Stay organized: The 14 best cross-platform calendars (including apps)

Time planning is essential. At least one calendar you need therefore in any case. It should be digital, so that as a webworker or digital nomad you can organize the organization of your finite time anywhere and on different devices.

If your appointments and tasks on each work device, such as notebook and smartphone, displayed correctly and kept up to date, that is already half the battle. Mac users have it easy, because the Apple operating systems provide for it independently. But for Windows and Android, there are now good and thoughtful solutions. Today, I introduce you to a whole range of cross-platform solutions, so you always stay organized and do not miss an appointment.

The best cross-platform calendarsOnce upon a time: Apple’s iCal is now called Calendar and looks much more modern.

display

The requirements for a good calendar / task manager solution

Today, the average digital worker no longer works only on one device, but also uses smartphones or tablets in addition to the computer or notebook. The first and most important requirement is a fast and reliable synchronization of appointments and tasks across all devices used. Equally important is a clear and clear structure. You have to get along well. In addition, it would not hurt if there is the possibility to share with other appointments.

From these points of view, we looked at some solutions. Here are the results:

Microsoft Outlook

outlook-landing

Microsoft Outlook has existed for over twenty years and was always charged. Since Outlook.com replaced the former freemailers of the house, like Hotmail or Live-Mail, a more differentiated picture emerges. Outlook is still a paid program for Windows computers. You can either buy it for about 135 euros or rent it as part of the Office365 series. Then it costs you as a single user 69 euros per year, whereby you can use all office products and also get a terabyte of online storage space on OneDrive. With Dropbox alone, the storage space would be more expensive, which incidentally was the reason why I switched from Dropbox to OneDrive.

But if you do not want to spend money, you can use the Outlook Web App as well as the mobile apps that are available for Android and iOS, as well as Windows smartphones. Outlook integrates Mac and Google calendars, so you can build a kind of messaging and scheduling center that works over the web and on your mobile devices.


Microsoft Outlook for Mobilke: left Android, right iOS

Microsoft Outlook for Mobilke: left Android, right iOS

I use Outlook on both iOS and Android as my default mail client. But that does not irritate me with the software. In the same way I could manage my appointments with it. I even integrated them, so I get the complete overview in Outlook. I just do not manage it, which is a matter of taste. For me, it’s because I work directly on the desktop with the Google apps and on the mobile device only need a meaningful view of the data.

On iOS, I mainly use Outlook because of its ability to differentiate between relevant and other messages. For other messages, I have turned off the notifications, so iOS informs me only about the receipt of relevant emails. In the other case, with the iOS Mail app, I would get a notification every few minutes. Annoying.


Microsoft Outlook: Web App

Microsoft Outlook: Web App

Outlook definitely belongs in our overview. Even in the free version, it offers enough comfort and synchronization options to meet even higher demands. Incidentally, if you also need a desktop variant to access the data, you can simply use the on-board programs in macOS. On Windows, you use the mail app and start the calendar app from there if necessary. Everything works very smoothly.

Wunderlist


Wunderlist: Landing page

Wunderlist: Landing page

Speaking of Microsoft, we can now also consider Wunderlist as a cross-platform taskmanager solution. Wunderlist was devoured by the company from Redmond, but suffered, at least so far, not the fate of the Sunrise app. Instead, there is still the task administrator from Berlin.

Wunderlist was able to shine from the start with its extremely broad platform support and nothing has changed. There are native apps for macOS, Windows, Android, iOS and Windows smartphones. You can also integrate snippets for Chrome, Firefox and Safari or install a Chrome extension. Wunderlist seamlessly integrates into Microsoft’s Outlook.

In addition to all the apps you use Wunderlist on request very simple via web app, it is basically not flexible. Especially in conjunction with Outlook Wunderlist plays its strengths fully, but users of other systems and services also need not hesitate.

The expiration date for Wunderlist has already expired. Microsoft wanted to place its new app To-Do as an alternative. I wrote about it. Still, to-do is more of a gimmick than a serious app. The Redmonder Laienspieltruppe then decided to let Wunderlist run for a while.


