Review: Why you should be using Sunrise Calendar on iOS

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Propose meetings with a Text

In a novel application of Keyboards, Sunrise puts your Calendar at your fingertips from any messaging app. Once you install Sunrise and enable the Meet Keyboard, you can create and confirm new meetings through text messages. Give your contacts time slots to choose from with a tap. Brilliant.

Sunrise Calendar Desktop Client on Mac OS X
Sunrise Meet Keyboard in iMessage

Do the “When are you free?” dance

Let’s say you don’t have access to a colleague’s or friend’s calendar, because it’s not shared or maintained. How to set a meeting? You call them, find out a time that works. Then you call the next person on the list, find out the first time doesn’t work for them, call the first person back. And so on down the list. Finally you settle on a time that works for everyone. Go into Calendar, create an appointment, send the iCS to all involved. Whew. Time for a drink.

Enter Sunrise Calendar (old news)

When you hit the App Store to download Sunrise, you’ll notice the Developer is listed as Microsoft. Double take? Me too. But Sunrise was acquired by Microsoft earlier this year, not developed there. MS is on a mission to fill in its mobile offerings with best-in-class independent apps. The challenge at MS will be to stay hands-off for these treasures.

Sunrise has been around for a while. It’s stable. It’s reliable. And it supports most calendars and devices you already use. Choose from a desktop client or skip it and use the fast web-based client instead. Login with Facebook to save time. Link in a long list of services to see all of your meetings, events, etc in one place (Meetup, even GitHub Milestones!). Sunrise is all grown up, a complete offering.

Now for the good stuff

Prepare to get excited. Or at least moderately impressed. Can you believe it’s that easy to propose and confirm a meeting? And your friends and colleagues don’t have to be Sunrise users. They don’t have to install anything, or use any particular messaging service. It just works. It’s great when stuff just works.

Sunrise is Free

Up to $10 would be reasonable for this app. Even a modest subscription would be ok. No ads, no in-app purchases. Just free. Free stuff that just works is even better than pay stuff that just works.

Getting Started

Here’s how to give Sunrise a try on your iPhone:

  • Download Sunrise from the App Store
  • Sign-in with Facebook, or email
  • Connect your Calendars

Enable the Meet Keyboard:

  • Go to Settings > General > Keyboard
  • Tap Keyboards
  • Tap “Add New Keyboard…”
  • Select “Meet – Sunrise”
  • Tap “Meet – Sunrise”
  • Enable “Allow Full Access”
  • Tap “Allow” in the pop-up

How to use the Meet Keyboard:

  • Go to Messages and start a conversation
  • Hold down the Keyboard selector (looks like a  globe)
  • Select “Meet – Sunrise”
  • Tap on 3 proposed time slots
  • Tap on blue check to Send proposal

How to add Sunrise to Notification Centre:

  • Pull down to open Notification Center
  • Tap on “Today”
  • Scroll down to bottom and tap “Edit”
  • Tap the plus next to “Sunrise” then “Done”

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