As we’ve done for the past few years, today we’re going to round up all of the biggest news from our year and share it with you here on the Flexireads blog. We like to give you a sense of what we’ve been up to every month, especially for our Premium subscribers — we hope you’ll find it as exciting as we do to look back at just how much we’ve been able to accomplish this year thanks to your support!
In 2023, we’ve really focused on living up to the “flex” in Flexibits, with lots of updates centering around customization, accessibility, and new ways to view and use Fantastical and Cardhop on all your devices. For each month below, we’ll break down the big focus 🧠 of the month, some quick wins ✅ we snuck in, and the most interesting fun fact ✨ from the month.
Start with a spin through our video recap, then read on for the month-by-month overview.
🧠 The big focus: We started the year off strong by honing in on accessibility — specifically, making tons of improvements to VoiceOver support. While we continued making VoiceOver improvements throughout the year, the big updates in January were improved VoiceOver support for Proposals, weather, and repeating tasks, as well as a more intuitive way to navigate between days or weeks.
✅ A quick win: We also found some time to release an update that allows you to customize Openings and Proposals links.
🐦 Fun fact: In the wake of all the Twitter hullabaloo, we decided to ensure that Cardhop had full support for Mastodon usernames.
🧠 The big focus: Live Activities. When Apple launched the Dynamic Island and Live Activities in late 2022, we knew people would love to see their Fantastical events in this format — by February, we were ready to release our first version of Fantastical Live Activities:
We continued to improve this feature throughout the year, adding better localization and travel time support, push notifications, and expanding lead time from 1 to 8 hours.
✅ A quick win: We added some extra support for Webex and Microsoft Teams to our conference call tools.
🖱️ Fun fact: Drag and drop can be a fickle mistress! This month, we also fixed a few bugs related to drag and drop for a smoother user experience.
🧠 The big focus: Most of our work in March was focused on how Fantastical handles event locations. We improved the way Fantastical allows you to set locations for events, updated the way it interacts with Uber/Lyft when opening an event location, and added increased VoiceOver functionality when you open directions to an event’s location.
✅ Quick wins: Cardhop got some keyboard shortcut updates and a UX polish, while Fantastical got some behind-the-scenes tweaks to make syncing devices and searching your calendar even easier.
🚗 Fun fact: We discovered (and fixed) a bug that would keep trying to calculate your travel time over and over and over… when no valid route could be found to your event location. Rare, but it happens!
🧠 The big focus: Openings! We wanted to update certain aspects of how you can customize an Openings template based on the use cases we were seeing most often. These updates included requesting vs. requiring a phone number from invitees and setting a limit to the number of guests that can book a given timeslot:
✅ A quick win: We updated the Fantastical menu bar view to include time remaining in the current event.
🗂️ Fun fact: It turns out, people have very different preferences when it comes to how their tasks are sorted in their calendar, so we added a new setting to allow you to choose the order in which your tasks are sorted.
🧠 The big focus: After giving Openings some love in April, we of course needed to turn our attention to our other fantastic calendaring feature: Proposals! Our release of Fantastical 3.7.13 included a few improvements to Proposals, including an update that introduced conference call options, so that when your Proposal is automatically added, your conference call details are there automatically too.
✅ A quick win: We also introduced a cool new feature allowing your tasks to have a duration. All you have to do is add
[##m] when you type in your task, and the parser will automatically add it to your calendar for the duration you’ve specified.
🥮 Fun fact: Cardhop got a neat little update in May that improved its calculation of Chinese lunar birthdays!
🧠 The big focus: In June, we enabled Day, Week, Month, and Quarter views in the Mini Window on Mac. We know the Mini Window is one of our most beloved features, and we’re psyched about the new layers of customizability that this release unlocked.
✅ A quick win: One of the items we crossed off our June to-do list was to allow users to choose whether completed tasks are shown or not in the classic Today widget.