Wunderlist: No matter which app you use. The look is always the same.

Wunderlist: No matter which app you use. The look is always the same.

Microsoft To-Do


Microsoft To-Do, she looks good. (Screenshot: Microsoft)

There’s the slightly mocking app from Redmond. It is not a calendar application, but also a pure task scheduler. Even three years after the Wunderlist takeover by Microsoft, the designated successor named To-Do can not do anything of what Wunderlist does in the championship.

My above-linked contribution to the topic has remained largely current. Also in July 2018, To-Do offers no comments on the task and no real collaboration, although you can now invite people via e-mail to view and edit a specific task.

It really raises the question of what the Redmonders did with the talented team from Berlin. I can not imagine that they have anything to do with To-Do.

To honor the rescue, it must be said that there is now a native app for Windows 10 in addition to the web app and those for Android and iOS. This is basically quite promising, but so far, To-Do does not hold anything in terms of performance.

To-Do is currently available for free, but will probably sooner or later become part of Offense 365’s rental offer.

Kin Calendar

The Kin Calendar is currently in a beta phase that can only be accessed via Invite. The solution was created according to the developers as a direct result of the disappearance of the Sunrise Calendar. And so it is not surprising that Kin is visually strongly based on the faded model.


Kin, a visually great calendar. (Screenshot: Kin)

For the time being, Kin itself is not a viable alternative to any of the other solutions mentioned in this article, even for those who have an invite, like me. Certainly, Kin looks fantastic. All interactions are fluidly animated and integrations with external services, including Trello, Wunderlist, Eventbrite, Github and a handful of others, are already available. However, these integrations do not do much if they work at all. So even after several attempts I did not succeed in linking my Google Calendar, nor my Todoist account.

Visually, Kin is a force. Much more, however, is not there, even mobile apps do not exist. In July 2018, there is little doubt that this will happen again. I would not bet on it.

Google Calendar


Google Calendar in action (Source: Google)

Google delivers a classic cross-platform calendar solution. Google Calendar syncs well with Android and iOS. Apple’s calendar app can also be used with Google Calendar. For Android there is (of course) a separate app, for iOS as well. Additionally, iOS and Mac users can use Google Calendar with their native calendar solutions after easy configuration.

Windows users either use the web interface or sync Google Calendar with the Microsoft Outlook solution. Meanwhile, almost every external app also syncs with Google Calendar. If you use the Mozilla mail client Thunderbird, it’s best to use one of the available calendar add-ons to sync with your Google appointments. Particularly suitable is the add-on called Lightning Calendar.

Small slot: Thunderbird is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. You could also talk about a cross-platform calendar solution when linking Thunderbird to Lightning. Firstly there is no web version and secondly you have to integrate a calendar service. That’s why Thunderbird is included in this list as a side note only.

It’s great that you can share your calendars, either with a public calendar share or just with certain people. A special feature is that Google Calendar can be subscribed via feed. Furthermore, the calendars can be embedded in web pages. This feature only has to offer the Zoho Calendar. It goes without saying that you can invite other people to events.

In October 2017, the Google Calendar received a visual makeover and looks really good. The same experienced the Android app for the product. Nothing has changed fundamentally about the key data.

Google Calendar is free and it does not look like it’s going to change in the future.

Screenshot web view


The Google Calendar in a fresh look, autumn 2017. (Screenshot: Google)

Screenshot Android App


Fresh look, also for the Calendar app (screenshot: Google Play Store)

Apple Calendar


I admit it. I do not use my Apple calendar. (Screenshot: D. Petereit)

As a Mac user, you do not need to worry about which calendar to use. Here, the Apple calendar is almost mandatory. All of your Mac devices sync your calendar fully automatically. Your intervention is not required.

At the same time, the Apple Calendar, called iCloud Calendar in the web version, is so flexible that you can also include it in Outlook or Google Calendar and many other external services and apps. Apple supports the flexible iCal format, which has long been the basis for the open exchange of appointment data and was designed in the olden days by Lotus and Microsoft developers.

