677: Software Club: Fantastical

I have a few thoughts about the episode and about Fantastical. I’m not sure if this information will be useful to any of you,or if it’s just a chance for me to unload some of my…anxiety on the situation.

First of all, I LOVE the app. I don’t use openings or proposals, nor do I use calendar sets or even templates. That said, I have a handful of calendars. When I say “Thing 1” or “Thing 2”, this is a reference to my two kids. Thanks Adam Savage for the great descriptor.

Calendars are:

  • My own personal calendar (iCloud)
  • My wife’s personal calendar (iCloud)
  • Thing 1’s calendar (iCloud)
  • Thing 2’s calendar (iCloud)
  • My work calendar (Outlook 365)
  • My supplemental job as a part time teacher calendar (Outlook 365)
  • Formula 1 Races
  • Toronto Maple Leafs Schedule
  • Garbage collection schedule for my area

Using Fantastical, it was easy to add the Formula 1 & Leafs calendars through their “interesting calendars” feature. This is well thought out in my opinion.

There are two main things that make me LOVE LOVE LOVE this app.

  1. I love the natural language input. Saying “Thing 2 Hockey Game vs The Dragons Saturday at 3pm at the Ice Hut” and having the event created is SO much easier than the toggle happy pages of 92% of all other apps.

  2. I love the information-dense, scrolling calendar view. Unlike the stock app, I don’t have to “peck” my way around the calendar, selecting one day at a time. I can see the entire month view at the top AND scroll through my events as I see fit. I noticed Calendars 366 does this as well, though it doesn’t seem to update the calendar at the top of the screen as you go – maybe that’s because I had the free version or there’s a setting somewhere.

When I download or view apps like Calendars by Readdle or BusyCal, they all have this really ugly, higher level view that seems really cluttered and super busy, making it difficult to read.

So what don’t I like? Well, I’ve long found them to be too expensive. Even in the days of a single purchase, they were asking $49 USD for the Mac app – that’s getting into the $60’s here in Canada. Then they put out their sub in Jan 2020 and it was about $65 CAD, but you got the Mac AND iOS apps – not soooo bad I guessssss.

But I have to tell you, the 50% price increase leaves a bad taste in my mouth. $85 CAD per year seems awfully high when you consider what else your $85 can get you in the subscription world. I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the fact I’ll be leaving Fantastical in October when my sub is up and it’s too bad, because natural language input is a game changer.

It also left me a little miffed seeing the guys cover Fantastical on the podcast and not mentioning the increase or addressing it. I know they talked about subs in general but the increase was left out of it. This seems like the guy from Flexibits calling his buddy for some free promotion and damage control.

Finally, I understand you have to pay for apps. I understand it costs money to keep these things afloat. My wife will tell you I do TOO good of a job supporting app developers. I just can’t square $80 a year with a calendar app, and seeing Flexibits respond to people on social media and listening to them on this podcast – I daresay they seem a little full of themselves and out of touch. Cocky even.


Great episode and timely as my subscription is about to lapse. Given the price hike, I’m trying out Calendar to see if my needs are met. I like Fantastical, but I don’t think I’m getting that much out of it to justify one of my most expensive software subs.

For me, several features are less useful anymore. Focus modes help with calendar sets. I’ve replaced the join zoom button with a shortcut shared by MacStories. While I like natural language entry, I work at a corporate gig where most meetings involve scheduling around other people’s calendars. That last note means I don’t get much out of the proposals feature either. There are things I will miss, but I think I can get by without them.

Would you mind sharing a link to the zoom shortcut from MacStories? This is one of the main premium features I use in Fantastical which is not grandfathered in based on my Fantastical 2.0 purchase. This might convince me to shift back to the free version.

It’s a real shame, I love the app and I am happy paying for it, however the recent price increase is forcing me back to the free version. If this thread is representative of Fantastical users then it does not bode well for Fantastical

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I was shocked by the size of the recent price-hike and decided not to renew - Then I spent a week with Calendar and BusyCal. It showed me why I use Fantastical and changed my mind.
Part of that is because I have a lot going on and Fantastical is part of my workflows so it’s more effort to rejig everything under pressure - part of that is because I really like some of the features of Fantastical - especially Calendar Sets and Proposals (which I would otherwise do in a separate software).
I’m glad I had time to think about the renewal and test alternatives. Like many here, I’ve had Fantastical since v.1 and really appreciate it.


