16 August 2012

To Do List apps

I love lists!  I have this terrible fear that if something isn’t on a list it will be forgotten.  I’ve been reading a bit about some new apps for making lists and I thought I’d do a bit of research and see if there was something new worth trying.  So I set about researching and testing.  OMG – what was I thinking!  There are hundreds of To-Do List apps in the Android Play and iTunes App Stores.   It’s taken a while, but I’ve put together a list of what I consider are the best To-Do list apps currently available.  Just to clarify – these are To Do List apps – just for making lists.  I haven’t included the more complex productivity apps like Evernote, OneNote, Wunderkit, Cozi and all the others that do so much more than just make lists – they can wait for another post.   

How did I choose what I think are the best?  I started out aiming for apps that were able to be used on computers, tablets and smartphones.  There are plenty that are just phone apps, but I wanted to be able to see and use my lists while I’m working on my computer.  I also wanted it to be able to work on both Windows and Mac, as well as Android and iOS, because no matter what hardware I use, now and in the future, I want my to do lists on everything and syncing between all of them; so I have my lists everywhere I am.   It had to be easy to use – and easy to see on my phone. I didn’t want to pay lots for it either – some To Do apps are over $50 – my limit was $10, and it had better be brilliant for that!  Lastly, I wanted it to look good – not just useful and practical – but pretty!    

I really didn’t think it was going to be so hard to find a few apps to fit my requirements!  Well I’ve had to change my mind.  There are apps that are brilliant for your iPad and iPhone, and others that are perfect for your Android phone or tablet.  There are a few for Windows and some for MACs.  Here are the To Do List apps I think are the best.


Create your to-do lists, make checklists, setup repetitive tasks, add priority levels, and have it send you emails to alert you.  You can personalise it with 34 different colours, themes, sounds, and pictures.  It’s compatible with iCal (Mac calendar).  It’s even been nominated for the best-app ever award.

iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch - $9.99
Android $7.12
Mac coming soon

Do it (tomorrow)

Really simple, and beautifully designed.  This app is perfect if all you want is a very simple To Do list.  The computer version features two columns, one for tasks to do today, and the other for tasks to do tomorrow.  Anything you don't complete today will automatically get moved to the tomorrow column.  Unfortunately, you don't have the option for anything past tomorrow.

Sign up for an account first on your computer via Chrome or Safari, then download the app for your phone.  Sign in with the account you created on your computer and you'll have your To Do list with you on your phone.

iPhone and Android - Free
iPad - $1.99
On your computer via your web browser at http://tomorrow.do
(won’t work in Internet Explorer – best in Chrome or Safari)


Here’s your best Android option.  Taskos is a great looking app which allows you to create multiple categories, set alerts, and even make calls from your list.  It integrates with your Facebook friends, Gmail contacts, and Twitter followers so you can share tasks with your friends via SMS or email.  The cleverest thing is that you can add to your list by speaking to your phone (with the Google voice search app).  

Taskos syncs to Google Tasks and has a home screen widget (so you can immediately see any tasks for the day).  It’s been announced that coming versions will also sync to Google Calendar, Outlook, Springpad and some other to do list apps.

Android - Free


Orchestra is the App Store productivity app of the year.  Orchestra allows you to organise your lists by timeframe - today, soon, someday or a specific date - or create categories for lists like work, personal, this weekend, birthday party.  You can also forward emails and note to Orchestra to merge them into your To Do list.  Your mobile account can be synced to a web account on the Orchestra site, so you can access your list from the site or on your phone.

Orchestra uses voice recognition software; you don't have to type everything in manually.  One of the most helpful features is that you an assign tasks to someone who doesn't even use the app.  So, if you want to allocate a task to your hubby, like "buy present for mother-in-law", you can send it to him via SMS or email directly from the app.

iPad, iPhone - Free
Android coming soon


Paperless looks great and is very easy to use.  Apart from the basics of creating lists and tasks; you can email lists, copy and paste lists, search for items on all your lists, even put passcode locks on lists you don't want people to see.   You can sync between your iPhone and iPad too.

