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Home Software Stay organized with the best to-do list apps for Android and iOS

Stay organized with the best to-do list apps for Android and iOS

One of the largest lessons in life is that you can’t always remember everything you’re supposed to do. But learning that isn’t the trick — it’s choosing to do something about it to ensure you’re going to remember to do what you really need to. There are a hundred and one ways to remember to do things, from knotting your hankie, to tying string around your fingers. But why not put that phone of yours to use, and turn it into your invaluable and ever-patient personal assistant?

To-do list apps are some of the oldest available apps on both iOS and Android — but how do you know you’re getting the right app to match your lifestyle? Well we’ve done the heavy lifting for you and put together a list of the best to-do list apps currently available for both iOS and Android. Take a look below and install whichever takes your fancy.

Google Keep (Free)

Google’s suite of apps are a mixed bunch, but they’re usually pretty good — and Google Keep is among the very best. Keep’s strength is a relatively simple design; let users store whatever they like in the app, and make it accessible from as many places as they want. Google Keep isn’t just for to-do lists; it also allows for written notes, voice memos, and pictures to be stored and organized with a series of custom tags and categories. You can also invite collaborators to contribute to individual notes — perfect for planning, or in the case of to-do lists, perfect for shared shopping lists.

It’s a simple but powerful tool. Changes that you make on shared notes will reflect on collaborator’s devices almost instantly, and everything you’re involved in can be accessed from your desktop as well. It’s completely free, included with every Google account, and it’s available on both Android and iOS devices. It doesn’t have much in the way of deeper options, like repeating tasks, and the reminder system is somewhat shoddy (though it does have a Chrome extension for reminders at home) — but it’s still a great choice if you just need something simple and don’t want to fuss around.

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Android iOS

Todoist (Free/premium options)

If you want a dedicated to-do list app, then Todoist is worth checking out. It’s one of the biggest to-do apps around, with a dedicated following, and years worth of proven effectiveness. You can sign-up with your Facebook profile or Google account, and getting started is as simple as typing your first task in and hitting submit. Setting up new tasks is just as simple — type your task and hit enter. You can also set a deadline for the work to be completed by, and assign a priority to the task, as well as assigning it to a group of similar tasks. Completing tasks involves ticking off the box to the side of the task, and there’s a certain satisfaction to be had just ticking off tasks — though you’re missing the point if you only make tasks to complete them.

It’s not perfect — if you want all the features you’re going to have to pay for them. Setting reminders on tasks, extra active projects, comments on tasks, and automatic backups are all premium features, and subscribing to Todoist Premium will put you back about $29 a year. Still, if you’ve tried it out and you think it’s worth the money, $29 isn’t unreasonable for a year’s worth of organization.

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Android iOS

Evernote (Free/premium options)

Another to-do list that comes with a ton of other options, Evernote is perhaps the go-to app for note-taking. Like Google Keep, it supports multiple methods of taking notes and reminders, including voice memos, full lists, and photos. Evernote takes this a step further, though, with the ability to add video and attach Word documents or PDFs to your lists. Like Google Keep, any time you add something to Evernote, it will sync across all of your devices, but unlike Keep, there is an option for offline access to your files — but only if you pay for the Premium version.

Evernote’s paid options are a touch on the pricey side at $35 a year for Evernote Plus, or $70 a year for Evernote Premium. But those obviously come with a whole raft of extra options, like offline access, extra storage, and the ability to add password-support to lock down your notebooks. Still, only you can decide whether this is worth your money or not, and we always recommend using the free version for a while to gauge whether it’s worth springing for.

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Android iOS

Wunderlist (Free/premium options)

If you’re not a fan of Todoist’s gamified style, or you simply want a more forgiving free option, then check out Wunderlist. It has many of the same options that make Todoist great, with an easy method of setting up new tasks, simple collaboration between users, and the ability to assign tasks to specific groups. But where Todoist restricts many of its features to premium users, Wunderlist is a lot more generous with providing access, so free users can access time-based reminders, assign colleagues to tasks, and leave comments. That said, you’re generally restricted to how many of those you can do at one time — only 25 assignees per shared list — so you could see it as an even more insidious way of tempting people into a premium subscription.

