Manage Your Schedule With Agenda

There are a lot of really cool apps available for the iPhone. Hear a song you really like but don’t know what it is? Fire up Shazam or SoundHound. See an actor in a movie but not sure what their name is? IMDb has got you covered. With all these cool apps available, it’s easy to overlook certain ones that you may use often, but don’t realize better alternatives exist — especially if the app in question is the built-in Calendar.

While it serves its necessary function, the Calendar app doesn’t really offer the polish and user experience we’re used to seeing from Apple. Enter Agenda, a minimally designed and dead-simple to use calendar app for every iPhone owner. If I’ve peaked your interest, feel free to hit the jump to find out more.

Getting Started

When you open Agenda for the first time, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see that all of the events you’ve previously scheduled already appear in the app. This is made possible by Agenda recognizing the specific calendars (e.g. iCloud, Gmail, Exchange) you’re already linking to within Settings.

If you use multiple calendars, Agenda will identify each one with a unique colored dot next to an event.

If you use multiple calendars, Agenda will identify each one with a unique colored dot next to an event.

Navigation

Agenda allows you to digest your calendar information with multiple views, and the first view you’ll be presented with is the Week view. To navigation to another perspective, simply swipe your finger to the left or right on the screen (or tap the arrow icons in the bottom navigation bar). Swiping to the left from the Week view will take you to the Month and Year view, and swiping to the right will take you to the Day and Event view (which shows the most immediate event on the current day).

Flipping through each type of view is a breeze in comparison to the Calendar app.

Flipping through each type of view is a breeze in comparison to the Calendar app.

Need to jump to a specific date quickly? Just tap the small calendar icon in the bottom navigation bar and a menu will pop up allowing you to select a specific day. If you need to jump back to the current day, tap the Today button and then the Go button.

You can use this feature to search for a specific event by typing the event name in the top search bar.

You can use this feature to search for a specific event by typing the event name in the top search bar.

The Social Aspect

Say you scheduled a meeting with multiple people and need to send out an email or mass text to everyone. You can go about doing this the hard way (opening up the Mail/iMessage app and selecting each person individually), or let Agenda do the leg work for you. When you’re in the Day view, tap the desired event and the app with transition into the Event view. From here, tap either the email or message icon at the bottom of the screen.

If you tap on the address or phone number, a corresponding app (Maps or Phone) will open and show you the location or dial the number.

If you tap on the address or phone number, a corresponding app (Maps or Phone) will open and show you the location or dial the number.

After tapping either icon, you’ll be presented with four options to help craft your outgoing message. The first three options (Confirm, Here and Late) will generate a standard message pertaining to the category (e.g. tapping the Confirm option will generate a message asking the recipient(s) to confirm the event). If none of these options apply to your circumstance, you can always tap the Other option and craft your own message.

This feature is particularly handy if you're running late and don't have time to write out an entire message.

This feature is particularly handy if you're running late and don't have time to write out an entire message.

Design & Themes

Perhaps I’m speaking for myself, but I love minimalistic design when it’s used effectively. Some apps need a bit of flair, but it just makes sense that a calendar app only displays the information you really need, and Agenda does this extremely well. When I look at each view, it’s not challenging to find the information I need quickly.

With that said, some people may not be interested in the default monochrome design and want to add a bit of color. As of this writing, Agenda offers eleven alternative themes that should suit your color loving needs; however, it definitely would be nice to have the option to create a custom theme within the app.

Just three of the eleven theme options you may choose from.

Just three of the eleven theme options you may choose from.

Additional Bells and Whistles

The one feature from the built-in Calendar app I found it hard to let go of is its ability to display the current date in the icon. So, imagine my surprise when I found an option to display the current date on Agenda’s icon in badge form. However, my euphoria was quickly dashed the following day when the date did not change; I had to open and exit out of Agenda for that to happen.

Displaying the current date as a badge is a great idea, but only if the date actually changes.

Displaying the current date as a badge is a great idea, but only if the date actually changes.

If you’re the type of person that works for the weekend, you may also enjoy an option that allows you to highlight Saturdays and Sundays. While the option is nice to have, I’m not very keen on the choice of using red to highlight the dates. This is another case in which the option to choose a custom color would be nice to have.

