For many iPhone and iPad owners the built-in suite of Apple apps are some of the most useful ones found on their devices. Whether it’s managing communications in Mail, browsing the internet with Safari, or organising hectic lives with Calendar, these are the ones that get used everyday. Now, with the recent release of iOS 8, Apple has added some helpful new features to Calendar, ones which could make juggling a busy schedule that little bit easier.

How to set up Calendar for iOS 8

To use Calendar you’ll first need to set up an iCloud account, as the app utilises the Apple service to sync data between your various devices. It’s very likely that you already have iCloud configured, as when you first turned on your iPhone or iPad you would have been asked to setup the feature. You can check this easily by going to Settings>iCloud and look to see if your name is there. One thing you might need to do is scroll down the list below and find Calendars. Make sure that the switch to the right of it is slid across and green. When all this is done press the Home button and launch the Calendar app.

How to view events in Calendar for iOS 8

The main screen in Calendar is slightly different, depending which device you’re using. On an iPhone you have the Month view, which shows the numerical dates, marking any that have appointments by placing a dot underneath them. Tapping on a date brings up the Day mode, showing your timeline, and if you tap on the icon at the top of the screen marked with three horizontal lines you’ll see the List mode which displays all of your upcoming appointments for the next few days. Finally you can view the Week mode by turning your iPhone to the landscape position.

 new features in iOS 8 Calendar

On an iPad, because there is more screen space, the layout has been redesigned in iOS 8 to feature a Day mode that also displays an Inspector panel. Here details of any highlighted appointment can be seen and edited quickly. Across the top of the screen are also buttons for Day, Week, Month, Year, which take you to the respective screen.

How to share a Calendar with the new Family Sharing feature

One of the best new features in iOS 8 is Family Sharing. Whereas previously purchases and data were the sole preserve of your Apple account, now you can let six family members or close friends have access to specific areas via Family Sharing. The main headline grabbing aspect was of course the iTunes library, but one that snuck under the radar was that it’s now possible to have a shared calendar. Obviously for this to work Family Sharing needs to enabled. To do this you’ll need to visit Settings>iCloud then select the Setup Family Sharing option and follow the instructions.

With this completed head back to Calendar. Add a new event, or edit an existing one that you’d like to share, then tap on the Calendar section and you’ll find the option for Family in the list. Select this, finish editing your appointment, and when you tap Done the event will be shared with anyone else on your Family calendar. Of course the other members can also enter their own appointments, all of which will appear on your device. These sort of functions have been available with Google calendar in the past, but now you can have the full Apple experience even in Calendar.

new features in iOS 8 Calendar

How to use Travel Time to never miss an appointment

It’s all well and good having a list of meetings in your phone, but that doesn’t always mean you’ll get somewhere on time. Things could change for iPhone users though thanks to the new Travel Time feature. When you’re adding an appointment into Calendar, once you enter the address you’ll see an option for Travel Time. Ensure that this is turned on and that you also enter a Starting Location. Then your iPhone will automatically warn you when it’s time to leave.

new features in iOS 8 Calendar

How to use Auto-complete for regular appointments.

Another useful feature announced for iOS 8 is that as you enter appointments into Calendar the app will remember any regular events and begin to offer auto-completion suggestions. It’s a small thing, but over time this could become incredibly useful if you often repeat similar tasks.

Use Microsoft Exchange server to see if people are available for meetings

If you use Microsoft Exchange server in iOS 8 you can now see if other Exchange users have space in their diary when you send invites. Calendar will let you know if the intended time is already booked and if so suggest alternatives. A simple, but very useful, feature for those who use iPhones and iPads in the business world.

How to access alternative calendars

In the past the only calendar available to iPad and iPhone users was the traditional Gregorian version that the majority of the Western world uses. Of course, that doesn’t mean everyone favours that flavour, so Apple has added Hebrew, Islamic, and Chinese options, all of which can be found in Settings>Mail, Contacts, Calendars>Alternative Calendars.

new features in iOS 8 Calendar

Read about the other new features in iOS 8: