If your phone’s personal calendar app hasn’t been used much in the past two years of social distancing and working from home, it might be time to refresh. Here’s a quick guide to tools in Apple’s iOS Calendar and Google Calendar that help you plan your social life, get to your events on time, share your hybrid work schedule with family, and more.
Back to basic
Your Apple ID or Google account includes a default calendar app that can be synced to any device signed in to that account. Adding and editing appointments in Apple’s iOS Calendar app or the Google Calendar app for Android and iOS is easy: just tap the plus (+) button on the screen and fill in the details. (Apple’s Siri and the Google Assistant can add events on command or from events mentioned in email.) You can also add a location and adjust the amount of time it alerts you to the event.
When you manually create a new appointment in the iOS, far left, or Google Calendar app, you can specify time, location, frequency, and alert time; your phone’s assistant can automatically add found events via email or voice commands. Credit… Apple; google
On an iPhone, tap the Today button in the lower-left corner of the calendar’s month view to see what’s right outside your door. In the Google Calendar app, tap the menu icon in the top left corner and select Schedule to see your next appointments. You can use search to find events. Do you want to see the whole week in pictures? Turn your phone sideways.
Holding your phone horizontally makes it easier to see the week’s events in both iOS calendar, top, and Google calendar. Credit… Apple; google
Be on time
Scheduling an appointment is easy. Arriving on time can be more difficult, but Apple and Google have turned to their mapping software for help.
When you create an appointment (or edit an existing one) in Apple’s iOS calendar, select the Travel time option for the appointment and tap the button to enable it. The app automatically calculates the time it will take to get there by car, foot, or other modes of transportation based on distance and travel conditions from your current or specified location. (You can also just use a general time block.) The feature also works on the Mac desktop calendar app.
When you enable the Travel Time tool for an event, Apple considers traffic and transportation conditions in the alert so you know when it’s time to leave. Credit… Apple
Using Google Calendar in a desktop browser is the most direct way to add travel time. To do this, create or edit an event and click on the location. In the Google Maps panel that opens on the right, scroll through the suggested itineraries and click the Add to Calendar button to schedule the predicted travel time before your appointment.
Customize your views
Want to change the day your week starts or adjust other calendar behavior? Go to the settings of the calendar app. On an iOS device, open the Settings app from the Home screen and select Calendar. In Google Calendar for Android and iOS, tap the menu icon and select Settings, then General.
Both apps can display the dates of a religious or cultural calendar. Tap Alternate Calendar and select one; Apple offers Chinese, Hebrew, and Islamic/Hijri options, as does Google, which also includes Indian, Korean, and Persian calendars.
Share and subscribe
With Apple and Google you can add calendars to your personal calendar, for example for holidays, birthdays or the book club. At the bottom of the main iOS Calendar screen, tap Calendars, then tap Add Calendar. To share it with others, create an iCloud calendar and in the Shared with section, tap Add person and enter the email addresses of the other people using the calendar. (If you would like to add your company’s official office calendar, please contact your employer for advice.)
You need to use a browser to create an additional Google calendar. Log into the program on the web and click the plus sign next to Other Calendars on the left side of the screen. Once you’ve created the calendar, select it in the My Calendars Settings section and add the email addresses of the people who will be sharing it.
Some sports leagues and other groups offer online public calendars for subscriptions to their sites (DailyExpertNews also has a free astronomy calendar), and all you need is a web link to subscribe. In the iOS Calendar app, tap Add Calendar, select Add Subscription Calendar and paste in the URL. In the Google Calendar settings in the browser, click the + next to Other Calendars and choose “From URL” to paste in the link; the “Browse Interesting Calendars” menu option has several freebies to explore.