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Why is the Google Calendar mobile app so much better than the desktop version?

Theoretically, shouldn't the desktop version be better than the mobile app? Why do you hate me, Google?

Published onJune 23, 2019

A photo from Google Calendar 2019

As a writer, I live and die by Google Calendar. While I wouldn’t consider myself forgetful, I am the type of person who knows keeping my day organized is the best way to prevent myself missing appointments, turning in work late, or forgetting to do simple life tasks such as starting the dishwasher.

I put literally everything I plan to do into my Google Calendar, making it sort of like the hub of my life.

That’s why it’s incredibly frustrating that using Google Calendar isn’t the same experience across platforms. Not only does Calendar on mobile look a lot different than it does on a desktop — which is certainly forgivable because smartphone displays are different than computer displays — but there are specific features and tools that exist on one and not the other.

Related: The ten best calendar apps for Android

Strangely, the Google Calendar mobile application is the best way to use Calendar, despite the desktop version being older and theoretically able to offer you a better experience since it’s not reliant on smartphone hardware. Why is this?

Below are three things I can do on the mobile version of Calendar but I can’t do on a desktop. Please, Google, bring some parity to the two platforms!

Multiple calendars from multiple accounts in one feed

Google Calendar Material Theme

Like a lot of people out there, I have several Google accounts. I have my main Google account which I use for my personal stuff; it’s what I attach to my Android phones, for example. I also have a Google account Android Authority gave me, which is where all my stuff related to this site goes. I also do freelance writing and have an account just for those things. Finally, I run a podcast and have a Google account for that as well.

That’s a total of four accounts, and the only way to see everything from all of them in one collected calendar is on my phone.

On the desktop version of Google Calendar, you can share calendars together so they appear on one page — but only if the privacy settings of each account allows you to do so. The Android Authority privacy settings are out of my control and my AA calendar can’t be shared with my personal one on desktop.

However, it all appears just fine on my smartphone, no sharing necessary. Why?

I should be able to view all my calendars in the Google Calendar desktop app just as easily as I can on my smartphone. Get on it, Google.C. Scott Brown

I’m assuming the Calendar app sees that I’ve logged into that account on my phone, which means I have the authority to use it, so it shows that information. Why can’t I also do this on desktop?

You might be reading this and saying, “I have multiple accounts and they’re all shared to one calendar so I don’t have this problem.” Well, first off, not everyone has the luxury of totally shareable accounts. Even if we all did, why do we need to share them in this fashion? Why doesn’t desktop work just like the mobile app and simply show you everything you want (or don’t want) to see once you’ve logged in to prove you are authorized to view those calendars?

Search for reminders

A photo of a phone in the process of setting up Google reminders.

Let me be real clear about this: I love reminders. I set reminders for so many things it’s borderline ridiculous. I have a recurring reminder to let me know it’s time to change my toothbrush, for example. I also set random reminders each day for little things such as returning phone calls or publishing my newest article.

Because I have so many reminders, there have been a few times where I’ve actually forgotten whether or not I’ve made one. That’s no big deal because I can just open up Google Calendar and search for that reminder to ensure it’s actually set, right?

On the mobile app? Yes. On desktop? No.

Related: Google, why don’t you have a reminders app?

Searching for reminders on desktop, for whatever reason, doesn’t work. It seems that Google Calendar completely neglects to search through reminders at all on desktop, even though my reminders litter nearly every page of my calendar.

Luckily, I can always turn to the mobile app to do this, but why can’t I also do it on desktop?

Use Google Calendar in the beautiful schedule view

Best work from home apps Google Calendar

Back in 2014, Google redesigned the Google Calendar Android app, bringing in the then-new Material Design redesign. One of the new features it introduced with this update was a beautiful new Schedule view. Check it out below:

Google Calendar getting Material redesign and smart new features

Schedule gives you a vertical view of your day with colorful blocks for each reminder or event. The cool thing is that some of those events are pulled automatically from Gmail (such as a booked flight, for example) and some get extra tweaks to make them jump out. As an example of this, if you enter in that you’re having dinner with your mom for Mother’s Day, the block for that event will show a cute little dinner table background image.

Meanwhile, the desktop version of Schedule looks like this:

A screenshot of the desktop view of Google Calendar in Schedule mode.

Ugh. Why is there no Schedule view for desktop that looks like the mobile version? It’s been five years, Google, how have we not figured this out yet?

Are you addicted to Google Calendar? Are there any features you’ve found on the mobile app that are missing from the desktop app? How about any features you wish Calendar had on either platform? Let us know in the comments!

NEXT: Google Calendar not working? Here’s how to fix it

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