A lot of things in my life involve working around time zones – David Sparks lives in California, so when organising a time to podcast with him that’s a 9 hour difference, add a podcast guest and unless they’re in the same time as one of us, you have a headache!
For a long time I’ve used Klok as my go-to widget for checking what time it is somewhere, and recently I added Time There, an iMessage app, to help me find future times for appointments, meetings, and everything else. This wasn’t a great system though, Time There is really for planning things in the next few days so going beyond that involves a lot of scrolling, and Klok means you need to calculate everything yourself. I use Fantastical as my calendar and that has timezone support too – so you can add an event at 8am San Francisco time and it shows up at 5pm Vienna time, but this works after you’ve planned the event, still leaving you with the task of figuring out the when which is the most difficult part.
Enter CalZones – by David Smith, maker of Sleep++, Workouts++ and Activity++. He is familiar with the problem I and many others face – and decided to make the app for us! CalZones starts by giving me a month overview of my calendar, I tend not to have too many appointments in one day, and the coloured dots below each date indicate how many events I have and which calendar they are on.
In the app settings, you can configure your timezones and for each time zone, you can give it a custom name and an abbreviation. This means that I can call SoCal time “David”, but central time “Stephen” so I can skip that mental overhead of remembering who is in which timezone. These timezones then show up as a vertical scroller when creating and editing events, letting me see the time selected for all of my favourite timezones. These timezones also show up in the widget, with your preferred names, giving you a quick reference as to what time it is where – or in my case, for whom! The expanded widget shows you these in a linear fashion, and tapping on a time in the future jumps you straight to the event creation page for that time.
Along with specifying your time zones you can also control which calendars you see, your preferred theme and icon, work day times, week start, and how event times should be displayed. The latter is very useful allowing you to see that the event you’re looking at starts at 7pm local time, but 10am in the organisers time.
The daily calendar view is where your chosen colour theme comes into play. It highlights working hours (set in your preferences), then non-working hours before midnight, and then the hours after midnight until the working day starts – in three colours. This lets you see how hospitable the time is to your fellow participants, and helps you avoid scheduling something at 3am instead of 3pm by accident.
In the few weeks I’ve been using this app it’s been indispensable – and it earned a spot on my home screen within just a few hours. For people who never deal with timezones, this app might not be for you, but it’s a solid app and those of us who need something like this are very grateful for its existence!
CalZones is available on the App Store today for $4.99.
You can find out more on David Smith’s blog.