The use of a light gray over red would match the monochrome theme a lot better.

The use of a light gray over red would match the monochrome theme a lot better.

Setting Up Agenda as Your Default Calendar App

One of the biggest annoyances with iOS in comparison to Android is the inability to set new default apps. Say you like the Dolphin Browser better than Safari and want to use it for all your browsing needs; you can tuck the Safari app into a folder and put the Dolphin app front-and-center. The problem with that is anytime you click a link in another app, it will automatically open in Safari. However, if you’re sold on Agenda and want to make it your go-to calendar app, we have a fix for this issue.

Start by going to Settings > Notifications > Calendar (you may need to scroll down to find the Calendar option). From here, you’ll need to turn off the Notification Center, Badge App Icon and View in Lock Screen options. Finally, tap the None option in the Alert Style section.

Performing this task will prevent a unnecessary second notification for the same event.

Performing this task will prevent a unnecessary second notification for the same event.

The last tweak you’ll need to perform is setting up the notification alert tone. If you want to use a built-in tone in Agenda, go to Settings > Sounds > Calendar Alerts and select the None option. This will prevent two alert tones playing at the same time when an event alarm goes off. If you have a custom alert tone that you want to use instead, go to Settings > Notifications > Agenda and turn off the Sounds option.

It's a bit of work, but well worth getting rid of the annoyance of two notification sounds.

It's a bit of work, but well worth getting rid of the annoyance of two notification sounds.

Closing Comments

Agenda is well-designed and extremely easy-to-use calendar app that actually makes using a calendar kind of fun. If you don’t use the Calendar app regularly, Agenda may not be of much use to you. But, if you’re the type of person that uses and relies on the Calendar app often, then I highly recommend forking over 99 cents and giving Agenda a go.


Summary

Agenda is a beautifully minimalistic calendar app that makes it easy to keep track of your schedule.

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  • http://pixelsnsounds.blogspot.com duckzila

    I think I like quickcal better. Tho the calendar app isnt bad at all…

  • Dorgo

    Piqued, not peaked …

    • http://www.jessevirgil.com Jesse Virgil

      Thanks for that!

      • Daniel Shays

        so change it!

  • Sarah

    I really like Agenda, but Calendr is my favorite. It’s one of those apps that you’re like “Ok, if this was a person, I would either want to look like them or date them or bear their children.”

  • http://www.ravn.com/join Joe Ravn

    The real question – is it good enough to replace the native calendar and is it worth the hassle? I’m not sold on iCal, but it works for me.

    • http://www.jessevirgil.com Jesse Virgil

      The real hassle is removing notifications for the built-in Calendar app. Agenda automatically detects anything you’ve already scheduled, so that’s no additional work to be done.

  • http://dariobauer.com Dario

    The current date icon updates automatically on my iPhone even if the app’s been closed for days and removed from my taskbar.
    iPhone 4 – iOS 5

  • Jamie

    Im sold on iCal because of Siri.

  • Sandman619

    Currently Apple only allows the native Calendar app to display the current date. I believe this is partly to ensure that if a malware app were to get through the vetting, that it cannot camouflage as a different app. Many of Apple’s restrictions on both iOS & increasingly on OS X are to enhance the platforms’ security. Since the notification badge doesn’t actually change the app’s icon, it can be used to display the current date. How useful it is, depends on how well the developer implements the function. Badges update live through Apple’s notification API. But this a developer needs to engineer how their app will receive the proper notification @ midnight so the badge advances to the next day. While a chore & a half for sure, this is how iOS devices manage to be very light on battery usage. Whereas other devices have notably shorter battery life because the many background processes, which are allowed to run. Apple reduced this demand by creating a single background process to handle notifications

    Cheers !

  • Jan Monserga

    It’s a geat app whit a problem….

    The problem is that the status bar for today operates erratically: in the weekly, monthly and yearly does not work.

    In the daily view does not work when you move into that view and want to go back to today. However, the status bar for today does work when you move from monthly or weekly view on a particular day and then, now in the daily view, you come back to today.

    To try to fix it, I completely off the iphone and have reignited and has not been fixed. I have also deleted the app on my Iphone and I have reinstalled from the Apple store, but neither has been fixed as well.

    I hope they are interested in fixing this problem

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