Some people get by with simple plain text lists, but I really enjoy using a task manager. The iPhone doesn’t have one by default, but over the past few years, quite a few third party developers have stepped up to the plate with some excellent solutions. My personal favourites include Things, Today Todo Pro, and 2Do, but there are many (many) more out there.
The JAiB recently had a discussion about our favourite (nine) task management apps or solutions, and we’ve organized and shared them all with you after the jump. It’s a beast of a read, but we hope you find it useful!
Task Management Apps mentioned in this post:
- 2Do (review) — $6.99 — syncs with ToodleDo, iCal, Outlook
- ToDo — $4.99 — syncs with ToodleDo and iCal
- Things — $9.99 — syncs with Things for Mac ($50)
- ToodleDo — $2.99 — syncs with ToodleDo
- Remember the Milk (RTM) — “Free”– requires $25/year subscription to sync and use
- ReQall (review) — Freemium — syncs with ReQall, integrates with Evernote Pro accounts
- Taskpaper (review) — $4.99 — syncs with Taskpaper for Mac, or any Mac text editor
- Egretlist (review) — $2.99 — syncs with Evernote
- Today ToDo Pro (review) — $3.99 — no sync; uses “web server” mode instead
I used this app for a while on my iPhone. I really liked the some of the functionality and the sync worked pretty well with iCal. It just became too much for me. I was looking for something a little more simplified and to the point. Plus I needed a manager that worked in conjunction with my iPad.
When ToDo for the iPad came out they completely sold me on the design. After playing around with for a few minutes I immediately purchased the iPhone version. I am currently syncing over the air using ToodleDo and it works great keeping both my iPhone and iPad update. ToDo keeps my life in order. My only wish is for a full Mac client.
I have never used Things except for the Mac trial version but I want it… The UI is smart and easy to use. The cost of buying the iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps total $80 and that’s just way too money for me to spend right now. I will consider buying Things once they add over the air syncing.
I’m currently using Things on Mac and iPhone and it’s already a pain
in the ass having to be in the same wifi to keep them sync, but as the
iPad is coming to my house I can’t sync both “mobile” versions
everytime I make a change in one of them, this means I will not use
Things for iPad until OTA sync is delivered.
I read somewhere of people using Simplenote + Notational Velocity for
this purpose, but I just don’t feel it right and don’t want to mess my
I keep sticking with the same combo as Frank. I use ToDo on iphone and ipad syncing to and thru Toodledo. I use Jott and email to feed ToDo. I also use Notebook (also from Appigo) as a note/data keeper/db. It integrates well with iPhone ToDo and Toodledo.
I’ve been using Remember The Milk (Pro account) since last fall, after switching from Toodledo. For me to consider a task manager app, it must have a web interface and must be able to sync over the air. In addition, be able to send me push alerts to my iPhone on a per-task basis (ie. some recurring tasks I don’t need alerts for but I still track them on my task list, other important one-off tasks I want push alerts for).
While Toodledo also met my requirements, the web interface felt complicated and stuffed with too many features that I simply had no use for. What I like about RTM the most is the clean, streamlined web interface. It reminds me of the Google UI, with plenty of white space, clean fonts, and easy to use UI elements. Creating tasks is as easy as typing into a single text box in plain english, such as “Need to pick up dry-cleaning on Friday at 6:30pm” and RTM will parse the text and pick out the date and time. Creating new tasks on the iPhone app is done the same way.
I’ve looked at just about every task manager app for the iPhone platform, and while there are many very nice ones, many of them require a companion app to run on my Mac, and only sync over wifi when both the iPhone app and Mac app are running at the same time. I want access to my tasks from all my computers, but then also from the web so I can get to them from any other computer as well (which I occasionally need to do).
