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Video tour of the new Windows Phone 8.1 native calendar

The Windows Phone native calendar. Let’s not mince words, it was quite…basic. Limited views, restricted features – Microsoft practically forced third-party developers to make alternatives, such as Simple Calendar or Cal. But even those had OS limitations due to constrained APIs.

With Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft certainly gave the native calendar a much needed overhaul. We managed to miss it in our earlier coverage – not a shocker when you consider all the new changes – so we figured we would revisit this core OS feature and show you what’s new. Head past the break to catch our video!

Let us know if you think Microsoft has gone far enough with the changes. If not, what would you do to make it better (psst, Microsoft is listening)?

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • File manager MS, pleeeeeease! That's all i need to make wp 8.1 perfect!
  • +820
  • I heard the new OneDrive app will have file manager functionality.
  • Lets hope it is that. Yesterday nothing was mentioned
  • Hopefully the "Make available on Phone" functionality is included and works. Like it does work on Widows 8.1.
  • I do not understand the necessity of a file manager. As long as a phone can recognize all the file formats it can run, I don't have a need for a file manager.
  • Same here. Zero need for a file manager. 
  • Maybe,but how about something as simple as a file picker.its a goddamn mobile device and i am not going to carry another device around for simple file operations ,when this so called 'feature' is already available on other mobile OS.
  • iOS doesn't as it doesn't need it. Android has it as it's a mess and splats files every where so being able to delete is useful. What did you need to manage on windows phone? Everything is self contained and you can already delete photos or music via the phone. I'm at a loss as to what files people think they would be able to manage. 
  • What if you need to attach multiple docs to an e-mail,or maybe something you just downloaded onto your phone while on the go ??As i said i don`t need a file manager,all i need is something which would help me do such simple stuff.
  • There in WP file manager is must. We want to see and manage(delete,reneme,edit) each and every files inthe phone. Without file manager its not possible U guys(not personally) are old age and thinking very slowly
  • @elmacho; I agree that a file manager system is required as I miss that feature in Windows Mobile where I could email multiple files in one email to multiple people all in 1 email. I believe a feature like this will eventually come with a OneDrive update but until then I fill like I'm being held back 5 yrs. Anyway, i usually wait to get a laptop or pc to do this, but...
  • i'm with you. I don't need a file manager, I need file management.
  • apps like youtube that let you download movies and music files cant be detected outside the app you used to download them with. So basically you are stuck using multiple apps for viewing media. Thats lame. File manage please
  • It's not a mess on Android. I used EZ xplorer for it on Android. Could put the files I copied to my phone anywhere I wanted them to go.
  • You guys must have unlimited storage on your phones. I often need to clean up files downloaded by different apps and some don't even have a delete function
  • Same here. But something like OneDrive but for local files would be nice I guess. Not something I NEED though. Especially since I already use OneDrive for exactly this.
  • A phone doesn't live in a vacuum. Need a file manager with VPN and FTP capabilities. Many are the times I'm roaming and someone needs a file from my computer at home or work. Mostly AutoCAD stuff or pdf's. Right now, I hotspot my tablet to get the job done but I shouldn't have to. I did it all in a snap with my old android phone.
  • There's a file picker, we know that, and for most people (like multiple email attachments) you don't need much more than that.
  • Nor do I. However, it is annoying that if I go to a site and click on an mp3, it plays, but I can't save it... If that functionality requires a file manager, then so be it.
  • I've spent a great deal of time looking for file manager hints at the SDK I downloaded last night. So far I haven't found anything regarding a file manager, sorry.
  • Calender is not an important thing. File manager is important
  • The File Manager tantrums are as bad as the Instagram ones were. WHY flood every thread? We get it...yiu want a file manager. Now how about talking about the subject af the actual post?
  • if users need access to the file system, they've failed.
    not only is that a dangerous thing to do, its not something they should NEED to do. apps should be smart enough to know what files they own, what files they have access to and what files they can open. Apps that need users to choose between files should present those files in a way that makes sense for that app. there shouldn't be an app whose sole purpose is navigating/manipulating the file system (ie. a file manager).
