Best iPad To-Do List Manager Apps

by Reads (145,784)

Your New Year’s resolutions. Today’s chores. The grocery list. Family party plans. Things to bring to work or to pack. What to ask when you bring the car in or see your doctor…Given all the “to-dos” we need to keep track of, one compelling practical use for your iPad (or any other tablet) is as a to-do list maker and manager, also sometimes known as a task management app.

Of course, You could simply use a plain old document — a “flat file” — for making lists. But as long as you’re going digital, there’s a lot to be said for using an app, chock full of features to make being organized easier and better.

To-Do ListLots of these are available for your iPad, priced anywhere from free to around $40.

Many — but not all — of these task managers support/use David Allen’s GTD — “Getting Things Done” — time management method.

Also, look for to-do apps that can be synced from your iPad to your smartphone and perhaps also to your desktop. The iPad’s bigger screen and easier keyboarding makes it good for creating lists, but you might not always have your iPad with you — e.g., at the store.

Other features you might (or might not) find in an app include the ability to archive “done” items, to repeat items once a week, to input notes via voice dictation, and to pin to-do items on a map, to give just a few examples.

Some apps are easy to use, whereas others are not. Pricing ranges all the way from free to around $40.

Here’s an updated look at eight of the best apps in this category: Remember the Milk, Clear+, OmniFocus, PocketInformant Pro, Toodledo, TaskPaper, Task PRO, and Wunderlist.

Remember the Milk
Requires iOS 5.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Optimized for iPad.

Remember the MilkRemember The Milk (a.k.a. RTM) lets you enter and view tasks tagged/categorized by date, category, priority, and more. Like many other task managers, RTM isn’t just local; the copy on your iPad can sync with RTM apps on your iPhone or iPod Touch. It can also sync (up to once every 24 hours) with the online Remember The Milk service, and, optionally, to other web apps.

Adding tasks in RTM is pleasantly quick. RTM also has one good feature I haven’t seen in other apps I’ve reviewed for this round-up: a simple way to specify how much (estimated) time a task will take.

RTM also supports “repeat” tasks, although the options are somewhat limited.

And you don’t have to crank up RTM to be reminded; the service can send you text messages, IMs, or email reminders.

All of this is included in the free version. What’s more, for $24.99, the Pro edition will let you auto-sync with RTM Online all you want, among other things. Are these additional features worth $25 a year? Up to you. That’s only two bucks a month… yet small, recurring charges like this add up over time.

You’ll need to spend a little time getting the hang of Remember the Milk. But since the basic version is free, there’s little down side other than perhaps half an hour of your time.

Clear+ by RealMacSoftware
Requires iOS 7 or later.  Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Optimized for iPad.

Clear+ is a simple to use, categorized list management app — basically a smart, cloud-enableable piece of paper (in a good way). The app lets you create lists of items, add/”done”/delete items or entire lists, sync lists (via iCloud) among iOS and Mac devices, and easily email a list to somebody.
Clear+ starts with a brief interactive demo/tutorial on how to add items. Adding, “Done”ing or deleting a task is an easy single-swipe.

Clear+ could use a few additional basic features, such as the ability to archive lists of Done and Deleted items, and the option of an on-screen command-swipe summary.

On the other hand, Clear+ is blissfully not kitchen-sink-over-featured. It does one thing — create, display, manage lists and list items — and as its name implies, it does this clearly. Granted, much of this could be done with a piece of paper and a pencil, but then you couldn’t sync or email a list!

The help info is readily accessible.

By today’s free/budget app prices, $4.99 may seem like a lot to pay for an app — but if it helps you to keep track of things, the price is worth it.

OmniFocus for iPad by The Omni Group
For iPad; requires iOS 6.1 or greater. Optimized for iPad.

OmniFocus for iPadOmniFocus for iPad is more sophisticated than some of the other task management apps in this roundup.

This app has many good features. For example, you can assign start/due dates to items, and you can repeat by hour, day, week, or month. You can view and sort by “contexts,” e.g. location, people, etc.

You can also view current day, or “forecast,” in addition to a seven-day summary. You can append photo and audio (spoken) attachments to an Action’s Notes. Other features include a location-awareness capability that can spawn maps showing nearby tasks.

OmniFocus is also available for iPhone and Mac, and you can cloud-sync to these.

Yet some things can be heard to learn, remember and do. For example, “turning an Inbox item into a Project” sounds useful, but it’s a four-step process. “Tap the item in the Inbox, then tap the Info tab. After that, tap the Move button followed by Convert to Project in the popover.”

OmniFocus is packing a lot of capability. The question is, is this app more than you need for basic to-do task lists… and for bigger projects, are you better off with some project management tool, rather than stretching the limits of a task manager?

For forty bucks, you’d want to be pretty certain, since there’s no free trial, and no guarantee of App Store refunds. But depending on how many items you’d like to track — and if you want features like geo-view — OmniFocus for iPad might be up your alley.

PocketInformant Pro by Web Information Solutions
Requires iOS 6.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Optimized for iPad.

PocketInformant Pro lets you create, view and manage Events and Tasks, along with details.

The app is easy to get started with. The initial splash screen tells you how to begin — by swiping left — and the app then walks you through a quick tutorial. (Pay careful attention here, since this PocketInformant Pro wants to access to data from several of your other apps.)