🆕 Fun fact: We spend so much time trying to improve the experience for existing users, it can be hard for us to find time to shift our focus back to the brand new users! That said, in June, we did spend some time improving the onboarding experience.
🧠 The big focus: Openings again! In July, we introduced a much-desired update that allows people to create Openings up to 180 days in advance. We also added support for Markdown syntax in Openings templates.
✅ Quick wins: A lot of July’s quick wins were back in the VoiceOver category, where Year view, Quarter view, Go to Today, and Interesting Calendars all got some VoiceOver polish.
🪦 Fun fact: Well, this isn’t “fun,” exactly, but perhaps interesting to some — a challenge that all social media and contacts tools need to deal with is how to handle deceased users. In July, we made some updates to Cardhop to allow you to mark a contact as deceased, plus allow you to decide whether you want to hide or show Celebrations for deceased contacts.
🧠 The big focus: Migration Assistant. It’s a big priority of ours to make sure that Fantastical and Cardhop work seamlessly across your devices, and that includes when you switch devices. The Migration Assistant is there to ensure you can re-activate your Flexibits account when switching to a new device.
✅ A quick win: In a similar vein, we also released an updated to allow users to have multiple sign-in methods enabled.
👀 Fun fact: August is when Michael and Kent got a sneak peek of Fantastical on the Apple Vision Pro!
🧠 The big focus: As most Flexibits fans know, we like to time our biggest release of the year with Apple’s iOS updates in September, so this is always a big month for us! Our iOS17 update was packed with new features, especially those built to support newer display modes like interactive widgets in the home screen, the SmartStack widgets for Apple Watch, and StandBy widgets.
✅ A quick win: In September, we were also able to greatly expand the location options that are available in an Openings template — video calls, phone calls, and in-person options are all now supported.
📍 Fun fact: Yet another change we made in September is that when you enable travel time, you calendar will automatically use the previous event’s location as your starting point if possible. A small change, but a good one!
🧠 The big focus: With all the updates we made in September, October was predictably filled with customer support and bug fixes for the many widgets, complications, and new views that are now possible for Fantastical and Cardhop. We were especially focused on making sure the new-and-improved Apple Watch apps were functioning smoothly, and we’re happy to say they’re in a very stable, beautiful place. (Check out our recent post full of Fantastical-ified Watch faces if you haven’t already!)
✅ A quick win: We reintroduced a fan favorite in October: the double month calendar widget. Now with interactivity!
🕒 Fun fact: October is the month that this particular blog writer discovered how opinionated the Flexibits staff is about time zones. 🤪
🧠 The big focus: Teaching Fantastical and Cardhop to speak European and Brazilian Portuguese. Localization is always a complicated task, and it’s even more complicated when you’re dealing with natural language processing — but we’re always trying to add more languages to the mix. Bem-vindo, Portuguese speakers!
✅ Quick wins: We enabled the duplication of Openings templates, added support for WhatsApp call links, and created an option to see tomorrow morning’s events in the Watch App Up Next widget.
📝 Fun fact: Did you know that there are in fact people that still print things out? On physical paper? In November, we made some tweaks to Cardhop’s print preview to make it more reliable.
🧠 The big focus: We’re currently focused on a few big projects that will be announced next year… so stay tuned!
✅ A quick win: One thing we have already gotten done this month is improving how the Up Next widget in the Watch App handles a very busy schedule, because we know a lot of you are very, very busy.
🔄 Fun fact: Rotating from vertical to horizontal views on the iPhone can introduce some unexpected behavior in the way you view your apps. Another thing we’ve already checked off the list this month is some improvements to how Fantastical responds to iPhone rotation.
…and believe it or not, this list is only scratching the surface of what we accomplished this year!
We truly couldn’t do it without your support, whether you’ve subscribed to Premium, told a friend how great our apps are, or contacted us to ask a question or give feedback — so we’ll close the year out by saying thank you. We can’t wait to see what 2024 brings!