  • I-says, your notion of what I need is shallow, limited, and obtuse. My phone is supposed to be part of an ecosystem not an isolated device. It's the only device I have with me at all times. No, hamburger flippers, teenagers, ditch diggers, and construction workers don't need a file manager. I manage an office, the rest of the enterprise world needs a file manager. You know enterprise? That segment of the market which is MS' cash cow? The same segment MS is trying hard to get WP into? We deal with files. A lot of files. We need access to those files anytime and everywhere. We need a file manager.
  • what files on your phone do you need to manage, and why? give me examples, because I don't believe for a second that a file manager is the best way to do what you need to do.
  • Client calls me at lunch and needs some supporting files for an AutoCAD drawing. I ftp into my work server, grab the files and email them. Easy peazy on an Android. Impossible on a WP.
    I'm on the road, work calls me because they need a copy of our contract. The digitally signed pdf sitting on my phone because I also use my phone as a USB drive. From my Android, again it's easy peazy. My WP, it's impossible.
    You can't seem to understand, we don't use our phones in isolation unto themselves. We expect them to interact with our information and manipulate it however we need to wherever it might be.
  • True. Sadly it seems that it is only possible to share files that are supported (pdf:s, office files etc.). They actually only would need to improve the Office app a little bit and it would be done.
  • So in both of those cases, it should be the responsibility of a file picker in the email app, not a file manager.
    you're not managing the file, you're just attaching it. rather than having an app whose sole purpose is to show you and allow you to manipulate files, you should be able to see the files you want within the app that consumes them (in this case the email app), so that it can present them in a way that makes sense for the context, and govern what you can and can't do to the file. Note that I'm not claming that WP can do these things... I know its a shortcoming of WP, but I don't think that a file manager is the answer.
  • So, you're saying my email app should have the capabilities of FTP, VPN, access to all clouds and all types of files? I can try to work with that. I have my doubts because I also expect that email app to handle calendar appointment linking and contacts. A little high in overhead for an app but I'll give it a shot. Where is this beast?
  • I already told you that it doesn't exist, just like the file manager doesn't exist. If they're going to solve the problem, I want them to solve the right problem. it annoys me that people say they want a file manager specifically, for tasks that have nothing to do with managing files. the VPN app (or networking tab under settings) should handle the VPN connection.
    The email app should handle finding files you can attach to email (including on the network).
    the calendar app should handle apointments.
    the contact app should handle contacts. Ideally the apps should be able to talk to eachother, and be styled similar so that it is a seemless expierence when going between them, as though its a single app. Its a lot to ask, but from the get go I was talking "in an ideal world"
  • Re: Novron,
    Thank you, nicely said. I agree.
  • didn't I read on here a few months ago that it would come in a summer update?
  • What about pocket file manager?any way i just want to know will i be able to attach pdf to mail?
  • Looks better.....but not the best.....:(
  • Useless video.. Nothing is visible due to white background...
  • I had to frown the whole video to see what was happening.
  • Huh? Weird. I had no problem seeing it at all, and in fact commented on how nice it looked...
  • I saw it just fine too, but rarely take stock in posts that call something "useless".
  • Yeah..nothing is visible :(
  • Completely! Every single 8.1 "deep dive" video they've done has this problem regardless of white or black background.  There's something wrong with the lighting or resolution or focus (really narrowed it down haha).  I haven't tried viewing in anything but Chrome Brower but yeah, yesterday I had to go to to get real look at the 8.1 in action.
  • Same here, Daniel's screen was basically a big white blob due to external lighting glare or something like that.
  • I wouldn't say useless but difficult to see. I had to use mytube because the quality of the built in YouTube was bad...
  • Yeah couldn't see anything
  • I want that notebook under the phone with Windows Phone written on it. Where do I get it? :(
  • I was just thinking the same thing! It looks super awesome. It would be especially magnificent I'd it came in so many colors! I would get one of each.
  • I'd pay good money for one in Cyan!
  • me toooo :)))) this is awesome :)
  • Yeah I want all the colours. Basically I want all my stuff to be branded Windows. LOL
  • You are right. Since MS changed their logo I am falling in love with this logo.... Very attractive logo they have design... I don't like that curved logo...
