Alternative to Fantastical?

I’m a long-time user of Fantastical, and was happy to pay for their apps when they first started charging. However, their recent price increase is ridiculous, from $39.99 to $56.99. I just can’t rationalize that much of a price jump.

I used the Apple Calendar app for many years, and was happy with it for the most part, but Apple’s apps seem so much more buggy these days, I’m a little nervous about going back to it.

Can anyone recommend an alternative that doesn’t cost so much, or help me feel more comfortable about going back to Calendar? If it’s working well for you, I’d love to hear it, as well as any known-bugs you can tell me about.

I’ve been using Apple’s Calendar app for years and am happy with it. Maybe I’m simple in my needs, but over the last decade or more I’ve occasionally tried out other apps (like Fantastical) but they never seemed to offer anything that made me want to switch. For reference, I have 9 calendars in iCloud (most shared by me or to me) plus 2 calendars in a secondary iCloud account, and 15 calendars in a CalDAV (NextCloud) account. Obviously I don’t have them all showing at once!

I also have time zone support enabled and have events in different time zones. For me, Calendar works well, has good keyboard shortcuts, and looks good. I’ve not noticed any bugs. It’s been solid for me pretty much since I moved from classic Mac OS to MacOS (X).


Can anyone recommend an alternative that doesn’t cost so much, or help me feel more comfortable about going back to Calendar? If it’s working well for you, I’d love to hear it, as well as any known-bugs you can tell me about.

Like you…I’m an old time Fantastical user but never went beyond the v2 on macOS and 3 on iOS…too much cost for value added. I mostly use Calendar now and it keeps getting better so I’m not ever going back to Fantastical.


I tried Fantastical for awhile, but went back Apple’s Calendar. I’ve been happy with it except that syncing via USB seems to be badly broken in Ventura (so I backed out to Monterey).

1 Like

On Mac, I just use the stock calendar app. On iOS, I use Fantastical the free version just for the natural language data entry, then clean up (add locations, travel times, etc.) in the stock calendar app.

I’ve been using BusyCal for ages. Here is the licensing information.


Another BusyCal fan here.


BusyCal as well, could do whatever I threw at it. I like the very customisable interface. It has the natural language entry and menubar app that Fantastical excelled at.


Just a reminder that you may not need to pay for Flexibits Premium at all, if you don’t need the features included in the premium subscription. Much of what Fantastical does is available for free.

I’m asking Flexibits what’s up with the price increase.


Thanks everyone, this is awesome! I’m going to have to dig into the Fantastical free/paid feature comparison, just to see what I thought I needed to be paying for way back when. I’m also glad to hear so many of you are happily using the Calendar app. I used BusyCal many years ago as well, and took a peek at it again in my search for a new option, but my recollection is that its subscription price was more than I wanted to pay. (I should add that I’m not willing to use an app that has ads in its free version, if that’s the trade-off for the free version of either Fantastical or BusyCal.)

Thanks again for all your input!!

What do you mean by “syncing via USB…”?

Just plugging your iPhone and iPad into your Mac and syncing Calendar and Contacts. No cloud. It works well still under Monterey; although, oddly the interface (Finder) offers syncing Reminders locally, but it doesn’t work. The odd thing is Reminders never was claimed to work.

Ventura blew it up spectacularly. Just for starters, every recurring event I had was doubled or tripled for each day. Took days to cleanup, on top of the most difficult OS walk-back I’ve ever done.

I checked in with Michael Simmons of Flexibits, since I was surprised by the price hike too. It turns out that was on me—they had sent email warning that it was coming back in early December.

He explained the price hike in two ways. First, it’s the first increase they’ve made in three years, and they didn’t want to raise the price again right away, So this increase, which feels fairly steep, is meant to take both past and future into account. Flexibits is a small indie developer without VC funding, but they don’t want to get caught up in the tech world layoffs that have hit larger companies.

Second, he noted that rising costs and inflation are hitting them as much as the rest of us, though I pointed out that we’re at the end of the chain and many users may not be able to get raises or look for better paying jobs. He feels that $4.75 per month or $57 per year is a fair price for the premium features in Fantastical and Cardhop.

And of course, as I noted before, both apps really are available in a free mode with reduced features. If you don’t need the premium features, there’s nothing preventing you from using them for free.


BusyCal all the way - for years - best iOS layout, ever (for me). And Mac app is awesome too. BusyCal all the way!

1 Like

Yes, I’m a BusyCal fan too. While Fantastical had its strengths, the killer feature for me is how BusyCal handles the monthly view. All other apps seem to take the view that if it’s 30th January, you’ll want to see the past four weeks, rather than the next four weeks. BusyCal gets it right, and what’s more important, it shows a little text about each appointment, rather than just a heat map that you have to click on to ascertain more information.

And their tech support is very responsive, too.


Like Jolin, Apple’s Calendar does everything I need or want a calendar to do.

1 Like

I used to use Busycal, then when to Fantistical. I understand the need to adjust prices. I really am offended at the way they did it in the email. I went back and forth with flexibits on this and they didn’t get or wouldn’t acknowledge why I was annoyed.

Rather than typing out my annoyance at this behaviour (it applies to many companies too), here’s my explanation to them of the reasons. Basically, dont describe oranges if you are selling apples.


Thanks for taking the time to respond.

I understand you are a small business and am big on
supporting same. We are also a small business.

My disappointment is the way you are presenting the price

I paid annually. Therefore, I don't give a rats what the
monthly increase is, I want to know the annual increase.

So because you are forcing me to do the maths, even in
your response:

- the increase is $1.40/month - times 12 is $16.80 per year
- subtracted from the new price of $56.99 (why don't you
just call it $57?) means the old price was $40.19 (I could
go to my credit card and look that up, but I seem to
recall $39.99).

That's a 41% increase. It's actually more than that
because USD has climbed a lot since the Ukraine war.

I understand telling customers a 41% increase is hard.

But don't try and hide it with sleight of hand.

so I’ve gone back to Apple’s built in Calendar, and it’s just fine. Particularly when Siri dictation works.


I don’t see them misdescribing or playing a sleight of hand based on what you’ve written. If anything, I think describing price increases as a percentage is less straightforward. The actual amount means something to people, a percentage is somewhat abstract. Surely it’s good they’re saying “this is the extra cost”. In the end, what matters are what the new prices are. People can see them and decide whether they can afford them and it’s worth it or not. The percentage annual increase is neither here nor there.

The sleight of hand is quoting a monthly increase when you pay yearly. It’s a nasty sales trick that is becoming more common and should be stamped out.

Using your logic, they may as well quoted a daily amount for the increase. It would look even smaller.

A 41% percentage increase is here and there (lol) and it is the difference between using a program that provides a few smallish benefits over the free program. The misleading announcement sealed it.