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Nov 7 2008

Review of the iPhone Task Managers

Just a quick note to promote a post over at Lifehacker, Battle of the iPhone Task Managers. There are numerous task managers available now on the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch. Myself, I use Zenbe as a simple Task Manager. The reason I like Zenbe is that it is quick, clean, and has a nice Web Sync so that I can use it on my Mac and on my iPhone. The Lifehacker post compares the following iPhone Task Managers:
  • Remember the Milk
  • Zenbe
  • reQall
  • To Do's
  • Easy Task Manager
Check out the post from Lifehacker and see what you think.
  • 6 Comments... What do you think?
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  1. Jeroen Sangers said on November 7th, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    I was very surprised that they did not include two of the best task managers for the iPhone: OmniFocus and Things. Without these, the comparison surely isn’t complete.

    Reply
  2. Andrew Mason said on November 7th, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    @Jeroen Sangers:

    I think the review is more of the lightweight list/task checking apps. Some of the comments on the LH site mention Things and OmniFocus.

    OmniFocus rocks and makes my GTD system complete!

    Thanks for the comment!

    Reply
  3. David Pierce said on November 7th, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    Andrew,

    Thanks for the heads up about the post, and your own opinion! As a task-list-ophile, I’m always intrigued about what other people are using. I tried Zenbe, and couldn’t get into it for more than a grocery list manager. It struck me as too difficult to manipulate, and not very good at figuring out what you need (i.e. see all tasks due today in one list, etc.) How’d you make it work for you?

    Reply
  4. Andrew Mason said on November 7th, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    @David Pierce:

    Hi David,

    I must admit that I only use Zenbe for nothing more than simple lists. I like the speed I can launch it and the very easy check off interface. I use it for lists when I am going away or when I need to remember a list of groceries etc..

    For the more complex planning, I use OmniFocus. One of my gripes with OmniFocus on the iPhone is that it takes more time than it should to load up. This doesn’t distract me from having all my personal and work related projects on OmniFocus and I do think that I have been a lot more productive since being able to carry my whole system with me on my iPhone.

    Anybody else got any comments to add to this?

    Thanks,

    Reply
  5. Mark said on September 3rd, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    I know this is an old post, but I thought I’d chime in as it’s still a top hit for the search string “best task app for iphone”. Thought I’d inject some updated info since there are a lot of new apps out there.

    I’ve been playing around with a lot of the different task apps for the iPhone. Since we all love lists and task organizers, thought I’d share my comments.

    1. Omnifocus is a solid app that just works. It doesn’t have a lot of advanced features though like online syncing. What I like about it is all pre built filters that make it easy for a new user to identify. I think I may use its folder structure in other apps with more features.

    2. Things – the appeal of this is its simplicity. It also doesn’t have online sync though and it has less features than Omnifocus. I like how it has a filter for next, scheduled and someday. I don’t like that it doesn’t have filters for contexts though which I find really important.

    3. Todo (Appigo) – This includes an online sync feature and is also very easy to use. It does have the ability to filter by context, but I don’t like how it was implemented. It’s not a list on the dashboard, rather you have to set a filter and unset it when you are done. It doesn’t have due-date based filters like Things though which I would have liked to see. One feature that to do has which I do not see in the others is the ability to set the action of the task (i.e. call, email, send text). This allows you to perform the task by one click of the button. I.e. Call Insurance company > Set the contact to call > when the task is due, just click the icon and it will perform the action. This saves you about 5 seconds, lol.

    4. Pocket Informant – This is a very promising app. I may even make it my app of choice for task management. It has all the filters of OImnifocus, plus it has the ability to sync with Toodledo. Another bonus feature that it has is its impressive rendering of Google Calendar. I like how it displays much more than the built in calendar app. It also looks better than CalenGoo as well. The only thing I like more about CalenGoo is that you can add appointments by double clicking on a specific time in the calendar.