  • Windows Phone 8's Calendar had a "LIST VIEW".. Dat was really cool.. Any possibilities that Microsoft adds back this feature..??
  • I'm very courius about the live tile. It's the same as WP8? or there are more than one appointment? maybe it's mentioned in the video but I had no time to watch it since I'm in office righ now ;)
  • Yup, live tile for the calendar (and many others apps) should be utilized better.
  • I had the same thought. I need to know about the live tile as I usually have more than 1 appointment daily and it bugs me that it only displays the "current" appointment, this is the only reason I've opted for a 3rd party calendar... Do we get more info on the live tile? Or did they just ignore that aspect?
  • im hoping for the Tile to display more than one appointment displayed on single day on the Live Tile. I take small notes for planning ahead of time, I should be able to see a glance on the Live Tile...not assume there's an appt because there's "pinching arrows". Here's to hoping for 8.1!
  • I agree 100%. I don't care if MS wants to have a crummy calendar, but stop hobbling the 3rd party calendars from accessing needed api's
  • This, I need more than one appointment showing on the live tile.
  • Daniel,
    Does the new calendar give you the option to set an end date for recurring appointments? That's the feature I need the most. Thanks! I should mention that I'm not in a position to turn the volume up, so I apologize if you say this in the video.
  • That's something I would like as well. Same for the Windows 8 Calendar, which is also stripped of some useful features from the web calendar.
  • Early versions of the Windows 8 calendar app didn't support a recurring end date but it has for some time now, before the release of 8.1 if I recall right.
  • Also, can we have week view on a large live tile???
  • Daniel's ears make him look like an elf :P
  • This comment doesn't put you in a flattering light.
  • I'm pretty sure there's people out there into elf-looking ears.
  • Making fun of the editor...bad form!
  • I love the changes to the calendar... i think they are amazing!  I know some people were saying they miss the list view... maybe that could be another addition to the calendar view picker... day, week, month, year, list   idk..  but overall im very pleased!
  • Who cares about the new calender... I want that old fashion Notebook underneath the phone! Pen & pad FTW!
  • The new calendar lets you go way into the future...AWESOME! But seriously, I think the tile needs to change at this point to include options like number of events displayed, font type/size.  It's pretty boring and limited considering the options out there. 
  • I love almost every change here, but the one that drives me crazy is that they completely got rid of the Agenda view.  And could someone please rip off webOS' compressible day views already?
  • That is the shout. In fact, just rip off whe whole of WebOS.
  • +1
  • I left WebOS for WIndows Phone (still less than a year ago!).  Still miss it.
  • I do hope they keep agenda view, it's what I see 90% of the time I use my phones calendar.
  • Me too. I like to display multiple calendars which together show a ton of items each day and more than can fit on the Day view. The only practical way to view them is with Agenda view which is what I use 95% of the time. C'mon Microsoft, adding features doesn't mean you have to strip out existing ones.
  • Definitely want the live tile to show multiple upcoming appointments (~4). Ideally I would choose to show the next appointment + time/location details on one side of the tile, with the flip side of the tile showing appts 2-5, for example. Would be great if you can choose which calendars to show on the tile (which may be different to what is shown in the calendar app). I actually prefer the idea of the calendar showing the text (although the current WP8 app only shows mock text, Lorem Ipsum, rather than the actual app't title). Finally, to add files from OneDrive to appointments would be great...
  • "Definitely want the live tile to show multiple upcoming appointments (~4). Ideally I would choose to show the next appointment + time/location details on one side of the tile, with the flip side of the tile showing appts 2-5, for example." Yes, this or something like it please.  Great idea.
  • You hut the nail on the head my friend. Would love if at least some of this was part of the update.
  • Yes, with the flip side a list of your ToDo's from Outlook.
  • Indeed, text in Month view and the ability to zoom in a specific day; the technology was developed by MS itself and we had it in WM. Plus we need to get Categories like in Outlook.
  • I don't think the month view has the text written really small currently. I think its some form of lorem ipsum or something. It doesn't appear (at least from the demo yesterday) that the live tile shows more than one appointment either. what the hell. why can't they get that one figured out? also, don't get why they changed the calender settings UI from toggle switches to checkboxes. weird.
