Developer: Outside HQ LTD
Price: Free [$4.99/£4.99 a month Pro unlock]
Size: 88.2 MB
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Outside is a blissfully simple social planning app, created because its developer wanted an easier and more fun way to look forward to things.
Boot Outside up for the first time and there are no artfully constructed tutorial hoops to jump through. There’s just an Add a plan title, a greyed-out calendar, the Apple keyboard, and a blinking cursor suggestively positioned to gobble up the descriptive “Vacation, birthdays, concerts etc” text.
15 years of accumulated App Store knowledge – or growing up with a smartphone in your pocket – means that you know what to do here. We immediately set to work typing in an upcoming concert we had booked.
Having typed this in (there’s generic Ideas bar just below) and selected the appropriate date from the calendar, it was on to a screen where you can add all the usual calendar entry modifiers. Think location, reminders, notes, times and the like.
You can also choose granular reminders, so you can be prodded every month, week, day, hour, or minute if you so wish. Tap to create, and your event will be presented, complete with the all-important countdown timer.
It’s from this screen where Outside stops being another calendar app and becomes something a bit more fun and involving. Besides the ability to check the weather for the day and invite friends to your plan, there’s a prominent button that instructs you how to add an interactive widgets – one of the big new additions to iOS 17.
Sure enough, you can now pin your plan to your home screen, complete with custom wallpaper, countdown and all. There are several widget sizes to choose from, and all manage to cram on multiple events.
Overview also makes use of iOS’s Live Activities feature. Starting eight hours before an event (or when toggled on), you’ll get a real time countdown from the widget, as well as additional lock screen and Dynamic Island widgets.
The app is free to download, but there’s also a paid Pro tier (with a seven-day free trial) that lets you share with up to six people, as well as removing ads, adding more customization options, and syncing with your calendars.
The latter lets you tap from a simple list of events culled from your chosen calendar to instantly set up events. It’s a nice feature to have, though it would be nice if these were arranged a little smarter than a simple scrolling list. Even a simple text search would help speed things up.
Apart from the sense that the app could be a little smarter in automating its events, Outside is a nicely laid out, flab-free social planning app that places fun and anticipation to the fore.