

  • Exercise 
  • Build a skill
  • Friends and Family 
  • Me time 
  • Organise my life 

It doesn’t matter what goal you choose, the options you get are similar for all the goals in the app. You can choose how often you want to do your goal:

  • Once or twice a month 
  • Once, twice, 3- 5 times a week
  • Every day 

You can’t customize these, you are limited to the options they offer you. But they are enough, aren’t they? You then have to decide how long you want to spend on that goal. The time options depend on how often you do the goal you’ve chosen. The less frequent, the longer each session can be. If you do something once a month you can do it for up to the whole day for example. It makes sense, doesn’t it. When you do it every day, 2hrs is the maximum amount of time you can spend on it. 

Let’s hope in the future they can allow us to customise the duration of each session. I know when I was a medical student, I needed at least 4 hrs of study a day, 2 hrs (the maximum for everyday goals) was simply not enough. Customising the duration of each session can help us personalise our goals and make them work for us.

You can decide the best time for you to work towards your goal:  

  • Morning 
  • Afternoon 
  • Evening 
  • Anytime 

You can choose to get notified before it’s time to complete the day’s goal. You can also turn on Smart notifications to help you prepare and track your progress. A good goal has a time frame. You might want to study for two hours every day for a week or month. That makes it easier to evaluate your progress, especially if you have targets to meet. In that way, this feature is a bit incomplete in Google Calendar. 

Calendar Views

Google Calendar has four different views for the iPad version. 

Schedule View

The schedule view displays everything in your days as lists. This view only shows the dates that you’ve planned for only. It’s a quick way to find out what your week, month or year looks like. 

Day View

The day view shows your scheduled items for the day. Scroll to the left or right to see plans for previous days and next days.

Week View 

The week view shows your week and its scheduled activities. Your All-day tasks go to the top of the calendar below your dates.  

Month View 

The month view will show your month at a glance and you can scroll through your months horizontally. Let’s hope they can give us an option for vertical scrolling for those of us that prefer that. This view doesn’t differentiate your completed plans from incomplete ones. Google Calendar doesn’t have a Year view, which some might not like.

Navigation

You can navigate to the daily view by tapping the dates in the weekly view and you can switch between the daily view and schedule view by tapping on the dates. This sort of gives Google Calendar a digital planner feel. But unfortunately, once you’ve exited the weekly view, there is no quick way to get back to it. Perhaps, the week numbers on the calendar (top right corner) could allow us to do that in the future.

Calendar Widget

Google Calendar has three widgets for your upcoming events and tasks.

Searching Your Calendar 

You can search through your past and future plans in Google Calendar. Navigating through your search results is very straightforward and you can quickly edit anything you want. 

Choosing What Shows

When you have a lot going on in your calendar, it helps to uncheck some items. You can filter what shows on your calendar by ticking the checkboxes for each: 

  • Events 
  • Tasks
  • Reminders
  • Birthdays 
  • Holidays 

Calendar Settings 

General

Under General you can:  

  • Choose Start of the week: Saturday, Sunday or Monday.
  • Turn on Use device time zone 
  • Choose your own Time zone
  • Choose Alternative calendars and Google Calendar has eight alternative calendars.
  •  Turn on 
    • Show week number 
    • Show declined events to keep your calendar less cluttered. 
    • Show month illustrations, which when turned off, make your calendar plain and boring. Works great if you are a minimalist. Frankly, the illustrations give me a headache. 
    • Show event illustrations: these are not bad, but the minimalist in me still prefers plain colours. However, Google Calendar doesn’t have illustrations for all the events you create. It seems to have illustrations for common events like dinners, movies, weddings. That sort of thing. 
  • Set Default event duration: 
    • 15 minutes
    • 30 minutes
    • 60 minutes 
    • 90 minutes 
    • 120 minutes 
  • Turn on Add video conferencing

Events From Gmail 

You can turn on Add events from Gmail to get your plans from Gmail automatically added to your Google Calendar. These could be flight bookings and meetings. This can be a useful automation system. You can decide the Visibility of those events. Turning off this setting deletes all your previously added events and Gmail will no longer automatically add events to your Google Calendar. 

Universal Settings For Events, Task And Reminders

You can save some universal settings for your events, tasks and reminders. For all three, you can choose a default colour for how they’ll look on your Calendar. You have the same colour options for all of them. Colour coding them can help you stay organised and understand what the plans on your calendar mean without even tapping on them. You can set default notifications for your events so you don’t have to do it for every event you create one in the app. You can also choose colours for birthdays and holidays too.

Birthdays And Holidays

The birthdays that appear in your Google Calendar are synced with your Gmail contacts. So if you wish to add a birthday to your calendar, you have to update your contacts information. You can choose your holidays based on country and your religion. 

Manage Accounts

Under Manage accounts, you turn on accounts whose plans you want to see in your calendar. You can also sign into new accounts and remove those you don’t want to see. 

Final Thoughts

Google Calendar is great for anyone who’s already invested in the Google ecosystem. If you use Google Docs, Google Tasks, Google Keep and Gmail (to mention a few) adding Google Calendar to your apps will work great for you. Google Calendar can also be a great calendar to add to your Apple Calendar or vice versa. It packs a lot of useful features as long as you don’t mind using a cloud-based calendar for your plans.

Any thoughts? Do tell, do tell!