You can input notes by typing or dictation (although for speech recognition, PocketInformant Pro needs a 3rd-generation or later iPad, or iPhone 4S or later, or 5th-generation or later iPod Touch.) You can view and manage tasks in your choice of Standard, Simple Tasks, or Franklin Covey mode (and you can change task modes ad hoc).

PocketInformant Pro can access, and sync with, various iPad apps and services, including Calendar App Events, Reminders, Google Calendar, Google Tasks, Toodledo, and Evernote. (You need to explicitly enable this access within PocketInformant Pro, however.)

The app offers good “views” – today/tomorrow, calendar, and tasks. It’s moderately smart; for example, typing/searching a location, e.g. “Buffalo NY airport,”  can spawn a pinned map.

And PocketInformant can sync with a variety of services including Google Calendar, Google Tasks, ToodleDo, Evernote, Pocket Informant Online, and iCloud Reminders. (Setting this up is buried cryptically deep in the menus: SETTINGS/ACCOUNTS/ADDS SYNC SERVICES.)

You certainly get your thirteen dollars worth — if you want task/calendar management with features like mapping, dictation, attachments, and lots of syncing.

Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Optimized for iPad.

ToodledoToodledo provides lots of options and choices for tasks: priorities, dates, folders start/due date, time, length/status of tasks, repeat choices, and alarms. Other cool features include audible popup alarms, project start/stop timers, and map proximity alerts.

But getting up to speed on Toodledo might take you some time. For instance, how do you edit a given field for a given task? (Answer: Tap on it. But this might become obvious only after you’ve tried everything else!)

TaskPaper by Renegade Apps
Requires iOS 4.3 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. 

Inspired by TaskPaper for OS X, the iOS version lets you create, manage, search and view items and lists of items. Lists can have project, task and note items, and any item can be tagged.

Simple swiping marks/unmarks an item as done. Unlike some other task managers, TaskPaper hangs onto DONE items, tagging them @DONE. (But it doesn’t hang onto DELETED tasks.) TaskPaper can link with your Dropbox account for syncing TaskPaper lists. Other features include search and filtering.

What TaskPaper doesn’t have is any calendaring/date beyond @today, as far as I can tell. I’m also finding item entry cumbersome, and it’s hard to sort out the differences between item types.

Confusingly, TaskPaper uses two term sets: Folder and File, and List and Item. Some serious usability testing by the company might help. There’s a fair amount of power in the app, if you figure out how to take advantage of it.

If TaskPaper is a match for how you want to manage task lists, the price is fair, but you mght want something with more calendar capabilities and a different approach to task lists and items.

Unlike the other items on the round-up, there’s no iPad-optimized version of this app, so tablet users will have to rely on a stretched version of the iPhone one.

Task PRO by AlifSoft
Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Optimized for iPad.

Task PROTask PRO manages task, project and to-do lists. Sub-tasking lets you do more complex lists, if you want.

Sort/view options include due today, overdue, favorites, categories, etc., along with date, priority or alphabetized.

Other features include iCloud sync; bookmarking tasks for quick access from the home screen; and sharing (email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

Wunderlist by 6 Wunderkinder
Free/$49.99 per year
Requires iOS 5.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Optimized for iPad.

Wunderlist is exceptionally easy to use. The main page is all about “Add an item” to the current list — by default or through the inbox, with options of predefined and add-yours categories like Shopping, Private, and Work. Many of the features you’re looking for are right there, one tap away.

Tapping on an item brings up an edit bar for due date, whether to repeat, reminders, sub-tasks, notes, and attached file(s). Tapping on the checkbox at the left of an item marks/unmarks it as completed. You can view lists sorted alphabetically, by due date, or by assignee.

Wunderlist offers notifications by push, email and in-app for “important events.” It is also “mildly social.” You can share lists with email addresses or contacts, at which point that person can also create/remove/check-off list items. The iTunes listing says Wunderlist syncs across your devices. Since you start by creating an account — or by using your Facebook account — they’re presumably doing this via the web.

The Pro version lets you — and invited teammates — add comments, and multimedia attachments.

If you simply want lists, with only a modest amount of bells and whistles, Wunderlist is a good, simple — and free — way to go.



All content posted on TechnologyGuide is granted to TechnologyGuide with electronic publishing rights in perpetuity, as all content posted on this site becomes a part of the community.

  1. selmonolive

    replicon is one of the tool that I have used with rigorous dedication and practically has got myself organized in order to process the things in the right perspective to end up with the result which specifies the end result. Can we have that as well listed in the list here?

  2. zcocorporation

    Diplomat To Do is another great organizational app, created by for Ambassador Dino Patti Djalal. It’s not just for diplomats though as it’s easy enough to use for anyone’s day to day planning and it’s robust enough for planning events. It has a lot of customization features to keep the app organized how you want it. You can see a how-to video about it here…

  3. lottieherbert

    Great article! These different apps seem very convenient.

    I’ve been using Beesy app to organise my to do lists. You can organise your actions directly from your notes, and manage at the same time your projects, actions, contacts, and link your calendar event to your notes and so on… I would recommend it to professionals mainly, I’ve managed not to waste any time at work thanks to this app primarily because Beesy generate a professional meeting minute in one click. As you said this supports GTD time management method especially since they’ve integrated Livescribe 3 SmartPen that you can use with digital sticky notes.