For me, RTM offers the most useful and productive task management, providing me access to my tasks from any computer or mobile device I have access to, while keeping the feature-rich web interface clean and easy to use. One caveat, while RTM does provide free accounts, in order to use the iPhone app, you have to have a RTM Pro account which costs $25/year. While this may discourage some users, when you factor in the cost of other iPhone tasks managers including their desktop companion apps, RTM Pro is very comparable, and for about $2/month, has been invaluable for me over the last year of managing my tasks.
I think one thing to note right away is that this is an area where iPhone users have some great choices. I’ve used – and liked – several of the apps mentioned by others here. I’ve tried out 2Do and ToDo – and think they are both very capable and strong apps. Remember The Milk was a favorite for quite a while.
The app that has been my everyday go-to ever since it hit the App Store is Things though. It is definitely at the higher end of the price scale, on the iPhone and the Mac (and now the iPad as well) – but I find it worth every penny, as I use it heavily every day. It offers a great feature set, but the simple, gorgeous, and effective UI is what makes it such a killer app for me. It just looks so good, and is so easy to work with, that I *want* to use it, and use it often. I am sure by now, after nearly two years of use on the desktop, iPhone, and now the iPad, that this makes me more productive. I would love to see OTA sync added to it soon – that is its biggest missing feature right now.
Unfortunately my experience with this list leaves me little to contribute. I was never a RTM fan, and although I tried ToodleDo briefly, I wasn’t a fan of its setup.
I was teased into trying ReQall and have kept it due to its exceptional voice transcription feature and email (and trial Outlook integration). Unfortunately its App lacks seamless navigation and understanding of the difference between its “Memory Jogger,” “Things,” and “Time” leaves me baffled as to where to classify what I need to do.
Why? Because it works, doesn’t add unecessary complexity (unless you want it) and doesn’t include the kitchen sink.
It’s fast, simple and doesn’t require a lot of effort. Too many apps try to be everything to everybody and because of that they overload you with options you never wanted or needed.
Things has a simplistic quality that doesn’t scare you off the first time you try it. Many of the other apps I’ve tried just miss the make on simplistic elegance.
I’ve tried ToDo, RTM, ToodleDo, 2Do, Today Todo Pro, Taskpaper, ReQall, and Egretlist…but I usually end up heading back to Things after a while.
Appigo’s ToDo always felt a bit too complicated, although I did appreciate the syncing with Remember the Milk (now cancelled) and Toodledo at the time. Unfortunately, I tired quickly of the interface. It features a clean design, but clean in a sterile, not shiny way, and I like my apps “pretty”.
I used the Remember the Milk app for nearly a year, but my experience was different from Josh’s. There were very few app updates in those 12 months, and I didn’t see any major changes in the web app either, so I really started to wonder where my money was going. $25/year isn’t a killer sum if the service is great, but I didn’t like the idea of being tethered to a subscription just to get the RTM app to work. I also found syncing far too slow to be convenient, even if it was syncing over-the-air with the cloud.
2Do and Today Todo Pro are great apps, but I eventually lost interest because of the lack of a decent sync partner on the Mac. I used the local wi-fi sync feature to sync 2Do with iCal, but I find task management on default OSX apps lacking, to say the least.
I head back to Things because the desktop client is so damn good, and, as Brandon mentioned, the app really has a great approach to task management. I still think it needs an over-the-air sync (they’re working hard on it — but we have no ETA), but I know for a fact that I’m a lot more productive when I stick to tasks I pin down in Things. If you’d like to know more about the app, I wrote a pretty massive review of the iPhone and Mac clients over on JAMM.
Josh (again, Re: Remember the Milk)
I do remember back when RTM syncing was pretty slow, but they updated the app about a month or so ago which really improved the syncing. Now whenever I create or edit a task, it’s synced back to the cloud within about 3-5 seconds. And it syncs in the background which is nice, so you never even notice that it’s doing it. But your tasks are always synced up in almost real time. It was a big improvement to one of my major gripes with the service, and I do agree with you about having to pay $25/year just to be able to use the iPhone app = kinda lame. But I do have to say I love the cowbell sound for push alerts! 😉
TAGS: task management, task manager, tasks, to do list