I am going to bring up a painful memory for many Windows Phone users.
Remember back in 2012 when Windows Phone had features called Groups and Rooms? Rooms was great because it provided an easy to setup space where you could invite family, friends, or any group of people to share a calendar, OneNote, OneDrive, and also see their social feeds for quick interactions.
Groups simply allowed you to put together a collection of contacts you wanted to keep an eye on for their social feeds, etc.
Rooms was deprecated on Windows Phone devices in March 2015.
Since then you could still setup a shared calendar for your family or group but it was never quite as intuitive and easy to access all the content like it was in Rooms when it existed.
In the interim Microsoft has continued to build out their Family account options by adding the management tool to the Microsoft Account portal with the ability to add other family members. The site allows limits to be set for screen time on Windows 10 devices and Xbox One consoles however, the shared calendar and other options never returned.
Well that is until today when several sites reported that accounts with the Family part active received email notices that a new shared family calendar was rolling out.
I am able to confirm that is the case and I was able to activate a shared family calendar by simply adding one additional family member to my Microsoft Account Family page.
Shortly after adding the new member to the account and accepting the invite, a fresh shared family calendar started to propagate across my various devices which had my Microsoft Account setup. That included Outlook (Desktop), Outlook App (Android), Windows 10 Calendar App on Windows 10 (Mobile and Desktop), and Outlook.com.
I was impressed by how quickly the calendar became available across my own ecosystem of devices and I was able to add calendar events on each device with the exception of Outlook on the desktop. For some reason options to add events on that calendar view were grayed out.
So after poking around a bit and taking some screenshots I decided to delete the calendar and started at Outlook.com however, there was no option to delete/remove the calendar.
I then went to Outlook on the desktop and was able to delete the calendar but a subsequent visit to Outlook.com brought it back to my Outlook program.
There is not option on the Windows 10 Mobile Calendar app to remove the calendar so I then went to the Outlook app on a Nexus 5X and was able to delete it from there. Shortly after I deleted it the calendar returned to the app and then an additional instance of the shared calendar showed up.
So at this point I figured the only way to remove this shared calendar was to break up the family account and I went and removed the test account I had added earlier to get the calendar in the first place.
Nope - still there - still on all of my devices with no apparent way to send it packing.
I guess this is preview mode and will hopefully be addressed soon as I get a bit OCD when it comes to keeping things neat and organized on my devices and accounts.
However, if you have an established family unit and are using the family account settings for your Microsoft Account then I encourage to make sure this is available to all of your family members on their devices. Having a coordinated calendar can make a big difference in a busy families daily schedule.
Check out the gallery to see some of the sign up process and instances of the shared calendar across various devices and programs.