iPhone, iPad - $2.99

Today to do

Very clever app – Today To Do uses a sunny sky for showing today’s to-do’s, a night sky showing yesterday’s and a purple-ish eclipse showing tomorrow’s. Every new day when you start this app your todo list will be empty.  Past tasks are hidden in the dark.  To access your old todos, tap on the sun and slide it to the right.  Just turn your phone 90 degrees to add a new task.  You can prioritise tasks, and set recurring tasks.  Very easy to use and a bit different to the rest.  

iPhone, iPad - $2.99

Errands To-Do List

Errands feature categories, checklists, schedules, alarms and a calendar view to help you manage your to do list tasks.  Errands doesn't automatically get rid of completed items, so if you have a recurring task you can check it off when it's done, then uncheck it when you're redoing your list.

iPhone, iPad - Free
Syncs via iTunes


Google Tasks

If you use Gmail then Google tasks is a simple solution for your to do lists.  It’s a small window that opens in Gmail, links to Google Calendar, and can be accessed through any browser, like all Google services.  From your inbox you can convert emails to tasks, and if you add due dates to your tasks they’ll automatically be added to Google Calendar.

You already have it on your computer:  Just click the down arrow next to the word Gmail in the top left of your screen, choose Tasks, and the Tasks window appears.  Type your task and if you want to add a date or note, click the arrow at the right of that task.

On your phone, Tasks is separate to Gmail.  You need to go to http://gmail.com/tasks  to access Tasks.  On the smartphone version you can view your tasks and lists, create new tasks and lists, add notes, and mark tasks as completed.  Of course, it syncs with Tasks on your computer.


Clear is the newest to-do list app, launched in February.  It's a touch-based app, and looks gorgeous.  There are no buttons; you use the gestures you're used to on a smartphone - pinch, swipe and pull.  Pull down on a list to add an item, swipe to the right to complete and item or to the left to delete it, pinch apart two items to insert a new one in between, and pinch vertically to close the current list and see all the lists you have.  Your lists are colour-coded with a heat map to show your most urgent tasks.  Really easy to use if you're familiar with a touch screen.  Currently you can't sync between devices, but hopefully  it will be a feature in a future release.

iPhone, iPod touch, iPad $2.99

All these apps are available through either the iTunes App Store for Mac and iOS devices, or Google Play Store for Android.

So, which one am I going to use?  If you just want your list on your smartphone you have a few great apps to choose from.  However, if you want to also have it on your computer, but don’t want to have to go to a website each time you want to view your list, I have just what you need.


This one app will do everything on every device – it’s available for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Blackberry, and syncs between all of them - even if you have a Mac at home, a Windows PC at work, an iPad and an Android phone.  The computer version is downloaded to your Windows or Mac computer; you don’t have to go to a site to view it, although they do have it on the web too.  So, if you use a mixture of Windows and iOS devices and want your to do list accessible on all your devices, you cannot go past Wunderlist.  Yes, the wonderful app I’ve been using for the past four months is the one I'll be sticking with – I originally wrote about it here.  Some of the other apps I reviewed look prettier and some have some very clever features, but I love the simplicity of Wunderlist. 

I love that I can personalise Wunderlist by changing the colour scheme from the default wood panelling scheme (I have a gorgeous pinky/magenta).  I can create as many lists as I need, with as many tasks in each as I need; and add deadlines and notes to them.  I can tick off what’s been done so I can see what’s been accomplished that day, or delete the task completely; change the deadline date for a particular task or move it to a different list.  I have a widget on my Android phone home screen which tells me with one glance if I have any outstanding tasks for the day, and it syncs automatically with my computer.  I can share lists and tasks with friends or keep them private.  If I want a paper version of my list I can print it out too.  Oh, and it’s FREE.  You can get Wunderlist here.

Have you tried any of the apps above, or do you use a different app for managing your To-Do lists?  I'd like to do a follow-up post with reviews from my readers on their favourite apps - so please comment and let me know what you've been using - and what you like about it.


  1. I use Remember the Milk. It can be used across all platforms, has a free and a paid option and syncs really well.

    1. Thanks Jordian, I was tossing up whether to include Remember the Milk. I think I'll end up doing a follow up to this post, once I see what is being used. Have you used Siri to add tasks?