Streamlined design and feature parity
The new Fantastical experience with a refined user interface is available across the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch. What’s more, Fantastical 3 enables feature parity because you can now at long last access all of its capabilities across the iOS and macOS platforms.
In other words, anything that was on Mac that wasn’t on iOS is now on iOS, and vice versa. And no, they’re not using Catalyst for Fantastical’s Mac app — thank God for that! Needless to say, Fantastical for Apple Watch packs in a subset of features due to form factor limitations.
But first, watch Flexbits’ spiffy promo video for the new Fantastical, embedded below.
Aside from the all-new design, Fantastical supports many native OS features such as a handy Today widget, Action and Share sheet extensions as well as Handoff support for seamless continuity between the Mac, iPhone and iPad editions of the software.
Fullscreen calendar views
Fantastical now includes a fullscreen calendar window on iOS with your day, week, month and year views. I like the new fullscreen modes, they take the utmost advantage of the available screen real estate, especially on iPad. Browsing your calendar in fullscreen mode is the best way to focus on task management and your agenda for any given day.
Frequent travelers and other users are going to like yet another improvement in Fantastical 3 — time zone support. You can now add as many time zones to your calendars as you like and easily see event times in several of your favorite time zones directly in the event view.
That’s right, no more asking Google how 3pm EST translates into your local time zone!
Weather forecasts and richer task support
Fantastical supported to-dos before, but the new version has a focused Tasks view that lets you see events and dated tasks together in the main list. Like with calendars, Fantastical supports external to-do services like iCloud Reminders, Todoist and Google Tasks.
Connect iCloud Reminders and any changes made to to-dos in Fantastical are reflected in iCloud Reminders and the stock Reminders app, and vice versa. Like with Apple Reminders, you can add dates, times and location-based geofences (when I arrive/when I leave) to your tasks.
Your calendar now also includes advanced forecasts based on event location.
Seeing what the weather might be like at the event location is crucial in deciding whether to move around the meeting. The app uses AccuWeather’s MinuteCast to show a minute-by-minute forecast of when it will start or stop raining or snowing. This feature ties in with Fantastical’s time to leave notifications, “so you’ll never forget to take your umbrella with you,” as per Flexibits.
Built-in external accounts
Since its inception this app’s let you effortlessly add, view and search all of your events and tasks. Fantastical can use the system database that Apple apps like Calendar and Reminders plug into, as well as connect directly to Google, Exchange, Office 365, Todoist, Meetup or any CalDAV-compliant service.
A new Accounts feature in Fantastical 3.0 simplifies connecting to your favorite services. You can now log in to a preferred service directly from within the app without having to add it through Settings on iOS or System Preferences on macOS. Any services added with the Accounts feature are automatically available in Fantastical on your other devices, no need to re-authorize them separately.
I’m liking this feature a lot.
In previous version of Fantastical, I used to import special calendars like US Holidays. Fantastical 3 brings an insanely comprehensive collection of special calendars for holidays, sports, television and many other topics of interest. Unlike special calendars that I used to hunt with a little help from Google, these so-called interesting calendars in the new Fantastical are powered by SchedJoules, ensuring their relevancy and richness.
Your calendar sets, which were available in previous versions, now sync across all your devices, even on Apple Watch. For those unaware of calendar sets, they can include both visible and hidden calendars that you have cherry-picked. You can toggle between different sets of calendars in an instant or create location-based calendar sets that Fantastical will auto-switch to when you arrive to or leave a specified location.
Scheduling meetings in Fantastical is now easier than ever.
With meeting proposals, you can ask people what days and times work for them best without the back and forth via email or phone. Simply provide multiple times for the invitees to vote for. Once everyone responds and a common time is found, the app turns the proposal into an event on your calendar just like that. If you’ve ever tried to co-ordinate a meeting between more than two invitees, you instinctively know that event proposals solve a very real problem.
Introducing a Premium subscription
Fantastical has switched to the subscription model.
The app remains free to download, with all paid Fantastical 2.0 users continuing to enjoy the features they already paid for without extra charge. An optional Premium subscription unlocks several advanced features such as full calendar windows, calendar sets, weather, interesting calendars, scheduling, event and task list, as well as natural language event and task creation.
Natural language parser and other perks
An intuitive parsing engine has always been one of the hallmarks of this awesome app. It couldn’t be simpler, you just enter event/task details in your language or use Dictation to quickly create events or tasks by speaking a sentence. The app detects your entered language regardless of the system’s language setting, parses the input and creates your item based on the provided parameters.
For instance, type or saying aloud “Lunch next Tuesday with Seb at 1pm PST at Kaito Sushi in San Diego” will do the trick. To create tasks, start sentences with “tasks”, “todo”, “reminder” or “remind me to.” To add alerts, end your natural language input with a phrase like “remind me tomorrow at 3PM”, “alert 1 hour before” or “alarm 3PM.”
Apple lets you create reminders and calendar events with your voice by using Siri, too, but there’s no natural language parser in the stock Calendar and Reminders apps. In other words, Fantastical’s versatile natural language parser remains one of its major competitive advantages over Apple’s stock solutions.
The engine is even more flexible in Fantastical 3 thanks to autocomplete suggestions for invitees, locations and calendars. You can also use expressive repeating events like “third Thursday of every month”, “every weekend”, “last weekday of the month”, etc. And with Zoom account support, you can create a conference simultaneously while adding an event.
You now get individual event colors in Fantastical across platforms. On iOS, you can finally use attachments, combined events and availability information. The new Fantastical is fully localized in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.
The watchOS app now works without an iPhone. If you have a cellular watch, you can now use the app on the go. And with a free Flexibits account, all your calendar sets, templates, notifications, weather settings and other items are kept in perfect sync across devices.
For further details, visit flexibits.com/fantastical.
Pricing and availability
Fantastical 3 is now available for free on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac on App Store. You can also download the Mac version directly from the Fantastical website. The download links for Fantastical 3 are the same as those for Fantastical 2 because the new Fantastical is an update to the existing app rather than a brand-new release.
Business users are free to reach out to Flexibits for enterprise support and volume discounts.
The free edition of Fantastical has limited features. An optional Premium subscription — available with monthly and discounted annual options — unlocks all the features across platforms. The monthly subscription is five bucks or $3.33 monthly when billed annually, representing a 33 percent discount or four months of service for free.
Fantastical Premium comes with a 14-day free trial.
The Mac app requires macOS High Sierra 10.13 or later while its iPad counterpart requires iPadOS 13 or later. The iPhone app requires iOS 13 or later and its Apple Watch component is compatible with watchOS 6 or later.
But what about Fantastical 2 users?
As mentioned before, all Fantastical 2 users will get automatically updated to version 3.0 without losing anything because the new app will detect their prior installations and unlock all existing Fantastical 2 features they already have. Users will have to pay to get the new capabilities introduced in Fantastical 3 or use the features included in the Premium tier.
“Oh, and there will be a few bonuses they didn’t have, and this also means technical support and bug fixes will continue even though Fantastical 2 is no longer a product,” Fantastical’s Michael Simmons explained to me via email.
We’re glad the separate iPad app is finally going away — the iOS edition of Fantastical is now a universal binary which pack in code and other assets for the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, all in one download. As a result of this change, iPad customers will need to download the new universal binary to get the new features.
Your take on Fantastical 3
How do you like the new Fantastical 3.0 update? Do you use this app and if so, what are your favorite features in Fantastical thus far, and why?
Share your thoughts in the commenting section down below!