The Apple iPad truly is a magical device, and definitely entertaining if you want to surf the web, play games, read books, or watch movies and TV shows. But sometimes you need to get some work done and you probably have a task list or a "honey do" list that you need to track. Wouldn't it be nice if your iPad could also keep you organized and on task so that you can get your work done quickly and get back to the fun stuff? With the right task management app, it can do exactly that.
Agendus is the first of two "all in one" iPad apps that manage both your calendar and your tasks. Agendus goes one step further and also integrates your contacts. The Today view is clean and uncluttered, reminiscent of a paper calendar, and I like having the weather forecast, quote of the day, and "this day in history" included. The calendar view includes events and tasks on the right side, and the contacts portion of the app is fully searchable. Tasks are rather simple at this point; you can link them to contacts and create repeating tasks, but you can't have projects or subtasks at this point.
Agendus users migrating from other platforms may be somewhat disappointed in this initial version for the iPad. It does include icons (there are two additional sets of icons available via in app purchase) and contact logging, but none of the other bells and whistles included with Agendus for other platforms. It also has the rather unfortunate propensity to set off alarms for events on other people's calendars. (I share Google calendars with several other people, and Pocket Informant only sets off alarms for events on my personal Google calendar.) It's a good start, and I will definitely keep watching this app to see what will be added in future releases.
Diehard Twitter fans should feel right at home with the Crosscheck iPad app. It uses some of the same methodologies to help you quickly enter all of your tasks and get organized. Use the @ symbol to assign tasks to a particular person, and use the # symbol to create a tag for a project or context. Dates go in brackets, and exclamation points signal urgency.
The concept is clever and easy to use, with the added benefit of saving time and saving you from tap-tap-tapping your way through multiple menus and dialogue boxes. When you use a tag, it is automatically added to the filter list on the left side of the screen and it shows up in the new task box, meaning that task entry can be lightning fast after you've used the app for just a few minutes. You can sort your tasks by priority, creation date, due date, or manually.
If you want to use Crosscheck as a business tool, then you'll want to upgrade to the Pro version of the app for an additional $9.99 in app purchase. Crosscheck Pro offers the ability to collaborate with other users so that everyone can stay in sync. The $9.99 purchase includes a one year subscription and also includes a second upgrade, which is a decent value. I would rather pay a little more for the app up front and get a lifetime subscription.
Crosscheck can become quite pricey for workgroups but is a powerful app for single users who don't need the collaboration feature of the Pro version. Aside from Pocket Informant and Omnifocus, Crosscheck is the best task management app for the iPad included in this roundup.
EasyTask (Free, desktop version with online sync $19.99)
If you need a basic, no frills app, you can't do much better than EasyTask for iPad, which is free. Like many other task apps, it follows the Getting Things Done methodology and includes an Inbox, Someday, and Completed task lists. It supports projects and contexts, and you can sort your tasks by action, importance, or due date.
There is some clumsiness here, such as the fact that you can't assign a project or context to a task unless you've created it elsewhere in the app. It also needs an All Tasks view, because it is easy to "lose" tasks if you aren't looking at the right view. Mac and Windows desktop versions are also available for $19.99 each. If your needs are simple you just can't argue with the price, and EasyTask is definitely worth a closer look.
KwikList Plus ($3.99)
If you're a diehard list maker and make lists for absolutely every aspect of your life, check out KwikList Plus. This app is truly a list maker at heart, but it includes templates for a variety of uses, from gift-giving to notes and to-dos. There's nothing fancy here, but you can customize each list with extra fields, change the sort order, etc. A search function is included, as well as the ability to email your list to others.
If you don't care about all of that GTD stuff that everyone is talking about, and you like the idea of creating separate lists for each project or for various areas of your life, KwikList Plus would be a smart solution for you. What other app allows you to keep track of your chores and your DVD collection at the same time? That flexibility is what gives KwikList Plus its strength. It's a good buy at $3.99, and you'll find a lot more uses for it than managing your tasks.
List n Do ($1.99)
The List n Do iPad app has a low price tag and a no frills interface, but it includes some of the features found in more expensive apps. You'll find categories, repeating tasks, and subtasks, as well as a search mode. You can sync with Toodledo or add tasks to your Google Calendar.
Unfortunately you can't configure the views in List n Do, which are already set up either by category or due date, and there is quite a bit of wasted space, especially in landscape mode, where category names run off the side of the screen even though there is loads of empty space in the middle of the display. List n Do isn't bad, but there are better choices for minimalists, such as EasyTask.
Do you color-code your paper task lists with different shades of ink and highlighters? Do you consider yourself a visual thinker, who needs to see everything in living color instead of making a simple list? If so, Manage is the app for you. Manage is an interesting hybrid between a list-management app and a to-do app, with the ability to create multiple lists (one for each project or role, perhaps?) and personalize those lists with highlighters and ink pens.
The concept is clever and the layout works well. Just tap the large plus icon in the top right corner of the screen to add a task, along with notes and due date if desired. Then use the pens and highlighters on the left to embellish those tasks. Do you have to pick up the dry cleaning on the way home or risk not having your favorite dress to wear to the party on Saturday night? Use the red highlighter to make that task leap off of the page.
