The Best To Do List App For Mac
There's nothing wrong with a paper to-do list, but going digital has its benefits. Paper is fine if you enjoy writing by hand, crossing off tasks in ink or pencil, and drawing arrows to show when priorities and deadlines change. The best to-do list apps, however, let you write, organize, and reprioritize your tasks more efficiently. They also let you attach notes, links, and files to a task, and the very best ones also let you see when someone else has completed a task. In many ways, a good to-do program is the ultimate productivity app.
The Best To Do List App For Mac
To find the best to-do list apps, we look for ones that are easy to use, offered on all major platforms, and have the tools you need to work productively. After considering dozens of apps in this category, these are the best we've tested, followed by what to look for when choosing the right app for your needs.
Todoist is a rare five-star Editors' Choice winner because it is simply the best to-do list app on the market. It's designed superbly with all the features anyone could need, such as custom views, natural language input, collaboration options, and more.
We love Todoist Pro for individuals who need to manage all the varied aspects of their lives, from work tasks to grocery shopping lists. The Business grade version of Todoist is also excellent for small teams that need to coordinate ongoing work or lightweight projects collaboratively.
Whenever PCMag readers ask for advice about managing work, our reply always includes the following: "Have you tried Asana yet?" It is hands-down one of the best apps for managing the to-do list of any team or business. It borders on being a full project management app but works equally well if not better for groups of people who need to get work done together. If your team passes along work tasks from one person to another, you should 100% look at using Asana to manage it.
OmniFocus is an excellent to-do list app with a long features list. It's powerful and it works well. You can add a tremendous amount of detail to tasks. We also like that you buy OmniFocus either as a standalone product for a one-time fee or as a subscription, depending on what works best for your wallet.
OmniFocus is only available on Apple devices, with some support for a web app, so it's really best for people who use a Mac, iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch, but not Windows or Android devices. Beyond that, it's for people who follow the Getting Things Done method of productivity and organization. Getting Things Done is a trademarked method by David Allen who wrote a book by the same name. It prescribes a way to stay organized, and OmniFocus was built and designed for people who follow that method. OmniFocus doesn't offer collaboration, so it's also only suited for people who plan to manage their tasks solo.
TickTick is a powerful to-do list app with a reasonable price tag, and you can use it just about anywhere. It's available as a desktop app for macOS and Windows, as well as a mobile apps for iOS and Android that are compatible with Apple Watch and Android Wear. TickTick also has a web app, Chrome app, and browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
Toodledo is a fantastic to-do list app that goes the extra mile. This app wants to help you not only cross all your to-dos off your list, but also adopt new habits and organize your thoughts. It has an exhaustive features list, though it also throws at you an excess of information at every turn.
To-do list apps are a dime a dozen, and few of them stand out as being much better than others. For example, there are plenty of excellent apps for Android or iPhone, but they do you no good when you're working on a laptop and need to jot down a thought quickly without picking up your phone and losing your place.
That's why for this list, we only include apps that you can access on both desktop and mobile devices. After evaluating around 25 possible contenders, we tested and evaluated them and selected the highest-scoring apps to list here.
One of the major points of consideration when testing and scoring is how well these apps help you organize and stay on top of your tasks. We also consider collaboration, meaning the ability to share a to-do list with other people, though we see it as a bonus feature and not a requirement to be included.
One of the most popular to-do list apps, Wunderlist, was acquired by Microsoft in 2015 and taken out of commission five years later. Microsoft's stated ambition was to build a replacement app for Wunderlist from the ground up, cloning all its best features in the process. The new app, Microsoft To Do, frankly took too long to come to market and arrived half baked, which is why it isn't included here. It scored too low.
Design is extra important in this category of apps because you end up looking at your to-do list app often. How will you get anything done if you can't stand looking at your ugly app? A good design also allows the app to feel intuitive, so you can write down things that come to mind quickly.