The Apple Calendar is completely free to use. As an entrance ticket, however, you need a device from the same manufacturer.

Zoho Calendar


The Zoho Calendar does not have to hide. (Screenshot: Zoho)

Zoho is a company based in India characterized by slow, patient and unemotional growth. Completely privately financed and without pressure to satisfy investor “fantasies”, Zoho has been developing stable office software for decades, in direct competition with the Google Apps.

Unlike Google, while Zoho can not look at hundreds of millions of users, 30 million are now. Just like the Google Suite, now called G-Apps, you can purchase the Zoho range for your business as part of a rental model. Just like the Google products, those from Zoho can also be used free of charge for smaller demands. Unlike Google’s toolbox, which is limited to a few basic products, Zoho’s palette is huge. Even a CRM system is included and a solution for the mapping of applicant processes in human resources management, as well as various tools for accounting and reporting.

So it’s not surprising that the Zoho Calendar is a very powerful alternative to the Google Calendar. Basically, you can scroll up and read what I wrote to Google’s scheduler. All of that is true for Zoho’s solution. Of course, if you use other products from the Indian manufacturer, you benefit from the close involvement of all parts of the suite. For example, you can schedule leads from the CRM directly in the calendar.

Of course, Zoho Calendar is suitable for group scheduling and also showing publicly available calendars is no problem. Zoho Calendar can embed into websites, subscribe to feed and integrate with all other solutions, in case of doubt via CalDAV and iCal (ics). If you also want to organize your tasks in interaction, use the Pendant Zoho Tasks, which is also part of the suite.


Zoho Mail on the smartphone integrates the calendar. (Screenshot: Zoho)

By the way, the Zoho Calendar speaks German, so you do not need to use your English skills. If you want to use the Zoho Calendar mobile, you use the Zoho Mail app, which is available for both iOS and Android.

A not inconsiderable feature of the Zoho suite is that you can even host it on your own hardware. But this topic would blow up the post.

Zoho laces his suite into different packages and prizes them differently. But there is always a free version that should be sufficient for use as a freelancer or small agency. In terms of price, Zoho is in the absolutely competitive range and is more oriented to Google and Microsoft, so you can count in the single-digit dollar range per user per month.

Teamup Calendar


The teamup calendar with an adapted look. (Screenshot: D. Petereit)

The Teamup Calendar is good for all those who work together on appointments. Sounds abstract? Yes, here you have to go a little bit more openly to the concept. Because of course you can use Teamup to simply give all team members their own calendar within the system and consolidate the appointments into a common overview.

But you could also organize your fleet’s occupancy with the tool, or occupy the conference rooms in your company, or allow your clients to get appointments with you. In all of these cases where you can find heaps of best practices on the Teamup homepage, the calendar is not associated with a person, but rather with a room or vehicle or consulting room containing any resource.

Therefore, Teamup knows no limitation of users, but you can create as many as you like. Maybe there are also small Einsatztrupps in your company, which each consist of three men and their appointments always perceive together. Then these three users would only need access to a calendar, while the total number of appointments would be defined by the total number of task forces. Is it clear, right?

So there is no limit on users, but there is a limit to the calendars. In the free account, you can create eight calendars and use them without restrictions. Appointment data is only kept for one year and access control is via secret links, not a password. With commercial use and a corresponding calendar requirement, you will therefore quickly come up with the idea to take one of the paid offers.

For 12 calendars and a retention period of five years, as well as the possibility to log in with a password, you pay eight USD per month. These eight dollars are for the complete solution, not per user. If you want, you can count it down to the number of calendars and come to about 66 US cents per calendar month. For $ 20 you get 50 calendars, so you only pay 40 cents per calendar. In this tariff image and other file uploads are possible. Appointment data is secured for ten years.

Functionally, Teamup leaves nothing to be desired. The interface speaks German and can be customized by logo on your corporate design. Look at the screenshot above. I have the Dr. Inserted web logo. Teamup offers apps for iOS and Android, as well as integration with the communication tool Slack. In addition, you can integrate Teamup appointments in Google’s calendar and vice versa.