In terms of premium cost you’re looking at a charge of $5 per month — or $60 a year. That’s pretty steep compared to Todoist’s $29, but you have to weigh up the pros and cons of each. If you think you’re likely to need a premium account for medium-scale collaboration, Todoist may be your bag. If you’re only looking to organize yourself, then it’s hard to beat Wunderlist’s free option.

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Android iOS

Microsoft To-Do (free)

Organizational tools rarely exist in a vacuum. If you’re wedded to Microsoft’s ecosystem with Outlook emails and Office work, then you might be excited to learn that Microsoft has its own to-do app. Created by the Wunderlist team after Microsoft bought the app back in 2015, Microsoft To-Do bears a striking resemblance to Wunderlist — and that’s certainly not a bad thing; setting up new tasks is easy, and it offers much the same in terms of tools and features.

Where Microsoft To-Do differs is with an emphasis on My Day — namely, the idea that you start each day with a clean slate and take a moment at the start of each day to write down what you really want to get achieved that day. It’s a neat and fuss-free philosophy on life, and aims to make users really focus on the here-and-now. It’s definitely not for everyone, and if you really like planning ahead, then Microsoft To-Do allows for that too. It even has a smart suggestion tool built in that will suggest tasks for you based on your previous record. It’s a neat little idea, and we dig it.

The future seems to have Microsoft To-Do pegged to replace Wunderlist, and you can import your Wunderlist tasks if you’re coming from that app. Integration to other Microsoft services is planned for the future, so watch this space if you’re heavily into that.

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Android iOS

Clear Todos ($5)

Clear Todos is a simple app for people who don’t need a complicated and cluttered app to keep themselves organized. Available only for iOS devices, (Android users can check out Clear List for a similar experience) Clear Todos uses a clear and elegant style to make sure that you have a list of what you need to do, when you need to do it. Customizable color themes allow for quick and easy differentiation between projects, and iCloud sync ensures that all of your devices (iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch) are constantly up-to-date. A simple gesture based system means that you’re rarely stuck in menus wondering what to do, and its simple set up ensures that you can just grab it and go.

Unlike many of the apps on this list, this app does come with a paywall — but since many of the others come with the option of monthly subscriptions, it easily balances out. If you like just paying once and being done with it, and just want a simple app to help with your organization, then Clear Todos is probably for you.

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Ike (Free)

Supposedly based on former President Dwight ‘Ike’ Eisenhower’s organizational method, Ike takes a more lighthearted approach to the to-do list. The core of the app is based around priority; mark the most urgent tasks as such and build your day around dealing with those most crucial of jobs, forming a “priority matrix.” It makes more sense as you delve further into the app.

Thankfully, the lighthearted approach we mentioned helps to take some of the edge off the central premise. You can attach images to tasks, which means that recurring tasks become far more enjoyable; attaching that goofy picture of your dog to your “walk the dog” task is a small crutch, but it makes getting out of bed at 6 a.m. every day slightly easier. You can attach voice notes to tasks as well, set location-based reminders, and customizable celebrations that play whenever you complete a task. It’s a capable to-do list app, made slightly sillier.

Upgrading to Ike Pro is a one-off payment of $2, and unlocks access to location reminders, audio recordings, and all of the customizable themes, along with a few extras. How can you go wrong for $2?

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Habitica: Gamify Your Tasks (Free)

You might have thought that a to-do list app couldn’t get much more different — well, think again! Habitica is a completely different take on the to-do list, and it’s apparent from the moment you boot up the app. Instead of being asked to fill in your first task, you’re asked to create a character. What? Well, Habitica uses a gaming RPG-style to motivate you to complete your daily tasks. Complete tasks and your character gains experience and gold that can be spent on making them more powerful. Don’t try and cheat the system either; based on a few questions asked during your character creation, Habitica will assign you a few tasks to get you started. Fail to complete your daily tasks, and your avatar will take damage! Won’t somebody think of the player characters?!

Habitica is a bit more daunting to set up, with a system of different types of tasks and rewards to sort out before you can really get going, but if you’re really into the idea then it’s worth the time needed. So what are you waiting for? Get leveling and grind that dish washing!

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Android iOS

Organizing yourself is only the start; don’t forget to spend a little bit of time unwinding with our picks for the best meditation apps on both iOS and Android. And if you need something to make sure you keep those New Year’s resolutions, look no further than this selection of New Year’s resolution apps!

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