You can sort your tasks by priority or due date, but you won't find any advanced options like synchronization here. The app works well and the price is a good value. There are certainly more advanced task-management apps available for the iPad but there aren't any others that are quite so personal and fun.
Nozbe Todo ($14.99)
The Nozbe Todo iPad app works either as a standalone task management app or in conjunction with the Nozbe online service. Like many of the other apps included in this roundup, it follows the GTD methodology, with projects, contexts, and next actions, but is flexible enough to be used by anyone. The interface is clean, though the text is a bit smaller than it should be considering how much empty space is available on the screen.
Nozbe is more connected than some of the other task apps because it both syncs to the Nozbe service and integrates with Evernote. Unfortunately it is more expensive than most of the other task apps and if you want to sync online with the Nozbe service the costs really start to add up. Prices start at $9.95 a month for individuals and go up quickly from there for family, small business, and business users. Strictly limited free individual accounts are also available, but there are less expensive task-management options available for the iPad.
Yes, you read that price correctly -- OmniFocus for iPad is indeed a $40 app. Before you move on to the next entry in this article, remember that sometimes you do indeed get what you pay for -- and that is certainly the case here. Start by entering tasks and assigning them to a project or context. You can add notes, photo or voice memo attachments, and due dates. View your tasks by project or context, or use the very handy Forecast view to get a better idea of what your week will be like. Flagged tasks are the most urgent of tasks, and they're only a tap away. And the Review area of the app guides you through your weekly review to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. You can set up repeating tasks if you like, and sync options include MobileMe, OmniFocus for Mac, and custom sync with WebDAV.
If you're a cheapskate like me, that $40 may be a tough price to pay for an iPad app, but OmniFocus is truly elegant and beautifully designed. It is the first GTD app I've come across that actually includes the "Review" portion of the GTD methodology, and in many ways is exactly what I was hoping Things ($20) would be. If you already use OmniFocus on the Mac, it's a no-brainer -- the sync functionality means that you'll always be on top of your tasks, whether you're sitting at your desk or on the go with your iPad.
If you're a "PC" like me, and considering OmniFocus for iPad as a standalone purchase, $40 is a tough sell. But this is one app that lives up to the high price tag. If you need the best implementation of GTD available on the iPad, you need the Cadillac of task apps: OmniFocus.
Like KwikList Plus, Outliner is a multipurpose app that can be used for a variety of purposes. If you just want a simple task list because you're trying to free yourself from sticky notes scattered all over your home or office, Outliner is a great choice. It's perfect for those folks who like to plan everything out at once, but don't need any extras like due dates, contexts and due dates. It works just like a traditional outliner, though you can mark items as tasks so that when you check them off, the parent item shows a completion percentage.
Set up a free CarbonFin account in order to synchronize and back up your outlines. You can access them on the web or email them to yourself or others at any time. You can also import outlines from any other program that uses the OPML format, which is a great timesaver when migrating from another app. Outliner is a fully featured outlining app and a good value for those who like to use a hierarchical planning method. Free synchronization services and the flexibility to be used for a number of purposes make Outliner an excellent choice for those looking for something a little different from traditional task management apps.
Pocket Informant ($6.99)
Pocket Informant is the second of two all-in-one calendar and task apps included in this review. Longtime Windows Mobile users are likely very familiar with this app, and the iPad version certainly doesn't disappoint. It includes a powerful calendar with multiple views and a fully featured task-management section that supports Franklin Covey, Getting Things Done, and Toodledo methodologies. It syncs with Google Calendar and is highly customizable, with tags, repeating tasks, alarms, icons, color coding, and just about every other useful feature you can think of, but is extremely simple to use.
It may sound like I'm gushing, but Pocket Informant deserves the praise. It isn't entirely perfect -- it did crash once (without data loss), and has a slightly frustrating date picker (it uses the standard spinner dials instead of letting me tap on a monthly calendar), but those are the only faults I could come up with for this review. This app is my top recommendation out of all the task management apps in this article. It has the right balance of power, price, and ease of use, and it easily replaces the Calendar app included with the iPad.
Popplet is another app that is somewhat off the beaten path but perfect for visual planners. It won't work as an everyday task app with dates and everything else but it is great for folks who like to use mind-mapping techniques to brainstorm on creative projects. If you're remodeling your kitchen, for example, you can use text, drawings, and photos to plan out your project, instead of a boring list of individual tasks. Trying to choose between several types of materials? You can include photos in a Popplet along with vendor and pricing information.
There are plenty of customization options available, including color schemes, and the ability to add freehand sketches to your Popplets with a variety of ink colors. A free lite edition is available if you want to try out the app before you buy. The full version offers unlimited Popplets plus the ability to export your Popplets via PDF or JPG.
Sorted (99 cents)
Sorted is a very simple to-do app that might work well for folks who like to keep a separate list for each project. Each list can include multiple items with due dates, and each item can be marked as urgent, important, or flagged, but there is no option to include your own tags or categories. Lists can be sorted by priority, date, and completion status, but that's about it.