Teamup is in a very busy development and can impress with big names as customers. Just go through the case studies directly on the homepage.

Any.do (+ Cal)

Any.do task management

Any.do is not a calendar app, but a task manager, so a task manager. The award-winning app is easy to use and syncs perfectly on all devices. Apps are offered for Android and iOS, there is a special extension for Google Chrome and the clear web interface is available for managing the appointments and tasks on the home computer.

Share ToDo lists with friends, family members, and colleagues. Share a grocery list with your partner, plan an event with your friends, or just keep track of a professional project. Any.do can be integrated into Gmail by extension and will hook into any email to provide tracking options.

The Any.do synchronization across all devices

Probably because of the great success of the Task Manager app, the creators of Any.do decided to set a calendar for the task planner. This bears the simple name Cal and blends seamlessly into the look of Any.do.

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The video shows the app for Android. However, this is visually and functionally largely identical to that for iOS. A web app exists, unlike Any.do itself, at least not yet. Cal is also available for free.

The catch of the matter is that Cal is not a calendar in the true sense, but can only be used as a frontend to a calendar you have set up elsewhere. How to manage your Google Calendars Cal. If you do not use a calendar service yet, Cal is not an alternative for you.


Cal by Any.do: Pretty is the app without a doubt.

Cal by Any.do: Pretty is the app without a doubt.

Cal only uses its full benefit in conjunction with the task scheduler Any.do, which is why you can and should combine both services. If you do not, Cal annoys you in many places with the recommendation to make up for it.

When dealing with Cal, it can be clearly seen that the main focus of the developers was on the design. Thus, decisions were made, which could be questioned in some places. Of course, it looks better if you only see one day. However, sometimes the overview of a whole week or at least one in Agenda form is much more helpful. Cal does not offer both. For that, you get by far the most beautiful dialog for entering new appointments, which are available on the market.

However, the creators of Any.do have now lost a bit of enthusiasm for their by-product Cal. Updates have not been around for two years, while Any.do itself is being developed almost innovatively. Here we are waiting for the Any.do Assistant, who wants to raise task planning to a new level.

There is now a premium version of Any.do, which costs between $ 2 and $ 3, depending on how many devices you want to use the app on. Also interesting is the Slack integration, which provides you with your task management as a bot.

But if you’re looking for a calendar application, I would not recommend Any.do Cal, although it’s free. Maybe that will change until the next update of this post.

Todoist

Todoist celebrated his tenth birthday in 2017. Meanwhile, almost 50 employees work on the service, who was allowed to welcome his ten millionth user on the occasion of his birthday. Todoist had his own approach from the beginning, his own idea of task management. I do not know if, or better, how often, the team has discussed internally, whether it would not be useful to the task management to provide an additional appointment management. Anyway, it never happens and after ten years I would not expect it any more.

So the first thing you notice when you are looking for a calendar is that there is none. In Todoister, the representation of the tasks basically follows in list form. There are time-related lists, such as “today” and “next 7 days”. In it you also see days that are not occupied with tasks, so that with a lot of imagination can create a calendar. Of course, it’s up to you how you use Todoist. So you could enter appointments as tasks there, it is not thought so.

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An essential strength of Todoist is the wide platform support. No matter which mobile device you use, there is an app for it. Native apps are also available for Windows and macOS, although the web app for me personally was still completely sufficient. I do not use a native Todoist app on desktop devices, only the web interface.

In addition to the various apps for Todoist various extensions are available, with the help of which one integrates Todoist in Gmail or Outlook. I also like to use the browser extension, which allows you to add the website you are currently visiting as a task.

Optically, Todoist is reduced to the absolute minimum, which makes working with the service simple and focused. Everything that is preached to design these days Todoist has been doing for ten years.