    For other lists, here’s what I like:

    1. GroceryIQ – This is a real simple grocery list manager app. I like it because it has a huge db of grocery items which saves you the hassle of typing. I wish it had the ability to sync though so I could use it with my wife. For now, it can do email which will have to do.

    2. Joesgoals.com is what I use to track habits and goals. Unfortunately, there is no iPhone app for it yet. Anyone have suggestions on what they use for tracking habits?

    3. Aircheck – while geared for aviation professionals, I’ve found that this is the only app that allows me to make reusable checklists. I like to use this for things like a travel checklist where I always need to remember to bring certain things (i.e. belt, socks, etc). I also use this when leaving with the baby to make sure I don’t forget to bring baby wipes. Anyone have suggestions on their reusable checklist? I’m sure notepad will work fine, but it doesn’t give me the satisfaction of checking a box.

    Thanks all and hope you enjoyed this.

    Reply
  6. wkw said on May 7th, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    I care less about task management (generally just set a reminder in Calendar if I need to be reminded of something) but do make a lot of lists: todo items, shopping lists and reminder-type items. Last year I tried several lists/todo manager apps from the App Store and ended up going back to pen+paper because it was taking too much effort to enter a simple list. Eventually I started coding one which I hoped I’d actually use. So yeah, this response is a bit self-serving, but I wanted to talk about what my app, Acme Lists does.

    Acme Lists [http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/acmelists-todo-shopping-lists/id344951978?mt=8 or http://iphone.acmetech.com is fast for creating simple lists of items, and you can embed other lists within a list (heirarchical lists). It remembers the last list you were viewing and restores that on relaunch. But since I'm sitting in front of a networked computer most of the day, I added an embedded web server so I can edit or create lists using any web browser over WiFi and a full-sized keyboard. It's damn fast to knock out a new list or paste stuff into the browser from my laptop!

    Additionally, the web interface always shows you the current device's pasteboard contents and you can send text to the device pasteboard. I use this feature quite often to transfer URLs or other text from my computer to my iPod Touch. Though I'm finding PasteBot [http://tapbots.com/software/pastebot/] slightly more convenient for doing that, if only they would support multiple registered devices in the Mac client…

    In version 2.0 of Acme Lists, you can now elect to have scratched items hidden on a per-list basis which means I can reuse my supermarket list fairly easily in the following manner: Unhide hidden items, tap once on each item I need to pickup from store which unscratches it. Turn hiding back on to get the other items out of the way. While at store, each tap to scratch animates the scratching-off action, then hides the item so all I’m looking at are remaining items on the list.

    In addition to hiding scratched off items, there are options to sort scratched items to the end of the list, or delete them. I’m working now on shake-to-undo for scratching since I sometimes hit the wrong item and with hiding on, it’s out of view before I realize my fat-finger mistake.

    You can also email lists (with external URL import support when receiving the list on a device with the app installed) and share lists and pasteboard with other devices via WiFi/BlueTooth, ala “Bump”, but without the physicality… :-) I used a drag and drop interface.

    ——
    There were definitely cool features in the other apps I tried first, but I just didn’t need them and they got in the way:
    - It often took too many actions to add or edit items, to start a new list and get down to adding items, etc.
    - The apps with a database of grocery items are cool and I even pondered something along those lines with a public website component where people could add items that everyone could use, but here too, it took way to damn long to locate and add items. Nothing is faster for me than either unscratching existing supermarket items I previously entered, and/or locating my app’s web server in the Bonjour menu of Safari and speed-typing a new list.
    - Those apps that arrange supermarket items by store isle or category are cool too. I still though found this annoying in the end. I sometimes reorder the list items (in typical iphone tables’ drag-list-items-in-edit-mode fashion) so my meats, veggies, dairy, sundries are grouped as they are in the market I’m going to, and/or the order I plan to race through the aisles… But that works for me just as well as having specific app-support for these categorizations.

    (Andrew, I’ll send you a promo code so you can check out Acme Lists…)
    Acme Lists

    Reply
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