Best Todo For Mac

  
  • The best todo managers for Mac OS and iOS. Task managers are must have apps for organizing your work. They allow you to create lists of tasks, combine them into projects, plan tasks and make schedules. With todo managers you don't have to keep every single task in your mind or write it down in your diary. Review participants.
  • Designed for Mac, works everywhere When outside of your home or office, check on your tasks and events on mobile, tablets, smart watches and even virtual assistants. Aimed at pushing your productivity to the max, all devices are in real-time sync so you can meet your goals.
  • May 20, 2020.
  • Jan 23, 2020.

Microsoft OneNote. As far as functionality is concerned, I put “Microsoft OneNote” right on top with.

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With life’s busy schedules and numerous distractions, staying on top of tasks can pose a challenge — that’s why every single productivity guide recommends you to keep track of everything in your mind with a to do list to achieve your goals.

While, historically, to do lists were handled by pen and paper, with the rise of mobile technology and modern software, it’s far more efficient to use a specialized to do list app to stay on top of your tasks.

That said, the beauty of pen and paper lies in the ability to format, write, and manage however you see fit, whereas apps force you into their predefined frameworks. And exactly because to do lists can be so personal, it’s worth exploring the differences between them before picking one for good.

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Why Should I Use A To Do List?

From tasks at work to chores at home, to catching up with friends and family, and everything in between, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with things to do. The trouble is finding the time to do them, prioritizing them accordingly, then actually remembering to carry them out. That’s where even simple to do lists can be a powerful productivity tool, freeing up your time and mental space to focus on what you do best.

However, there are now so many different to do list on Mac options in the marketplace that getting around to selecting one is a chore in itself. That’s why this guide just saves you some time by picking some of the best ones for you to consider.

What are some tips for using to do lists?

There’s an art to using to do lists effectively, no matter the technology. You don’t need to be a project manager or have high attention to details to make a Mac task manager work for you. Simply follow a few of the most important tips:

  • Understand what should be on the to do list versus what should be a daily habit or calendar item. Brushing your teeth probably shouldn’t be on the to do list, as it would ideally be baked into your daily routine. Whereas your friend’s birthday should probably be put in your calendar. However, you might write “purchase gift for friend’s birthday” as a to do item.

  • Try to keep a manageable level of to do items at any time. Having a list of 300 probably won’t do much for your productivity, as it becomes difficult to quickly ascertain the correct priority and order. Make sure your to do list stays below 15 items to not get overwhelmed.

  • Focus on completing one item at a time. Multi-tasking is never as productive of a method of executing a task as you might think. So when it’s time to action your to do list, focus your energy on the task at hand.

With these tips in hand, you’re ready to get out and find the technology that works best for you.

What should a good to do list app for Mac do?

When it comes to selecting a to do list on Mac, there are a few aspects to consider. Some of the apps aim for total simplicity, whereas others come packed with useful features for more advanced users. Here are a few things to look for in your next to do list app:

  • Simplicity is most important. Adding new tasks and organizing them should be done in just a few clicks or taps.

  • The ability to categorize your to do list in such a way that it’s easy to find similar tasks. This might be done by grouping, tags, due dates, and more.

  • A notification system for reminding you of upcoming or late tasks. These hold you accountable and are something pen and paper can’t beat.

  • Syncing of your data across devices and operating systems can be useful for those who like to work on the go

  • At a more personal level, your to do list should look and feel easy to use, as friction points in the user experience might prevent you from making the most of it

Now that you know what a good to do list should be, let’s take a deeper dive into some of the best to do list apps for Mac on the market.

Comparing the best to do list apps for Mac

Honestly, there are too many to do list apps out in the world to count. To make your decision easier, many of those have been evaluated and narrowed down to just five — each with its own pros and cons that could sway your decision depending on your preferences.

As a Mac user, you’ve probably heard of Apple Reminders, which comes pre-installed in iPhones, iPads, and, of course, Macs. One of the main pros of using Apple Reminders is the fact that it’s ready to go — no additional tinkering required. It also has the benefit of looking and feeling like the rest of your Apple software, including Siri support, so it’s a familiar experience. Reminders works well with other Apple users by allowing you to share tasks in iCloud, but, unfortunately, you can’t assign tasks to people outside of that ecosystem, or to multiple people.