Todoist: lots of whitespace and clear design. (Photo: Todoist)

My favorite feature is the ability to enter appointments naturally-linguistically. You type in “Tomorrow morning at eight o’clock” and Todoist sets the date correctly. The same applies to the creation of recurring appointments, such as “every Monday at eight o’clock”.

Overall, Todoist offers a mature package that leaves nothing to be desired. So of course you can also delegate tasks and manage them in a team. Subprojects and subtasks provide greater clarity within more complex task relationships. All these features are available free of charge.

However, if you want to work with comments or sort assignments additionally via labels and filters, you need a premium account. This beats at a manageable 32 euros per year to book. The team account costs the same per team member, but also includes team administration and centralized billing for all members. The latter is a comfort feature that surprisingly does not offer many services. Every user has to start his own payment process. Unthinkable in larger companies.

You will be informed in detail about the different features of the different tariffs here.

Jorte

Jorte is a calendar from the land of the rising sun, which should also explain, for Western eyes, rather playful kitschy design. Jorte is available for the smartphones on iOS, Android and Windows, as well as a web app, which is then called Jorte Cloud. In terms of appearance, every bad taste is served, even a cinnamon design can be chosen.

Functionally, Jorte is based on proven concepts from the analog world, such as those of a Filofax. The app brings notes, appointments and tasks under one roof and is therefore extremely well in everyday life. Similar to the Google Calendar, external calendars can be added to Jorte, so you can always see when school holidays or the next holiday are, as long as you include such publicly available calendars. You can also share your calendars, for example in a team or for the public. There are no other possibilities, such as targeted delegation.

While the web app works smoothly, it’s the mobile apps that will be the most enjoyable for fans of the calendar. Here you can even add photos directly to appointments and choose from a large variety of different icons and fonts. Who likes it …

In order to switch off the advertising in Jorte, you have to fork for $ 3.99 per year (!!) for Jorte Plus. If you’re a fan of playful designs, get Jorte Buffet a larger variety of icons and pictures for $ 1.99 a month. If you want to link Evernote and Office 365 to Jorte, it will cost you $ 2.99 per month in the Premium Plan. Please note that Jorte Plus actually costs $ 3.99 a year, while all other tariffs are payable monthly.

Jorte offers a considerable range of functions, but does not manage to create enthusiasm. The tools seem stale, at least somehow not made for European users. Even the website with its completely inconsistent appearance looks like a relic from the distant past.

Still, I can not really blame Jorte. The Android app has just been updated these days. The product is in active development.

SmartDay – collaborative appointment and task planner

SmartDay from Leftcoastlogic sees itself as a one-stop-shop for the scheduling and task planning of real people. It wants to organize appointments, appointments, tasks, notes and projects alike and is fully committed to collaboration. This way, comments can be written on every task and appointment, tasks can be delegated and projects can be shared. The smart thing about SmartDay is that, if you want it, you can automatically schedule your tasks between your other appointments.

SmartDay is available as mySmartDay.com for the web. Here it is designed for free and primarily as a synchronization hub for the apps for macOS, iOS and Android. While the use of the web app is free, you have to pay 9.99 EUR for the macOS version, 4.99 EUR for the iOS version and 3.64 EUR for Android. The prices are a one-time payment, not a subscription.

Before you jump happily onto the package, keep in mind that SmartDay has been resting since at least spring 2016. Development activity is no longer recognizable. I’m afraid SmartDay I will be able to finally remove the next update of this post. The Android version, for example, is no longer available in the Play Store …

fruux -Contacts, Calendars & Tasks

fruux, syncs everything and everything

The Mnster startup fruux has set itself the task of synchronizing pretty much everything with everyone in real time. So fruux will be used with the applications that have already been used and loved. The synchronization solution is not tied to any specific operating system, it should just work with everyone. Whether you use Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Android or iOS. Share your calendar with friends, create a team address book or work out other things that you would like to share. All data that you entrust to fruux will be migrated to the company’s own cloud on European servers.

After signing up for the free basic account, you’ll be prompted to briefly sync your devices and applications, which is relatively quick and effortless. These work steps are only payable once, then fruux takes over the work and keeps all integrated media / devices in sync. In principle, contacts, calendars and task lists can be synchronized.

