Over the past five weeks, I used five different free iOS to-do list apps, each one for a week at a time, and below are my honest reviews!

ToDoist: To-Do Lists & Tasks

My Rating

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Developed by Doist Inc.

View in Apple App Store

View in Google Play Store

Website

Cost for Premium

$3.99 monthly or $35.99 annually

My Thoughts

This is a really well put together app and I can tell the developer either has a lot of project managers working there, or has a really good source for common project management pain points. That said, I think this app is a little too feature-dense to be used for just day-to-day tasks. It may be better suited to team use or complex projects. It has a lot of customization available, but it’s not great for diving in and getting going; I felt really overwhelmed to make it perfect, rather than to just get my list started. Instead of one task list, you create different “projects”, though you could choose to have just one project and call it your daily to-do list. Overall, three stars because I don’t think it’s really built for simplicity and ease of use, but I do award it points for trying to accommodate a lot of different functionality.

What I Liked
  • On upcoming tasks, the due dates show in different colors and it’s visually appealing
  • You can set a task to remind you on a date and time, or by location
  • It comes with a sample project so you have some examples built in
  • You can put different sections in each project and organize for example by “In Home Chores” and “Errands” and “Work”
  • You can customize to start the week on any day
  • It’s searchable!
What I Didn’t Like
  • In a project, items don’t auto-sort by due date – though you can change it in settings
  • You can have parent and child tasks, but they can be due on different days which I find confusing – I feel if the child tasks are spread out, the parent should show as a date range
  • There’s a “Today” screen that shows what’s due today, but child tasks don’t appear under the parent – they show as a single task with no indication of parent, so if you forget what it falls under you may get confused
  • You can set recurring tasks but I did not find it user-friendly; I had to really play around to get there

Do! – Simple To Do List

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Developed by Simplerion

View in Apple App Store

View in Google Play Store

Website

Cost for Premium

$5.99 for life (removes ads, no other upgraded features)

My Thoughts

From the outset, I appreciated the pure simplicity of this app and I felt there was a low barrier to entry. It is simply a running to-do list, and really felt like I was just jotting down reminders on a notepad – so there was a sense of familiarity already in getting started. There is some customization (though I found a few bugs where I customized a setting and it didn’t take), but I didn’t think I needed to do it for the list to be effective. Plus, the iOS version can be up as a widget on your home screen so your list is always visible. I didn’t feel like this was the right app for me because I like to plan the whole week out, and this app keeps everything in one list every day. So, if you like to make a running list that carries over, this is a perfect fit! If you prefer to schedule things for certain days, maybe not for you.

What I Liked
  • When you mark a task complete it makes a little noise like you’re crossing something off and it’s very satisfying.
  • It was just simple to pick up and start using, I didn’t really need a tutorial or extended time to play with the features
  • You can pin tasks to the top of the list, so if you have very important tasks they are easy to find
  • You can create different lists (or groups) to organize alike tasks
  • Making this into a widget was great for my ADHD brain because it meant seeing my tasks every time I checked my phone, so I had a constant reminder
  • Recurring tasks automatically go to the top of the list
What I Didn’t Like
  • It’s buggy – I tried to set the date to show as MM/DD but it stayed in DD/MM format which, as an American, had me reeling
  • Everything shows on one screen – you can’t move between days and weeks so if you want to plan for future happenings, the list could get very unwieldy
  • You can create a task and make it recurring, but you can’t set an alarm/notification on that same screen – you have to create the task, set the alarm/notification, then make it recurring, which I feel is a bad experience
  • I set notifications for certain days and times of day and they didn’t work so again, it’s very buggy

MinimaList – To Do List Tasks

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Developed by Davetech Co., Ltd.

View in Apple App Store

View in Google Play Store

Cost

There were multiple conflicting purchase options at time of publish, so it costs anywhere from $1.49 monthly to $5.99 for life. The paid version unlocks several premium features.

My Thoughts

The name is really quite descriptive here – it’s a daily, minimalist way to organize your to-dos. Like the Do! app, this seems well suited for people who like to have a running to-do list, or want to use their list on a day-to-day basis. If you like planning and scheduling ahead, this isn’t really organized for it. There isn’t much you can customize without upgrading to the paid version but there are some options, like changing the sort order of your list. You can also create multiple lists.

