Let's be honest, if you're using an app to help you get things done, it's probably because you're pretty busy and are trying to get better organized. That means you're looking for something easy-to-use to create and manage the tasks you tackle every day. The good news if you're using an iPhone is there is no shortage of candidates, though all of these options (except Reminders) are available on Android as well.

Here are the seven best to-do apps for iOS:

1. Microsoft To Do

A few years ago, Microsoft bought Wunderlist, and productivity-app aficianados lamented the long, drawn-out death of their favorite to-do list. The idea was that Microsoft planned to build features from Wunderlist into its own offering, but most users gave up hope. It's been a long time coming, but Microsoft released a new version of To Do this month, and it's really good.

It's actually strange to recommend a Microsoft app as the best anything on an iPhone, but the interface is clean and simple, and it allows users to create tasks and organize them using the "Plan My Day" feature. Like Wunderlist, it also includes plenty of organizational tools, and you can customize your backgrounds (which is more than cosmetic, it actually makes it easier to navigate). Finally, if you were using Wunderlist, To Do will import all your old lists, to-dos, and projects.

2. Things 3

Things is one of the premium productivity apps on this list. That's largely because it's quite a bit more expensive than other options, and requires separate purchases for Mac, iPad, or iPhone. That said, it does offer some of the most powerful organizational tools and integrates with a bunch of third-party tools (like Spark email).

Plus it supports dark mode on the iPhone and will let you sync tasks with the native iOS Reminders app, which is great for making sure you don't forget those high-priority tasks. Or you can import that app's entire list of tasks into Things instead. Things 3 is $9.99 on the iPhone. The Mac version will set you back $49.99. 

3. Todoist

Todoist is another premium option, but it's also one of the most popular. It's not hard to see why, especially if you share and manage tasks across teams. Todoist makes it easy to set up projects and tasks for both individuals and groups, and allows you to organize tasks in lists or by adding labels. The interface is similar to Things or Microsoft To Do, with lists on the left side, and tasks front and center.

The paid-version of Todoist includes a commenting feature, which can be really helpful for shared tasks. Also, instead of a one-time fee, Todoist is an annual subscription of $30. Then again, that price is probably worth it if you need a powerful task management tool to keep your team organized.

4. Evernote 

Of course, Evernote is much more than a to-do app. In fact, you probably know it as a place to organize notes, photos, sketches, and voice recordings. All of those are great, but did you know you can also create lists and assign due dates to tasks? That makes it a powerful tool for managing your tasks right alongside all of the information you work with every day. Evernote offers several paid plans, but the free version is all you need if you just need a solid tool for managing tasks and notes. 

5. Google Tasks

Google Tasks is about as minimalist as it gets. You can create lists, add tasks with descriptions, and even add subtasks and due dates. It doesn't support tags or the more advanced organization you might find in Things or Todoist, but if what you need is something to keep track of basic lists, it's worth a look. And if you use Gmail, there's the added benefit of viewing your tasks from your inbox as well.

6. Any.do

Any.do is pretty straightforward in that it focuses your attention on the tasks in front of you. The main interface is organized based on when tasks are due, though you can assign them to various lists as well. That makes it really good at evaluating what requires your attention today, and what can wait until later. There's a free version, but features like location-based reminders and customized recurring tasks require a subscription ($32 per year, or $4 per month).

7. Reminders

While I think all of these apps are great, for personal tasks, or recurring events, I absolutely love reminders. Of course, that's mostly because of Siri and the ability to add reminders based on your location or a time simply by talking with Siri on your Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, or Mac. I've gone so far as to say that I think Reminders plus Siri equals the best app on your iPhone. Period. I guess you could say I saved the best for last.

Correction: An earlier version of this column misstated the availability of a commenting feature in Todoist. There is a commenting feature in Todoist's paid subscription version.

Published on: Sep 26, 2019
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