The fruux synchronization setup

Once done, fruux can be used with any device from any location. In the free basic version 2 devices can be synchronized with each other.

fruux - share and manage from anywhere

Do you need more synchronization, or do you want to enjoy the benefits of fruux with your team, then you have to opt for one of the offered premium accounts.

The chargeable accounts of fruux

The pro account for 4 € per month is quite affordable. Sync up to 10 devices or applications together. Also, you can share things with others as often as you like.

In the last few years fruux has also become quiet. After it looked as if a well-known investor participation would give the development a boost, this assumption did not seem to have come true. Almost exactly a year ago, the startup media reported that fruux founder Tobschall had bought back his former investors from the company. Since then nothing substantial has happened to me as a viewer of the exterior view. Therefore, if I had to decide now, I would not rely on fruux in the future.

Yahoo Calendar


The good old Yahoo Calendar still exists. (Screenshot: D. Petereit)

At least the nostalgia obliges me not to hide the Yahoo Calendar at this point. Visually and functionally, the Yahoo tool is a subset of the Google Calendar, but also free. Yahoo Calendar is integrated with Yahoo Mail on the web, just as it was on Google. Although there is a Yahoo Mail app for mobile use, it does not integrate the calendar.

So if you want to see your appointments on the go, you’ll have to choose one of the third-party apps that abound in the app stores. If CalDAV or iCal is supported, that should not be a problem. So if you feel comfortable in the Yahoo universe, Yahoo Calendar might be the logical choice for you.

To create a calendar, you need a Yahoo account. Maybe you even have one from the nineties somewhere 😉

Cozi Family Organizer


Cozi Family Organizer: Especially for families. (Photo: Cozi)

Gladly I would have recommended to you at this point the very promising solution called Cozi, with which you could completely organize your family. It offers not only a color-coded calendar for the whole rascals, but also shopping and to-do lists and a few other delicacies that make it a very useful tool in everyday life.

In addition, there is the scope of services for free as a web app, as well as for iOS and Android. Sounds good? Yes, but can not be booked in Germany. Well, we’re jealous of the more than 20 million users in other parts of the world who already use Cozi.

Conclusion

Especially in the area of cross-platform calendars and task managers, there is still an increased need for development. In my humble opinion the best solution in our small test field is the Google Calendar.

The second outstanding application is Any.do, which I find very exciting. No costs and on the essentials, namely the appointment management, reduced. However, the App Cal of the same manufacturer completes the package inadequate.

Microsoft Outlook has an overall position at this point as it integrates with many services. For example, you could manage your Google Calendar with Outlook. Mac users simply use the Apple Calendar. I use Google Calendar for appointments and Todoist for tasks.

Which system do you use and why?

Links to the post

Google Calendar

  • Google Calendar web interface
  • Google Calendar Android App
  • Google Calendar Help

Microsoft Outlook

  • Home of the service
  • Outlook Android App
  • Outlook iOS app

Wunderlist

  • Home of the service
  • Download the various apps
  • Wunderlist for Android

Microsoft To-Do

  • Landing page

Kin Calendar

  • Home of the service
  • Blog about the product

Zoho Calendar

  • Homepage of the Scheduler application
  • Homepage of the suite

TeamUp

  • Homepage of the team calendar service

Any.do

  • Any.do homepage and web interface
  • Further explanations incl. Video to Any.do
  • Any.do App in the Apple App Store
  • Any.do in the Google Play Store

Cal by Any.do

  • Home of the service
  • Cal for Android
  • Cal for iOS

Todoist

  • Todoist homepage
  • Todoist blog

Jorte

  • Landing page
  • Jorte Cloud

SmartDay

  • Landing page
  • SmartDay Online

fruux

  • The fruux homepage
  • The supported devices and applications

(The article first appeared on October 16, 2014 and has since been updated regularly, most recently on July 10, 2018.)

(Product Image: Depositphotos)