  • Yeah, you're right. None of it is your actual appointments.  
  • It's written in Elvish  
  • Checkboxes is weird. Also it looks like we have have lost the nice zoom transition going between day and month. Little design reversions like that drive me nuts. When they first showed the zoom transition they made a huge deal of design details like that. Then, they drop them.
  • +920 was going to post that myself :)
  • You are correct. The one thing I was really hoping for was actual text in the month view. Replacing the Lorem Ipsum filler text with little lines doesn't really help us any. Since our phones are now moving to 1080p resolution, this is completely feasible. Don't think people will be able to read the small text? Make it pinch-to-zoom. Problem solved. Worst case if Microsoft does this, the screen is too small/low-res, and the text isn't readible--which is essentially the same thing as having the lines there!
  • I Want the orange notebook under Lumia, is possible to buy one? :)
  • Its not mentioned in the video but when he backs out of the app you can briefly see the live tile and it looks like it still only shows one appointment. That would be very disappointing and surprising if that's the case.
  • Looks like the tile remains showing 1 upcoming appointment. Meanwhile AppoinTile app will do it.
  • Is it now finally possible to have more than one single, lonely, miserable appointment on the live tile? 'cause that rendered it pretty much useless...
  • Mind if I ask, what camera are you using?
  • All i need is a file picker and Cortana to be introduced asap outside US, provided the update is just as smooth on the mid and low end devices too..really hate the 'loading..','resuming..' thing
  • Seethrough tiles:
  • I gave been waiting from the beginning of windows phone 7 for there to be a "search" function in the calendar. at one point inhad all my family on windows phone, but because there was no search function a few have changed to iPhone. we use the calender a lot with our business, and the ability to be able to search it is vital! Do you know if you could search the calendar with cortana?
  • HELL YES TO THAT IDEA. I fail to understand how that one simple concept is not included with the calendar. Actually, for the entire phone (see BlackBerry universal search. Start typing and eventually you're looking at for what you were searching, be it appointments, a song... You get the idea. That would be BB6. Pre-Windows Phone 7).
  • Dear god yes! Lack of corporate features compared to Blackberry has been my biggest bitch. Search calendar is as basic as it gets. IF you have it in Outlook and OWA there is no excuse for this.
  • The month view is so bad. :(
  • I don't understand why people seem to think that the current calendar month view shows the text of the appointments. If you look closely, all that is there is various phrases in latin. They're just there to indicate what days you have appointments, and roughly how many. It's been this way since WP7.
  • Does the live tile show more appointments now?
  • Sort of OT: WPcentral produces some great-looking and informative videos. They look very professional (I know they are, but a lot of professional web-videos don't look it!).
  • Have they done away with tasks in the Calendar app? Would be a shame that.
  • I totally agree. Tasks was my prefer note as business user with Outlook and SharePoint connection to assigned tasks... Please Microsoft, Tasks are important!
  • I was hoping they would have changed the lorem ipsum in the month view to show the real text of the appointments / events. Instead they got rid of it completely. I am disappoint.
  • THIS!!  Arg, so frustrated by this!
  • Me too! It can't be that the reason is that it is technology that MSFT can't do! Just put in partial (but real) appointment text.
  • Yes! The one thing I was really hoping for was actual text in the month view. Replacing the Lorem Ipsum filler text with little lines doesn't really help us any. Since our phones are now moving to 1080p resolution, this is completely feasible. Don't think people will be able to read the small text? Make it pinch-to-zoom. Problem solved. Worst case if Microsoft does this, the screen is too small/low-res, and the text isn't readible--which is essentially the same thing as having the lines there!
  • The weekly view is beautiful....
  • Please tell me that the new calendar will launch a preferred navigation application (Here Drive+, Waze, etc) when the location of meeting/appointment is entered as a street address. Having to edit an appointment so I can copy/paste the address into the mapping/navigation app is just a pain an sooo last decade.
  • WOW, I just read a comment above about BB6 and universal search and I also recall that if you added an address to your appointment, tapping it would launch BB maps. Like, OMG. What a concept!