Key Features:

  • Smart location-based reminders which prompt depending on where you are

  • Task list sharing through iCloud

  • Simple, Apple-based interface that includes a quick calendar view

Best Todo App For Macbook

If you’re looking for the best task manager for Mac with more features, then you can’t pass Omnifocus. Made exclusively for Apple devices, Omnifocus takes everything one step further by allowing lists to be grouped into different projects, depending on the type of activity you’re doing, making it useful for work. Everything syncs, but only between Apple devices, of course. All in all, Omnifocus is definitely a strong candidate for any power user.

Key features:

  • Full-featured software designed exclusively for Apple

  • Multiple project types for any given workflow

  • Six handy views right out-of-the-box, including calendar, due date, projects, tags, and more

Another to do list on Mac that comes with a strong set of features is Wunderlist. Unlike Apple Reminders and Omnifocus, it can be used across all devices and operating systems, including Windows. While the app features a clean interface, it does have some complexity to it, so overall Wunderlist targets users who would like to collaborate on tasks together.

Key features:

  • Task reminders with notifications

  • Multiple assignees and collaborators on projects and tasks

  • Add hashtags to any descriptions to help search and organize task lists

If you care about speed and efficiency, you need 2Do — a perfect to do list app for people on the go. The quick-add feature makes creating new tasks a breeze, and you can even break your agenda up into a checklist format for subtasks.

A better version of Reminders

Get a top-notch app for busy folks. 2Do will help you organize any number of tasks into smart lists and break big jobs into subtasks.

While 2Do isn’t as full-featured as some of the alternatives, its upside is simplicity — essential for those who just need to get things done.

Key features:

  • Quick-add feature for maximum efficiency

  • Extra context for tasks via the tagging system

  • Smart lists let you view critical information at a glance, including due date, tags, and reminders — nothing more than what you need

One more of the best to do list apps is GoodTask. The beauty of GoodTask is its native ability to integrate with Apple Reminders and Apple Calendar, while adding some extra functionality on top to help you become more productive. The downsides are few and far between: for example, it doesn't have the extended functionality of something like Omnifocus.

Key features:

  • Automatic sync with your iCloud or Outlook calendar

  • Reminders (and repeat reminders) to help you stay on top of tasks

  • Smart sorting to organize your list by alphabet, due date, time created, or manually

With one of the best to do list on Mac options in hand, you’re ready to go out and become more productive than ever. Just remember to consider the difference between a task and a habit, keep your task list below 15, and pick an app that suits your preferences.

While you’re at it, give Be Focused a try. Be Focused is another task manager for Mac with a welcome twist — alongside the standard features, such as multi-device support and task list organization, Be Focused lets you set timers for each task. Now you can get to work knowing that you’re on track by the minute. Want to look further ahead? You can even breakdown your annual, quarterly, and monthly tasks into groups for a wider view of your life’s goals.

Best of all, 2Do, GoodTask, and Be Focused are available to you on a free 7-day trial via Setapp, a subscription service for Mac that grants you access to more than 150 indispensable apps across all categories imaginable. Now that’s a definite boost for your productivity!

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Our goal at The Sweet Setup is to help you find the best apps for your Mac, iPad, and iPhone. We review, research, test, try, and then recommend only the best apps so you can find what you’re looking for. One aspect of our process is continually looking at our existing reviews to make sure our “pick” remains the best. We watch updates and explore new apps in order to update reviews, or pick a new winner (when necessary).

The simple list category is a focused one. We aren’t looking for a GTD app (we have that) or something focused on shared lists for shopping (we have that). This is for simple lists.

For years, our favorite app in this category was Clear, but it appears to have been abandoned. The developer’s website for it wont even load.

Even though the app still works, it’s just a matter of time until an iOS update causes it to crash on launch. The iOS platform isn’t one that stands still, and, as such, apps require consistent updates to maintain compatibility and maintain syncing protocols.

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Custom Productivity Templates

We have a set of custom productivity templates that work well with the iPad app, GoodNotes. And if you want to try them out, we’ve put together a free guide that can help you.

We’ll show you…

  • How to create and save custom page templates in GoodNotes.
  • How to use those page templates to transform GoodNotes into your own productivity notebook (or any other type of notebook replacement).

Plus, we also have included a couple of our custom productivity templates for you to get started with. These templates are right out of our popular productivity course.

The custom templates and the guide are available for FREE to our email subscriber community. And you can get it right now. By joining the Sweet Setup community you’ll also get access to our other guides, early previews to big new reviews and workflow articles we are working on, weekly roundups of our best content, and more.

