When UpTo originally launched, it focused on being what it described as “half-social, half-calendar.” Unfortunately, that didn’t work out so well as the social side and the calendar side fought for dominance, resulting in an app that felt like it didn’t know what it wanted to be when it grew up.
Today the company behind UpTo is re-launching the app with a new design and a new focus: rather than trying to turn calendars into a social network, the app is now focused entirely on being the best calendar app it can be. That being said, the new version of the app is not entirely devoid of social features.
Keep reading to find out how the developers finally figured out how to balance these two sides to the software.
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A familiar face
The new UpTo looks like the built-in iOS Calendar app, to a certain degree.
At the top of the main screen is a month view. At the bottom is a list of events. Unlike the default app, this list of events isn’t limited to one day, though. You can scroll the bottom half of the app through as many days as you want, and the month view at the top will simply follow along. Or you can navigate using the month view, and the list at the bottom will follow. Another nice touch: an icon on the right side of the daily headers shows you the weather for each of the next seven days.
Swiping up on the month will collapse it into a week view. The only real advantage to this view is that you’ll have much more space at the bottom of the screen for your list of events. Capping off the similarities with the stock app on this screen are a “today” button that takes you to the current day, and an “inbox” button for managing events you’ve been invited to.
Creating a new event is as easy in UpTo as it is in the stock app. Rather than a custom design, the app uses an event creation screen identical to that of the built-in Calendar application.
Under the hood
The biggest differentiator between the stock Calendar software and UpTo is the latter’s ability to find and subscribe to a wide variety of community-created calendars for everything imaginable, from sports team schedules to the official White House schedule.
Finding a calendar to subscribe to is easy. Tapping the back button on the calendar’s main interface takes you to a screen with various settings. A “discover” button leads to a list of categories and featured calendars. You can choose from things like TV and movie schedules, holidays, music releases, and even local schedules for concert venues, performing arts centers, college sports, and more.
You can also find your Facebook friends or contacts from your address book and subscribe to public calendars they’ve created.
You can view upcoming events on any of these public calendars, search for a specific list to subscribe to, or add single events from those to one of your own personal calendars.
Subscribing to one of these lists doesn’t add those events to your main calendar or mix them in with your own created events. Instead, subscribed calendars are added to a new “layer” of the interface. When looking at the list beneath the month view, you’ll notice light blue lines on certain days. Those light blue lines represent events on subscribed calendars. To see those events in the list, just expand the list with a pinch gesture.
Once you’ve expanded the view, all of your subscribed events will be visible. You can swipe on an event to add it to your main calendar. Another pinch gesture will collapse the view again, leaving only your own calendars showing (along with an subscribed events you’ve added to them).
This is a really handy way to insert stuff you wouldn’t normally want on your calendar into the interface. For example, I wouldn’t normally clutter up my personal calendar with the schedules for TV shows like “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” or “Arrow,” but UpTo allows me to subscribe to those lists (and about a dozen other calendars I liked) without having to worry about them dominating my events.
UpTo may have launched with a misplaced focus, but today’s revamped release finally strikes a balance between a calendar and a social app. The “layers” paradigm allows you to subscribe to a whole host of events without having to worry about mucking up your own calendar. The interface feels just native enough to be easily discoverable while adding new touches that allow for an overall fantastic experience.
You can get UpTo on the iOS App Store free for a limited time.