I couldn’t agree more!

I was waiting for them to address the price increase but they bottled it.


I can understand the hosts didn’t want to corner him on the podcast with regards to price hike. But it would have given him an opportunity to put forward his reasoning on the price hike. Again there are costs associated is a far too generic statement. They could’ve asked something on the lines that a lot of MPU members have this question and would you mind addressing it and left it for him either to comment or pass on the question.


Just listened to the first half of the episode. And it’s basically just one big ad spot for Fantastical, isn’t it?

On the positive side: David did tell that he did some paid work for Flexibits in the past. So no doubt about that.

No judgement. Just sayin’.

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The podcast should not be biased towards the developers or companies. The listeners especially here in MPU are the ones who care about this forum/podcast and that should be accounted for when the guests come on the show.

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Uh huh. :slight_smile:

I think Simmons earnestly believes they’re worth the money and software is getting more expensive to make. Basically the same as what he said about charging more than $1 for the original iOS app and charging $50 for the Mac app. I don’t like the price increase, but I don’t know what else he could really say about it. It’s on me/us to decide if we want to pay or not.

All three Software Club episodes (Drafts, Apollo, Fantastical) have had the format of “here’s a really nice app in this category that we love; we’ll talk about why we like it for a bit, and then talk to the developer about it.” I like the format, and I also like the ones where they pitch different apps against each other in a category and spend plenty of time on the free/stock options.


What does the Title say? Its a focussed episode on a software app.

Stephen also said he does not use the app and used it for 3 weeks to prep for the episode.

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Forgive me for judging, but there was judgement.

I think the competition for Fantastical is Busycal not the Apple Calendar. The main difference I see between Fantastical and BusyCal is the proposals. Both have sets, both do nature language the big features I see mentioned. If you’re using any other Setapp apps, I’d think the logical choice is BusyCal. What am I missing by not using Fantastical?

Proposals and Openings are what keep me there. I make lots of use of Openings for managing my office hours, and Proposals occasionally for scheduling meetings.

At my college, Doodle seems to be the main tool for finding meeting times, but (1) the free version is ugly, and (2) the cheapest paid tier is $6.95/month if paid annually (so $83.40/year), or a whopping $14.95/month if paid monthly. Fantastical looks better, does more, and is cheaper.

If I weren’t using Proposals and Openings, though, I’d probably dig out my old BusyCal license or just stick with Apple Calendar.

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One of the main reasons I keep getting drawn back to Fantastical is that it displays calendars in a month view on my iPhone in a usable way. I’m not sure how anyone can use Apple’s Calendar app on their iPhone if they use month view…just seeing a dot where there is an event is completely unhelpful to me. I just need Apple to change that, and I can stop using any third-party apps.


Not sure who “hosts” your calendars but if it’s Google, check out their iOS app MUCH better than Apples. Or Readdle’s iOS month view is good and it can access iCloud or Google.

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@HobbyCollector I don’t know if this helps or not, but on the iPhone Calendar app you can click on the icon that shows a screen and bulleted list. This displays the days of the month and events under each day when you select a day of the month.


If I could just scroll the list in this view (as in Fantastical), I’d probably use the stock app. I’d even let the fact all the dots are black slide.

But the fact you have to click each day is infuriating. As David said in this week’s episode — you have to “peck” your way through your calendar.


I’m willing to peck to save $60, but that’s just me. :slightly_smiling_face:


Good point :laughing:

I have been trialing other apps recently. I almost think I could make Outlook work for my calendar. I’m using that app for work email already.

I don’t like the fact it takes two clicks to get to my calendar (open Outlook/click calendar icon), but I don’t use a calendar app icon anyway — I access my calendar via a medium widget at the top of my home screen. So the widget puts me into calendar quick and easy with one click.

I really like Timepage too, but it’s a little too “flash over function” for me. Calendars by Readdle doesn’t have any views I really like, and Calendars 366 feels like a poor mans Fantastical ripoff. A lot of the functionality IS there though. Will be interesting to see where I land.

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Thank you for those recommendations. I do use Google to hose my domain’s email/calendar so I’ll take a look! Really appreciate it!