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Review: gCalWall

March 11, 2009
Overview gCalWall is an application that assists you in changing your lock screen wallpaper to something more useful. What could be more useful than your favorite image you ask? How about your favorite image melded with your Google Calendar events. The application pulls in images from your photo library and places your Google Calendar events over the top. The new image is constructed and then saved for you to use as a wallpaper.


  • Pick A Photo, Any Photo
gCalWall allows you to use any one of the photos located in your iPhone photo library. The image you select is then pulled into gCalWall. Want to see your favorite pet every single day behind a wall of events? Why not? Just don't pick something too visually complicated because the text will be difficult to read.

  • Google Calendar Events
Google Calendar is the only calendar system that is supported by gCalWall. When you first launch the application, you are required to enter your Google Calendar log-in information. Once you have done that, gCalWall pulls the next five scheduled events from your calendar and places them on top of your chosen background image. Since gCalWall remembers that information, you won't need to enter it ever again, unless you want to change calendars. This makes the process of creating a new image just a little faster.

  • Text Options
If you chose an image and just realized that it was bad fit because you can't even read the calendar events, have no fear. gCalWall allows you to change the color and alignment of your calendar events to better suit your photo. If you decided it would be a great idea to choose a dark background, simply change the text color to white. If the image has too much activity on the left side, align the text to the right to avoid any problems.


The Good: The best part about gCalWall is there are no hidden surprises. The developer has gone to great lengths explaining the Apple imposed limitations. The application itself even goes as far as explaining that you must set your own wallpaper once you are finished creating the image. The images look as good as you would expect. The text is legible, as long as you make the correct settings choices. There are just enough features to get the job done without creating too much confusion. The application can be especially useful for those who tend to lose an internet connection while traveling. With gCalWall, there is no need to worry about accessing Google Calendars online, it is always on your lock screen reminding you to pick up the laundry or whatever it is that you just can not forget. The Bad: Because of Apple's SDK, the application is severely limited. gCalWall doesn't set your wallpaper for you, you must physically exit the application and set it yourself. Apple's SDK also doesn't allow applications to pull data from the built in calendar application so users are stuck solely using Google Calendar. Neither of these features will ever be added to the application because of the rules. If you don't think you can live without them, gCalWall isn't for you. I also ran into an odd text issue when changing the text color and alignment. Previously placed text stays in place unless you hit the "Use Last" button, as pictured in the example below:

Since the application is constantly saving images, you must make sure to clear out the old ones. After a few days of updating my wallpaper, I realized I had a ridiculous amount of saved images now stored on my device. Just remember to remove the old ones, after a month things could get messy. The application lacks simple backgrounds. Unless you create your own image and place it in your photo library there is no way to get a solid black, white, red or whatever color background you want.


I must applaud the developer for making the limitations of the application overly clear. Apple has implemented so many rules that make this application less useful than it should be. The idea is good one, having your Google Calendar events displayed as your lock screen wallpaper is a fantastic way to remind yourself of important events; but the fact that it is so tedious just to get the image placed there makes the whole experience less than enjoyable.

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