  • It already does this for me, but it takes more clicking, since clicking the address opens the native map app, from which you can get directions, from which you can click navigate, from which you can choose which navigation app to launch it in.
  • Daniel mentioned the live tile is the same... that is a fail. I wish the live tile was more like the default Simple Calendar live tile where it shows 3 appointments with the meeting location. It was hard to see, but the day and week views should show the meeting locations as well. Business people are constantly jumping from one conference room to another and it is a pain having to drill down to see where to go next. Also, as mentioned above, though it wasn't shown, the agenda view is a must. It would also be good to have the agenda view on the lock screen.
  • +1
  • Yes the tile... What a waste of space...
  • I cant wait for developer previews =(
  • Feeling that notebook Dan.
  • In windows phone 8.1, does we will be able to install apps on micro sd cards??
  • Yes.
  • Seems faster
  • Is that orange "notepad" under your phone the mythical Courier device? ;)
  • So many good calendar apps out there.  Currently Super Calendar and CAL are my two favorites. 
  • Quick correction for you Dan. The old calendar does not show your appointments in the month view. It would only show garbled, random, filler text. I confirmed this a while back with Windows Phone Support on Twitter  
  • What happened to agenda view? :( I use that almost exclusively and prefer it over the day view so will be sad if it vanishes. The new week view is great though, and looks wonderful on that 1520. I noticed the updated month view too, really nice to tap on a day and it displays the details below. Much more useful and a better use of the screen.
  • Dear god, finally!!! I absolutely despise the current calendar. It's always been one of THE most weak features in Windows Phone. Could never figure out why they would cripple something so simple yet so important to so many people.
  • Very educational piece: Never use a white background when doing a video.
  • week view in landscape that looks like outlook. PLEASE, you make outlook and week view is a stupid list...
  • Please don't make videos with the white background. It makes it nearly impossible to see anything on the screen.
  • Did Microsoft announce whether they extended the calendaring APIs so 3rd parties can be more viable alternatives?
  • That's what I'm more interested in. I like Simple Calendar, but to edit/delete appointments I have to use the native calendar. Would be nice to have an easier hook into the API for developers to allow that for their 3rd party apps.
  • Small point of correction, but at 1:06, the current calendar does not have the actual appointment written in really small text in month view, but random placeholder text.
  • A lot more functional then what we have now, can't wait to get it!
  • Definitely need the ability to search for calendar events (how is this missing?) and to have a live tile which shows more than 1 event.
  • The old 8.0 calendar had the appointments in tiny fake text, it wasn't your actual appointments.
  • a good improvement. still, the look. ugh. too much contrast MSFT. The difference between a black pixel and white pixel is too harsh on the eyes. There is a reason graphic designers use other colors, just saying.
  • Is agenda view gone? It's the best part of Microsoft's calendar from all the different platforms.
  • I want to be able to make an appointment using the client data I just typed in after a call for service.
  • YES!
  • One of the hopes I have is additional duration options for SNOOZE.  This has always been a frustration. There is no option to snooze the upcoming meeting reminder for 5 MINUTES BEFORE START like in Outlook.  You have a choice of 5 to 10 minutes.  It pretty much forces you to keep snoozing the nag every 5 or 10 minutes so you can see the reminder.  I would also hope for a 30 minute duration option so the reminder pops up when the meeting is to start.
  • Yes! OMG! I hate that. Snooze for 5 minutes or an hour? What? Snooze until five minutes or 15 minutes prior would be huge.
  • It's rediculous to not have a reminder function in the calendar the can be set as in the Outlook calendar since Microsoft is in charge of both. It shold be possible to set a reminder 5-30 minutes before an calendar topic is due. Can we get a promise for a delivery date or in next version?? Thnx!
  • Just in the nail... I think that'd be great too
  • YES YES !
  • Where is the "To-do" section?  Will that be a separate app now or what?  I don't know about anyone else but I actually used that a lot.
  • Again I say, YES.
  • Same here. Hopefully they haven't gotten rid of it. It is nowhere to be seen in the Windows8 calendar app.
  • I need the agenda view!! It's the best calendar view for me. I also regularly use the to-do list. :(
  • Damn, triple YES!
  • Based on this I don't regret buying Chronos.