Criteria

Here is the criteria that we use for determining which app is the best simple list app:

Design

Does it have a design that fits for this style of app? It shouldn’t be so over the top that it looks like iOS 6, but it should show some personality. It should be minimal, but also show a little flare.

Ease of use

This category, as much as any, should be dead simple to use. This isn’t the type of app to fiddle with, and it shouldn’t need a huge tutorial to learn to use.

Price/In-app Purchases

One problem with this type of app is that if you only use it for a few items, you probably don’t want to pay a subscription fee. Is it a pay upfront model, or do you have to use an in-app purchase to unlock additional features?

Speed of task entry

Best Todo For Mac

How easy is it to add new items? How easy is it to mark items as finished? Can you reuse lists (like a packing list) later? Does it offer a share sheet option to add via other apps?

Alerts

Does it offer the ability to set alerts for date/time or location? While this might not always be necessary, it might come in handy for certain things.

Multi-platform with sync

Does it offer the ability to access your lists on iOS, Mac, and Apple Watch?

Sharing

While sharing isn’t a requirement here, it’s something we consider. Wunderlist is the best shared list app, but there is also room for a simple list app to offer this feature.

The Winner

Apple Reminders

One of the biggest trends for me personally over the past year is how I am relying on more of the stock apps in iOS. I’ve migrated back to Apple Notes, Apple Calendar, Apple News, and Apple Maps. Apple Reminders is another new entrant into my life. Since it’s built into iOS, it’s a free app. It is also native on iOS, macOS, and the web, which means you can access it anywhere and it stays in sync via iCloud.

Reminders on iOS


Reminders in iCloud.com

App Design

From a design perspective, it’s really well done. The initial layout makes it easy to see all of your lists and select the one you need. While the vertical tab interface falls apart if you have more than 10 lists or so, it’s perfect for keeping track of a few lists.

Ease of Use

It’s also one of the easiest apps to use that I tested. Apple relies on the + icon to signify adding lists and items. While adding items, pressing the return key always sends the cursor to the next line. This is helpful for bulk entering items. Marking off items is as simple as tapping the circle to the left of the item name. This will send the items to the Completed section where you can easily unmark them (for list reuse).

Alerts

Another aspect where Reminders shines is the alert functionality. Alerts can be triggered by time (at 6:00 PM on Thursday, for example) or location (such as, when I’m at the hardware store). I don’t use location/time notifications often with Reminders, but it’s helpful for simple tasks that I want to be reminded about that I don’t want to relegate to OmniFocus (taking out trash, etc). You can easily input a reminder to call Josh when you arrive home (or any other address/location). Thanks to GPS technology, Reminders will prompt you with an alert when you arrive home.

Siri Integration

The native integration to Siri, for me, is a game changer with reminders. For better or worse, Siri integration has come to third-party apps in a limited fashion. Apple’s SiriKit supports things like payments, HomeKit, messaging, and VoIP calling using third-party apps. Adding items to a list isn’t so simple unless you are using Apple Reminders. While some apps access your Reminders database to “funnel” in things from Reminders, this is a bit of a workaround.

With Reminders, you can say things like, “Add milk to grocery list”, “Remind me to take out the trash when I get home”, or “Remind me to call Stephen at 6:00 PM.” You can also do this with your Apple Watch.

While I am hopeful Apple will allow list apps to hook into Siri in the future, Reminders is the only current app that has access.

List Sharing

Sharing is also extremely simple in Reminders because it’s handled via iCloud. If you have a Family Sharing account, a central list between your family members is created automatically. You can also share a list with any iCloud account as well by simply typing in their iCloud account on the share sheet. In my experience, it’s very reliable.

iOS Share Sheet

Another area where Reminders is super helpful is with the share sheet menu. Let’s say that you keep a list of books you want to read on a Reminders list. If you are on Amazon, you can easily add that book to your list without ever launching Reminders. Just tap the Share icon, tap Reminders, and choose your list. Reminders will also capture the URL from Amazon so it will be easy to access in the future when you’re ready to purchase the book.

Reminders has come a long way in recent years. It started as an app I rarely used, but over time it has received a lot of attention with subsequent iOS updates. It’s easy to add items, easy to mark them off, and it supports multiple lists. Since it’s built into iOS, it’s already on your devices. I highly recommend it as the best simple list app.

Other Apps We Considered

Any.Do

Any.Do is a free app with a subscription for unlimited collaboration, recurring items, location-based reminders, and themes. It’s a nice looking app, but it would be more akin to something like Wunderlist than a simple list app.