What I Liked
  • The tutorial was simple and showed me all of the main features in a matter of seconds
  • There’s a really low barrier of entry to use – you don’t have to customize anything, it’s ready out of the box
  • You can set recurring tasks that are daily, weekly, monthly or custom
  • It has a built-in pomodoro timer! You can customize the timing but the out-of-the-box setting does use the 25/5 timing. You can set it to be silent or tick, and it has focus reminders to get you off your phone.
  • You can turn it into an iOS widget with multiple view options
  • The default notification sound for alerts is really disruptive, which I like because it got my attention
What I Didn’t Like
  • The tip for how to remove deleted tasks (shake your phone) didn’t show up for several days, leaving me with a very messy task list for a while
  • I felt that too much customization and too many options were premium and it wasn’t made clear what to expect from the description in the app store
  • Very buggy – one of my recurring tasks just disappeared after a few days
  • The iOS widget I tried didn’t work at first, it wasn’t showing any tasks – until I discovered I had to manually select the list, which I wasn’t a good experience because I only had one list so it should have considered that the default list
  • There are a couple widget options; the one that takes up the least space only shows one task at a time which isn’t that helpful, and the one that shows multiple tasks takes up a lot of space so overall, not impressed with the widget styles

Lists To Do

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Developed by Thomas Tsopanakis

View on Apple App Store

Website

Cost

$0.99 to unlock theme colors and stickers

My Thoughts

This app was developed by a college student – seemingly on his own – and I think that’s really impressive. It’s got great functionality for just a single person doing development. It’s a very simple app and had no barrier to entry. I felt it was easy to pick up and start using right away, no tutorial was necessary and I could figure out all the customization. That said, I think it’s just lacking in a few customization areas that I particularly need – like the ability to make a recurring task happen 2-3 times per week, and to sort by due date. This app seems really great though and so far it’s my favorite of all the options.

What I Liked
  • You can select a different icon for each list, which was fun
  • The default notification is LOUD and really aggressive, which I found helpful because it really drew my attention
  • The different lists each show on one screen
  • The red badge on iPhone shows the number of unchecked items on a list; you can customize it to show for all lists, or only for particular lists, or to not show at all
  • You can move items between lists easily
  • There’s an Upcoming Items tab that shows what’s coming up soon, if your list is dated
What I Didn’t Like
  • For the recurring tasks, you’re not really checking off each day that you complete it; it just stays on the list forever, with a notification – if you check it off, it just sits there checked off
  • There’s no option for an iPhone widget
  • You can create a recurring task, but the only options are daily, weekly and monthly, so you cannot create a task that’s three times a week for example; you would need three separate tasks, each weekly
  • You can only change the color theme with a paid version; I’m just not into green
  • Removing checked items is a manual process – though you can restore things you’ve deleted for up to 30 days
  • You can’t sort a list by due date

Any.do: To do list & Calendar

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Developed by Any.Do

View on Apple App Store

View on Google Play Store

Website

Cost

$9.99 monthly for month-to-month
$7.99 monthly for six months, billed bi-annually
$4.99 monthly for twelve months, billed annually

My Thoughts

Off the bat I feel a little like Goldilocks and the three bears with this app, because it’s the last one I tried and the one I liked best. It just worked for my needs – I had all the features I wanted, like recurring tasks and multiple lists and a widget, and it offered a widget option I liked for my home screen layout, and it connected via my Apple account so I was able to bring over my existing recurring tasks and calendar items. Because it’s connected, I could also use Siri to create tasks. Overall, just a really well-connected and well-done app.

What I Liked
  • Multiple widget options, not only in size/layout but also in what the purpose of the widget was (to show a list, to add items to a list, etc.)
  • Offers task view and calendar view, so I can see my items as a running list or in calendar form
  • Offers multiple lists, but also a master list that shows all items from all lists
  • If you want recuring tasks but don’t want to pay for Premium, you can connect to your reminders app which allows recurring task creation for free
  • Can be connected to multiple other apps and tools, like Microsoft Teams, Whatsapp, and Google products (this is a paid feature, but honestly, fair enough)
What I Didn’t Like
  • Recurring task creation within the app is a paid feature; can get around this by creating them on your Apple reminders app
  • Most labels are a paid feature; only Priority label is available for free
  • Really expensive!
  • Completed tasks have to be removed manually, I prefer them to just disappear after a while

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