At the time of the announcement, I was actively working across 4 different WordPress product teams & web dev agencies. Along with those 4 calendars, I was managing my personal calendar, my kids’ calendar that I shared with my ex-husband, and my financial calendar that I shared with John. Additionally, I had connected project management apps to my Sunrise account: Asana (2 accounts), Trello, & Basecamp. It was SO nice to go to ONE app on my Macbook or iPhone and be able to immediately check my schedule. Also, I had just been accepted back to Texas State University to finish up my undergraduate degree & prepare for law school applications, and I was thinking how lucky I was to have Sunrise at hand – it’d be easy to keep up with everything considering all the bells and whistles. Needless to say, I was in deep, sweet, love, with Sunrise.
I do genuinely appreciate that Sunrise gave all their users ample notice (three full months) to figure out what to do. I looked for Sunrise Calendar replacements but the only thing that was remotely close was Fantastical; however, I wasn’t willing to shell out $50 for calendar software for my desktop, another $5 for my iPhone, $5 for the Watch app, and another $10 for the iPad = $70 bucks for calendar software…I’ll find another way. (Not that it isn’t worth it – probably – but me in school = me not billing 40hrs/week = me is poor right now!)
So, I tried Outlook for iOS
Knowing that Sunrise was integrated within Outlook, I downloaded Outlook iOS for my iPhone and was able to quickly sync up most calendars within the Outlook system. However, the only apps the Outlook iOS calendar connects to are Evernote, Facebook for Events, and Wunderlist, none of which I use. Strike one. (Although, yes, I can fully appreciate how exhaustive the to do list must be for fully integrating Sunrise into Outlook and I’m sure the team is working hard to get it all up to speed – but that doesn’t help me, today.) Nevertheless, I gave it a shot. For the last two month’s I’ve used Outlook for iOS while keeping Sunrise on my iPhone and Desktop. I really appreciate the familiar end-user experience between Sunrise & Outlook’s calendar.
But, there are a few key things missing that I just can’t live without.
First, the calendar app lives inside Outlook. I have to unlock my phone, open Outlook and find the Calendar icon before I can do whatever it I need to do. Sunrise was a stand alone app. I’d just unlock my phone, click the Sunrise icon, and boom – I’m where I need to be. I don’t know about you guys – but when I open my email app, I’m immediately sidetracked and I have to stop and think, “Don’t open that email…look in the bottom navigation bar, and find the calendar app.” It might seem like a small thing to you all – but it is a deal breaker for me.
Second, the ability to make an event recurring is gone. Remember those kids’ calendars I spoke about? Well, one kid has piano, voice, and cello lessons every week. For the entire school year. Another kid is starting horseback riding lessons. Another kid is volunteering at the fire department twice a week. All of those calendar events are going to have to be entered individually. The risk of error increases each time I have to add a duplicate event in the calendar. I don’t trust myself – not to mention it’s just tedious and time-consuming. Another deal breaker.
Third, the ability to set customized alerts is really insufficient. I’m a busy mom/manager/student. I live by alerts to help me remember so and so has a Dr. appointment at whatever time, and then so and so has to be at work, and so and so needs to be picked up from friends’ house, and also I have a client meeting in the middle of it all. Alerts are my VA. The options for adding the alerts I am used to via Sunrise are gone. See Screenshots. Another dealbreaker.
Fourth, and probably the most important, I do not want to install Microsoft Outlook on my MacBook just so I can access the calendar in Outlook on my desktop. I can’t remember the last time I owned Outlook for personal or business use. I’m quite content with the way I manage email now and I don’t want to change it all up. I realize that I can buy Outlook just for the sake of using the calendar, and not use the email, but truthfully I’m just not willing to spend money on it. Also, I can’t figure out what I need to buy in order to have Outlook & it’s calendar on my desktop. I just looked again and I had to jog through 3 different product screens and pricing ranged anywhere from $5/mo to one-time fee of $150 – but I’m not really sure what I’m buying! So – I’m out. Dealbreaker. I don’t want to have to overthink my calendar issues any more than I already overthink my calendar issues. 😁
Time to give iCal another shot.
It’s been a few years since I’ve seriously looked at the iCal desktop app and iPhone app. I’ve been using Sunrise for about two years now I think. The last time I really looked at iCal was probably in 2014 and to be honest, I can’t remember why I ever left it, but I’m sure it was a usability feature.
Today, I finally decided to bite the bullet and move all my calendars back to iCal and see if I can achieve *almost* everything I did with Sunrise, via the native Apple apps. Knowing I have one more month before Sunrise stops working altogether, I figured the timing was good. I thought I might have to keep Sunrise on my Phone and Desktop for a few more weeks while I got used to the new interface and usability of Apple’s Calendar, but turns out it is more than sufficient, and I’ve already uninstalled the Sunrise apps.
Working first on my desktop, I was surprised to see all the changes that have taken place over the last two years. While I’m still not able to connect iCal to other apps (like Basecamp, Trello, etc) almost every other feature I was looking for was present — and then some! I especially appreciated that I could add my travel times into my schedules which will REALLY come in handy once school kicks in for everyone.
I LOVED the ability to set fully custom alerts, drive times, and literally see the map to my locations within the Calendar app itself – both on desktop and iPhone. Making events repeat was a breeze, and being able to access the Calendar app without first having to open a mail app is a total win.
The transition was seamless. After getting everything loaded into iCal on my desktop, I fine tuned the settings on my iPhone and **BOOM** all the calendars and events immediately showed up. Perfect! Transition done.
Nicely done, Apple. There are some fun features of Sunrise that I’ll miss: festive icons, friendly faces, Basecamp pushes (that’s really a beautiful feature.) But I can live without it. I figured I’ve already paid for this software, I might as well use it. It’s really come a long way since the last time I gave it a shot & at least I don’t have to worry about yet another app being pulled off the market.