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BusyCal 2/Google Calendar Users Should Upgrade

We’re fans of BusyCal, the replacement for Apple’s Calendar app from BusyMac. The company has announced that on 20 April 2017, Google will no longer allow apps to sign in to Google Calendar using “web-views,” basically embedded mini-browsers. Instead, all apps will have to send sign-in requests out to a full Web browser.

This change doesn’t affect the current BusyCal 3, but it will prevent the older BusyCal 2 from connecting to Google Calendar entirely. There are three possibilities for those still using BusyCal 2:

  • If you sync with Google Calendar and want to keep using BusyCal, you have to upgrade to BusyCal 3.

  • If you sync with Google Calendar, but either don’t want to pay for the upgrade or are using OS X 10.10 Yosemite or earlier, falling back to Apple’s Calendar app is likely the easiest course of action.

  • If you don’t sync with Google Calendar at all, you don’t have to do anything — BusyCal 2 will continue to work fine.

The upgrade to BusyCal 3 costs $29.99 for existing customers, or, if you purchased BusyCal 2 after 1 March 2016, the upgrade is free. BusyMac provides full instructions on how to get the upgrade pricing and perform the upgrade. BusyCal 3 requires 10.11 El Capitan or later.

BusyCal 3 improves on BusyCal 2 in numerous ways, including:

  • Alerts that are sensitive to travel time and traffic conditions
  • A redesigned menu bar app that provides a mini-month calendar
  • Inline display of timed to-dos with other calendar events
  • Quick entry of events and to-dos using natural language

See “BusyCal Updates Mac Calendar Alternative, Expands to iOS” (1 July 2016) for more on what BusyCal 3 has to offer.


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Comments about BusyCal 2/Google Calendar Users Should Upgrade
(Comments are closed.)

Derek Roff  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2017-04-11 22:32
I bought BusyCal on the recommendation of TidBITS, and upgraded to BusyCal 2, again following your recommendation. It was a competent program for me, but I never got that excited about it. I had some trouble with the way it handles time zones when I travel, and had a bad customer service/tech support experience in trying to solve those problems. When BusyCal told me that I needed to pay for yet another upgrade, I started to reconsider my calendar options.

I've also had Fantastical 1, which I bought after a TidBITS review. It was a bit quirky, but I like the menu bar widget and the natural language input options, so I used it to input many of my calendar events, while using BusyCal to view the calendar. Facing the BusyCal upgrade decision, I contacted Fantastical, and discussed some of the things I wanted from a calendar, asking whether Fantastical 2 addressed my concerns. I got a detailed and useful response. They also told me about their current 20% off sale. I decided to upgrade to Fantastical 2.3.x.

I've been very happy with the change. Fantastical does a number of things in ways that I like. Their training videos are short, focused, and informative. Technical support has been very good, quick to respond, and helpful. I have no connection with the company, except as a satisfied customer, who would like to see them succeed. If you are unsure about upgrading to BusyCal, take a look at Fantastical, and see if it appeals to you.
Christopher Ruebeck  2017-04-18 06:57
I'll have to look at Fantastical based on Derek's comment. I've stuck with Apple's Calendar after trying BusyCal because Apple displays overlapping events so nicely. (I admit—with a nod to another article in this issue— that overlapping events are less important to me now that the three kids are out of the house, but my wife and I still view each other's events.) A feature of BusyCal that I wish Apple would follow is allowing different time zones for the start and end of a given event. Right? Not many things are more confusing than entering a flight arrival and departure when crossing time zones.
rex wilson  2017-04-22 17:35
my version of busycal 2 is still working with google as of 22-Apr. Anybody know if somehow BusyCal misunderstood Google's new requirements, and if this will keep working afterall? Or maybe Google dealyed the change? I didn't want to pay $30 for an "upgrade" to a new version of busycal which offers no improvements, and which has drawn much criticism for being harder to use than the classic version 2. I figured I'd keep running v2 until it broke, at which point I'd go to Apple's calendar (and, by the way, I would have been happy to pay $5 for the repair to v2 for google signin, but $30 for something Apple gives away free didn't seem to make asense).
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2017-04-23 13:28
I talked with John Chaffee at BusyMac about this, and Google was utterly clear about the date and what would happen — here's a link to their developer post:

John is checking into what Google has or has not done.

Regardless, the upgrade from BusyCal 2 to BusyCal 3 is far more than just compatibility with OAuth, as outlined in the article. There's certainly nothing stopping you from switching back to Calendar (personally, I hate Calendar with a passion), but I presume you bought BusyCal originally for a reason.
rex wilson  2017-04-29 09:44
Adam, Many thanks for that info. If you have a rapport with John Chaffee at BusyMac, it might be helpful if you could pass along his reactions to the many, many user-flames that are on various other discussion groups about BusyMac's decision to not provide a simple patch to BusyCal 2 to allow OAuth. While I recognize that BusyCal 3 has many changes that the developers consider to be improvements, many customers have strongly different views, and even dislike some of the forced UI changes that v3 brings. For my purposes, BusyCal 2 works great and I don't feel a need to pay for more stuff that I won't use.