THIS WEEK'S SPONSOR:

Kolide

Nail Third-Party Audits and Compliance Goals with Endpoint Security for Your Entire Fleet


Fantastical 3.1 Arrives as a Valuable Aid for Work-from-Home Users

Today Fantastical is releasing an update geared toward users who are in work-from-home mode, with conference calls all throughout each day and unique needs that they’ve never had before. Enhancements to the app include link detection and a new Join button for conference calls, the ability to schedule calendar sets for different times of day, and more.

The number of video meetings we’ve all been involved with has increased exponentially since Fantastical’s big version 3 update in January, and today’s 3.1 update acknowledges that new reality. Now when you have a conference call link saved in an event’s notes or URL field, Fantastical will automatically detect that for all popular services such as Zoom, WebEx, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, BlueJeans, and more.

Detected links will be surfaced in several different ways: first, in Day and Week views you’ll see a small video icon accompanying appropriate events, and that icon is even more prominent in Fantastical’s List view; if you’re on a Mac you can have upcoming conference calls appear in the menu bar so you’re always on top of what’s next; on all platforms, opening the detail view for an event will provide a prominent new button at the top of the screen that says ‘Join Zoom Meeting,’ ‘Join Google Meet,’ and so on. In a demonstration of extreme attention to detail, the icon accompanying events is custom-designed for different services, so you can tell at a glance which conferencing service each event will utilize.

The Mac’s menu bar offers a quick way to join video calls.

The Mac’s menu bar offers a quick way to join video calls.

The final way Fantastical optimizes for conference calls is by putting a one-tap Join button right in the List view. While a less thoughtful implementation of this feature might present Join buttons for every event with a detected URL, Fantastical does it the best way possible: the Join button only appears for an event when its start time draws near. You won’t see the button except when you actually need it, meaning your screen doesn’t get cluttered with unnecessary Join buttons all the time, but rather the presence of a button serves as a visual trigger that you’ll actually need to join a call soon.

Timed calendar sets (left) and conference call detection on iPhone (center, right).

Timed calendar sets (left) and conference call detection on iPhone (center, right).

There’s one other noteworthy change for work-from-home life: timed calendar sets. Fantastical’s calendar sets feature enables quickly switching between different sets of active calendars with ease. When the feature first debuted, it enabled switching sets manually or doing it automatically based on your location. In our pre-pandemic world, this was great because you could have the app automatically show your work calendar set when you’re in the office, and a different set when you’re home. Now that many people’s home is their office, however, a new option was needed: time-based sets. Now, when you’re updating a calendar set’s list of settings, you can schedule it to automatically activate at a given time of day. So even if you’re home all day, the app can still switch your work calendars automatically on at 8:00 AM and off at 5:00 PM, for example. This behavior can be applied to only weekdays, weekends, every day, or a custom combination of days that you choose.


Fantastical’s latest update demonstrates a clear understanding of what many users need in our changing world. Even as many businesses begin reopening, and the number of remote workers contracts, there’s no doubt that video conferencing is going to be more important moving forward than it ever has been before. As it’s done many times before, Fantastical has again proven itself an asset for managing your daily responsibilities.

Fantastical is a free download on the App Store, but many of its features – including the work-from-home updates covered above – require a Premium subscription.

Unlock More with Club MacStories

Founded in 2015, Club MacStories has delivered exclusive content every week for over six years.

In that time, members have enjoyed nearly 400 weekly and monthly newsletters packed with more of your favorite MacStories writing as well as Club-only podcasts, eBooks, discounts on apps, icons, and services. Join today, and you’ll get everything new that we publish every week, plus access to our entire archive of back issues and downloadable perks.

The Club expanded in 2021 with Club MacStories+ and Club Premier. Club MacStories+ members enjoy even more exclusive stories, a vibrant Discord community, a rotating roster of app discounts, and more. And, with Club Premier, you get everything we offer at every Club level plus an extended, ad-free version of our podcast AppStories that is delivered early each week in high-bitrate audio.

Choose the Club plan that’s right for you:

  • Club MacStories: Weekly and monthly newsletters via email and the web that are brimming with app collections, tips, automation workflows, longform writing, a Club-only podcast, periodic giveaways, and more;
  • Club MacStories+: Everything that Club MacStories offers, plus exclusive content like Federico’s Automation Academy and John’s Macintosh Desktop Experience, a powerful web app for searching and exploring over 6 years of content and creating custom RSS feeds of Club content, an active Discord community, and a rotating collection of discounts, and more;
  • Club Premier: Everything in from our other plans and AppStories+, an extended version of our flagship podcast that’s delivered early, ad-free, and in high-bitrate audio.