I did find some of the UI to be a little tricky to use. One example is that it took me way too long to figure out how to mark an item as complete (swipe from left to right). The subscription will vary from $5/month to $45/year depending on how many devices you need. Overall, the app is fine, but it can be confusing and is totally overkill for this category.

Any.Do can be accessed via iOS,Mac and the web.

Carrot To-Do

Like all of the Carrot apps, To-Do has “personality.” You please the robot by marking things are complete. As you mark things complete, you unlock features. As fun as this sounds, it’s not a game. There are useful features that you have to level up for (recurring list, rearranging items, etc). If it was a free app with a pro upgrade (or play to unlock), I would be fine with that. It’s a $3 app that makes me mark off items to get features that should be included. There is no access via iPad, Mac, or the web either. There are in-app purchase options, but I couldn’t really tell if they were useful or just for fun.

With all that being said, it would be the winner if it offered one thing: multiple lists. The interface is simple. It’s incredibly easy to add tasks (just pull down like in Clear), but it’s slightly annoying, doesn’t offer sync to iPad, and doesn’t offer multiple lists.

Carrot To-Do is $2.99 on the App Store.

Do!

Do! is another simple list app I tried. It’s free to download, and there is a $1.99 in-app purchase to remove ads. The design is quite nice (especially without ads) as well. It looks a bit like a sheet of paper, but at the same time isn’t overly skeuomorphic. It contains various sorting options, an Apple Watch app, and multiple themes. Overall, it’s a solid option. There is no sync to other platforms, but that isn’t a total deal breaker for me. Like Carrot To-Do, the big limitation is the lack of multiple lists.

Do! is free on the App Store.

MinimaList

MinimaList is another app that comes so close to being perfect, but fails on the lack of multiple lists. It’s extremely easy to use, and the design is minimal. It has the pull-to-add task mechanism that Clear pioneered, but without multiple list support, I can’t recommend it.

MinimaList can be downloaded for free on the App Store.

Remember the Milk

Remember the Milk isn’t a list app so much as it is a productivity manager. It’s way more than I probably need in a simple list app, but I gave it a shot anyways. It does support multiple lists, but I find it overkill for the goal in this review. Remember the Milk is more akin to OmniFocus or Todoist than a Clear replacement for me.

Remember the Milk is a free app in the App Store, and there is a $40/year Pro upgrade option. It works on iOS, Mac, and the web.

Todoist

Todoist is an extremely popular app. Our friends at MacStories have covered it well over the years. Like Remember the Milk, it’s an OmniFocus alternative as much as it is a list app. Unlike Remember the Milk, it can function as a simple list manager app. You can make “projects” your list area, and you can have multiple lists/projects at once. It’s easy to add items and mark as complete later. The design is minimal enough to “feel” simple, but it still has its own unique look.While I can’t pick it as the best simple list app, I can say it strikes a nice middle ground as the “I want a task/GTD system, but OmniFocus feels overwhelming” type app. I highly recommend this episode of Canvas for a primer on Todoist.

Todoist works across all of your devices (web, iOS, Apple Watch, and Mac) and, it’s free to use. If you want some additional advanced features, there is a Pro upgrade for $28.99 per year.

Todoist can be downloaded for free on the App Store.

Wait. There’s a Bonus….

Custom Productivity Templates

We have a set of custom productivity templates that work well with the iPad app, GoodNotes. And if you want to try them out, we’ve put together a free guide that can help you.

We’ll show you…

  • How to create and save custom page templates in GoodNotes.
  • How to use those page templates to transform GoodNotes into your own productivity notebook (or any other type of notebook replacement).

Best Todo List Software For Mac

Plus, we also have included a couple of our custom productivity templates for you to get started with. These templates are right out of our popular productivity course.

The custom templates and the guide are available for FREE to our email subscriber community. And you can get it right now. By joining the Sweet Setup community you’ll also get access to our other guides, early previews to big new reviews and workflow articles we are working on, weekly roundups of our best content, and more.

Best Todo Software For Mac

Wrap Up

Best Todo Program For Mac

It seems like Reminders has taken the market for this category. While Clear was a great app, Reminders is good enough to solve this problem for most people. While I miss the whimsical interactions with Clear, Reminders is solving this need for me now. With native Siri integration, deep access to iOS, easy syncing to all of your devices, and the ability to have multiple lists, Apple Reminders is my pick for the best simple list app on iOS.