Sorted looks nice, but it doesn't provide much more functionality than using the built in Notes app to make project lists. There are other inexpensive task management apps available on the Apple App Store that can do a better job than Sorted.
Task Pro ($1.99)
If you're looking for a bargain, then Task Pro is a great app to try. It's just $2, so it's less than most of the other task apps in this article, but it still packs a lot of features. You'll find everything from tags and due dates to a fully functional search feature and the ability to filter and sort your lists by due date, priority, and starred items. You can email lists if you want to share them with others, and Toodledo sync is supported. If you just want to do the data entry on your laptop and your iPad is connected to the same Wi-Fi network, Task Pro will do that too.
Task Pro may not be as slick and polished as some of the other apps, but it does a great job, has all of the important features, and has a clean interface. I was pleasantly surprised when I first bought it a while ago and it has been able to handle everything I've thrown at it so far. TaskPro is inexpensive (not cheap!) and gets my top recommendation for the best budget app of the bunch.
The Taska iPad app is elegantly designed, with a desktop binder-like tabbed interface that allows you to quickly switch between the standard task list and your context and tag views. It follows the GTD methodology, so you'll find an Inbox, projects, next actions, and a Someday list. You can also create your own lists, so if you like to keep a separate shopping list you can. I also created a Waiting For list, as I like to keep those items separate from my main task list.
You can have subtasks if you like, and the search and filter functions work very well. Taska is flexible enough to be customized for your own style of working, and it also syncs with Toodledo. Some of the onscreen elements are a little small, such as the tag indicator and the number of subtasks below each item, but I'll freely admit to having bad eyesight. In all other respects, Taska is a capable task management app that is worth a closer look.
The TaskPaper app is a hybrid task manager and list app, combined with the @tagging feature of Crosscheck and the philosophy of Outliner. When you first launch the app you are presented with a short tutorial document, and you'd be best advised to read it. There are very few onscreen controls, and the app takes some getting used to. Unlike most of the other apps in this review, you really do need some help getting started with TaskPaper.
TaskPaper has the potential to be rather powerful but it requires a commitment to learn -- or perhaps the mind of a programmer. I knew I was in trouble when I saw the Query Language tutorial included with the app, and I never did figure out how to add due dates to my tasks. There are plenty of other less expensive, more user-friendly options available in the app store.
ToDo is very similar to Taska and Pocket Informant in that it uses a binder-style interface. In landscape mode you will see the all tasks, focus, starred, and inbox views at the top left side of the screen, with user-defined categories on the bottom right. The page on the right shows your tasks, with special icons and task counts for items that have subtasks.
You can manually edit the sort order if you like and use the icons at the top right of the screen to either add a new task or use a special "lightning add" feature for faster text entry when you're trying to clear your head of all the things to do rattling around in your brain. Like Taska, you can sync with Toodledo and assign contexts to your tasks. ToDo is slightly prettier because you can apply colored themes and paper types, and the onscreen icons and indicators are a little larger than Taska. In all other respects the apps are very similar to each other and since they're the same price, it becomes a matter of personal taste more than features.
ToDo Map HD ($4.99)
ToDo Map HD is another app for the visual thinkers among us -- and it's really cool. Instead of defining due dates and contexts and tags, you just enter your tasks, assign a category and priority and let the app do the rest. Instead of a list of things to do, you get a blocked-out visual view of things to do based on their relative importance. The more important something is, the more space it takes up on the screen, so you can see at a glance what needs to be done right now.
Obviously this approach won't work for everyone but it can be a useful tool for the easily distracted. You can set up multiple maps if you want to separate home and work tasks, or if you need to plan a particular project in greater detail. There are a maximum of ten categories available, each with a unique color code, and there are several different skins from which to choose. You'll have to decide if your situation and your personality are right for ToDo Map HD but I can say that, if they are, ToDo Map works exactly as advertised.
Toodledo is similar to several of the others in that it includes a variety of views from All Tasks, Hotlist (automatically populated based on priority and due date), and Starred plus filters by folder, due date, and priority. Tap the Add Task button at the top of the screen to bring up the new task box where you type in the task and then add further details if necessary. You can add a note to each task, which is great for short lists such as items to pick up the next time you're at the grocery store.
Of course with a name like Toodledo it has to sync with that popular online service, which is great if you want to access your task information from a computer in addition to your iPad. If you have a Toodledo Pro account, you'll be able to use subtasks in the iPad app. The Toodledo app also includes a Notebook portion where you can keep more extensive notes on your projects; the same folders carry over from the task portion of the app for more seamless integration and organization.
Toodledo doesn't have some of the fancy features of other task management apps, but it is a strong contender due to the power of Toodledo online and the effortless synchronization feature. If you already use Toodledo (especially if you already have a Pro account) the choice is a no-brainer. Otherwise Toodledo may be a good option if you want seamless synchronization and need to be able to access all of your tasks and other information online.
more than 100 focused websites providing quick access to a deep store of
news, advice and analysis about the technologies, products and processes crucial
to the jobs of IT pros.
All Rights Reserved, Copyright 2000 - 2013, TechTarget | Read our Privacy Statement