Every to-do list app comes with tools and features for organizing your tasks and lists, and in an ideal world, these features match up with the way you think. For example, if you are a highly visual person, you might find that color-coding your lists or tasks to show priority is important. If you are a deadline-oriented person, you'll want an app that sorts your tasks by due date and or shows them in a calendar view. If you're forgetful, you might want an app that sends you reminders on different devices.
As for collaboration, it's always handy to have the option to share a to-do list. For home use, a collaborative to-do list means you can assign chores to other people or track when someone has purchased items off a shared shopping list. In business settings, collaborative task management makes working together easier and more transparent.
Our overall top winner is Todoist. Todoist is the best to-do list app you'll find. It works on every platform. You can use it for free or pay a reasonably fee to get all the features. It's designed in a way that makes it productive to use. You get plenty of customization options. It does everything you could want.
Several of the best to-do list apps have a robust free service tier. Of them, our favorites are Asana and Todoist. Asana may be too free-form for some people's tastes. Todoist has a more inherent structure.
Another good free app is Remember the Milk, which scored a little too low to make it onto this list of the best to-do list apps. Remember the Milk looks old-school compared with the best to-do list apps, but it's capable and reliable. It's also highly intuitive. You can figure out all the ins and outs in minutes.
Todoist works best among small groups of people organizing relatively uncomplicated tasks, whereas Asana is better for managing more in-depth teamwork, the kind of work that changes between many hands and passes through a lot of phases before it's complete.
Occasionally, we encounter an app that straddles more than one category. Here, Asana is that app. It now includes tools for traditional project management, but it also works perfectly well as a to-do list app.
Overall, project management apps and collaborative to-do apps serve the same general purpose but at a much different scale. They both keep track of what needs to get done, when, and by whom. They help people manage time more efficiently and regulate how many tasks are assigned to each person on a team. Project management apps help large groups of people juggle schedules, resources, and budgets in a way that to-do list apps can't. To-do apps are simpler and cost less than project management software. For many types of work to-do apps are a better fit.
A to-do app is only as useful as the information you put into it, so in addition to picking the right app, you might also want to peruse these tips for creating better to-do lists. If you're looking to share to-dos, you might also want to look at our story on how to make a family to-do list and calendar.
Notion is an all-in-one productivity app that's perfect if you need an app that combines note taking and wiki creation with to-do list making. It has a simple color coordinated design, but it can actually be used to create neatly organized notes and lists with a hierarchy as complex or as simple as you need it to be.
Things 3 is one of the most robust to-do apps on our list, and it's also one of the more popular to-do list options. There's a good reason for that - Cultured Code has included every feature you could ever possibly want in a task management app.
Todoist, like Things 3, is a well-known to-do and list making app. Different tasks can be organized into sections as needed, spitting up everything from work tasks to grocery lists. There's an inbox that shows you everything that needs to be done at a glance, plus sections for things that need to be done immediately and over the next week.
Any.do is another popular task management app that's been around for years. It has a simple interface that belies its complexity, with deep organizational options for managing daily to-dos, calendar tasks, projects, lists, and more.
But unlike other apps on the list, Structured is unavailable for every platform. It is limited to iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Also, I feel the premium version lacks many advanced features such as multiple tags, reviews, or a summary of tasks for a particular period for the asking price.
Google Keep is one of my favorite places to make lists and notes. The app lets you color-code notes and pin important notes for easy access. I also have a few notes where I've saved articles for later. I like that Google Keep populates the article headline as well as a key image so you're not trying to parse through dozens of URLs.
If you're looking for a more structured checklist layout, open the app and tap the little box with a checkmark at the bottom of your screen. This will start a more traditional to-do list style note. When you've finished a task, tap the box next to the item and it'll appear in a collapsable list of finished tasks. Tapping the reminder bell in the top right corner of the screen lets you set specific alarms. And if you have to set an alarm to remember to open the app and check your to-do list, I'm certainly not judging. Either way, you can get these notifications on your phone, PC or both. 350c69d7ab