Skip to content
Thoughtful, detailed coverage of everything Apple for 30 years
and the TidBITS Content Network for Apple professionals
9 comments

Fantastical 3.0

Flexibits has updated Fantastical to version 3, a major release for the alternative to Apple’s Calendar app. Fantastical 3.0 boasts a refreshed user interface, a unified look across all platforms (macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS), and a new subscription pricing model. New features include the capability to propose multiple meeting times with others, 10-day AccuWeather forecasts that appear as a clickable icon on each day, support for Todoist tasks, and calendar sets that work across all platforms. Fantastical also lets users add “interesting” calendars that feature sports teams from around the globe (such as Fjölnir FC in Reykjavik, Iceland), favorite TV shows, and holidays from various countries, religions, and education systems.

Fantastical 3 Features

Previously priced at $49.99 as a one-time purchase for Fantastical 2 for the Mac, Fantastical 3’s new subscription rate for Fantastical Premium is $4.99 per month (or $39.99 annually, a 33% savings). The iPhone and iPad apps are now included with Fantastical Premium, whereas they previously cost $9.99 and $4.99, respectively.

If you own a Fantastical 2 license, launching the app will automatically offer to update it to version 3.0 with existing Fantastical 2 features unlocked and usable. However, that limited version lacks support for adding tasks, collaboration features, and even viewing the Day, Week, Month, and Year calendar views, thus limiting you to just the sidebar view. To use any of the new Fantastical 3 features or the standard calendar views, you’ll need to subscribe to Fantastical Premium.

A free, fully functional 14-day trial of Fantastical 3 is available after creating a Flexibits account and providing a credit card. ($39.99 annual subscription from Flexibits and the Mac App Store, 21.7 MB, release notes, macOS 10.13.2+)

Subscribe today so you don’t miss any TidBITS articles!

Every week you’ll get tech tips, in-depth reviews, and insightful news analysis for discerning Apple users. For 29 years, we’ve published professional, member-supported tech journalism that makes you smarter.

Registration confirmation will be emailed to you.

Comments About Fantastical 3.0

Notable Replies

  1. If you own a Fantastical 2 license, launching the app will automatically update it to version 3.0 with existing Fantastical 2 features unlocked and usable.

    I read this to mean that somehow FlexiBits was going to force-update an existing v.2 app to v.3, then unlock the v.2 feature set.

    Thankfully, that’s not right, but it did make me a little nervous about my existing installation of Adobe CS6 that Adobe has made clear they’d like to tear right out of my Mac if they could.

    Subscription models are clearly gaining ground. Thanks to discounts and generous family-share policies, I’m hooked in to the Microsoft Office 365 suite even though I swore I’d never pay them a red cent in subscription fees. It’s not as onerous as I once thought it would be. In my newest job, I’m having to keep careful track of car expenses, and was delighted to learn that the MileIQ app for iOS is considered part of the Office 365 subscription.

    If companies like FlexiBits can be generous with the value they provide in exchange for a subscription, they may win over more folks like me. (“Generous” is doing things like defining a subscription package as including other platforms.)

  2. Now that Busycal is on Setapp (also a subscription), I may not go Fantastical premium version 3. That Flexibits are looking after version 2 customers is incredibly generous IMO.

  3. FWIW - BusyCal’s new event natural language parsing is terrible compared to Fantastical‘s.

    Of course you can (for the foreseeable future) use Fantastical 2 for entering new events and use BusyCal for the rest. If you are already paying for Setapp, I can see that as being an attractive solution.

    I bought licenses for BusyCal versions 1, 2, and 3… and for Fantastical 1 and 2 (Mac and iOS). I’ve always liked Fantastical for creating new events, but preferred BusyCal for most other calendar-like things. Fantastical has had some great features such as calendar sets, the ability to specify how you want “week view” to look (I want to see today+6 days, I don’t care about days already passed), etc. but it never stuck as my “full time” calendar app.

    Fantastical 3 looks like it may have added enough of the features to get me to switch over. I’m watching David Sparks’ free field guide to Fantastical to get up to speed.

  4. Another subscription application? D.O.A. for me.

  5. Since I had already purchased Fantastical 2 for my iPad, iPhone and iMac Fantastical 3 is working fine for me. However, if I didn’t already own Fantastical 2 I probably would decide to avoid Fantastical 3 due to subscription pricing. I am not opposed to software subscriptions, I have a few, but paying $5/month for this and that adds up. I am not interested in using Fantastical’s cloud offerings but would be happy to pay a smaller monthly fee to get all of the other functionality.

    At work we use Adobe CC. Prior to CC we paid annual maintenance fees to Adobe. CC is much, much, much more expensive than what we previously paid. I think companies need to look closely how much annual upgrades would cost their customers compared to subscription fees. I feel that subscription fees should be lower since not everyone paid for annual upgrades but everyone has to pay the subscription fees if they want to use the software.

  6. Yes, that is the main thing (it also applies to “cord cutters” and streaming) you eventually end up paying MORE over the life of the item than you do paying upfront basically windfall profits for the seller. In addition, with software subscriptions if for some reason your subscription lapses, then you not only lose the software but also there is a high possibility your data will be locked or even lost to you.

  7. I think that’s harsh—most of the developers I know aren’t rolling in dough. The reason for subscriptions is because modern software requires constant maintenance, and the business model of working for very little for a year or two and then hoping for a huge spike in sales and upgrades is stressful, dangerous, and not always successful. In fact, that’s what killed Now Software, one of the top calendar and contact companies of yesteryear.

    And keep in mind that you can use Fantastical in feature-reduced free mode that’s supposedly essentially equivalent to Apple’s Calendar.

    This is a legitimate concern in theory, but given that Fantastical can export in standard ICS format and has a free version available, not an issue here.

  8. “However, that limited version lacks support for adding tasks, collaboration features, and even viewing the Day, Week, Month, and Year calendar views”

    I’m a Fantastical 2 buyer upgraded to 3 and I did not go “Premium”. I can’t speak to the collaboration features, but I can add tasks in the in the mini-window just fine and Cmd-0 (zero) brings up the full calendar view allowing me to view daily/weekly/monthly/yearly…

  9. This turns out to be an interesting edge case that I worked through with Michael Simmons yesterday. It turns out that I had an unlicensed copy of Fantastical 2 on my drive, so when I launched it, it promptly wanted to upgrade to version 3.0. Fine, that was what I wanted anyway. But because my copy of Fantastical 2 wasn’t licensed (I had installed a beta or some other special copy way back when), the Day, Month, Week, and Year views required the Premium subscription. Had I owned a proper license, that wouldn’t have been the case.

    Regardless, once I had the subscription in place, Premium worked fine.

Join the discussion in the TidBITS Discourse forum

Participants