The Best To-Do App For Mac OS X

Mac OS X is blessed (or perhaps plagued) with more to-do apps than you could ever use. Our favourite is Wunderlist thanks to its solid set of features, syncing capabilities, cross-platform compatibility and $0 price tag.

Wunderlist

Platform: Mac OS X, Windows and More Price: Free Download Page

  • Syncs with the Wunderlist web app and any other copies of Wunderlist you're running for Mac, Windows, Android, iPhone or Blackberry
  • Share lists with friends to collaborate on tasks
  • Add notes to tasks to provide additional details
  • Easily organise tasks through drag and drop
  • Assign deadlines to tasks
  • Filter views help you break down your tasks by status and date
  • Star important tasks
  • Add tasks via email
  • Choose from several themes to personalise Wunderlist

Wunderlist is a simple and beautiful to-do app that's very easy to use and understand. In terms of features, it sets somewhere in the middle between the minimalist to-do apps and the apps with every feature imaginable. This gives Wunderlist a healthy amount of focus. It just handles your tasks, and its feature set revolves around making adding and managing those tasks easier. One of the most vital elements of Wunderlist, however, is that it syncs with other copies of the software. While syncing isn't important in every kind of application, it's incredibly useful with to-do apps because you never want to be without your to-do list. Wunderlist has a version of their app for OS X and Windows, plus Android, iPhone, and Blackberry. They also have a web app so you can still access your to-dos regardless of what platform you're on. This is all offered for free. It works very well. Wunderlist is a wonderful app.

There's very little to complain about, but adding tags to tasks would be useful. This would allow the user to give some added, filterable context to their to-dos. That aside, Wunderlist has pretty much everything you'd need from a to-do app.

Mac OS X has so much competition in the to-do space that it would be impossible to fit it all here. We're going to go over a variety of the good apps, but if you have a favourite that isn't listed here be sure to share it in the comments.

OmniFocus ($US80) and Things ($US50) are among the most popular to-do apps in the Getting Things Done (GTD) style. They're both very good, very polished and very expensive options. If you follow the GTD method for managing your tasks and are willing to pay $US50 or more for an app to help you out (plus additional money for the iOS versions), these are definitely worth a look. We feel the high price tag is enough of a deterrent to go with any of the other many available options.

TaskPaper ($US30) looks like nothing more than an almost plain text file, but has tons of GTD-related task management features. You type in it just like you'd type in a word processor, but little shortcuts and features make it possible to organise and sort tasks easily. You can add contexts to your tasks, collapse items and more. At $US30 it's a little pricey, but if you like making lists in text editors but want more organisation and control this is exactly what you're looking for.

Anxiety, TaskMate and Simplicity are three free, minimal to-do list apps. If you don't want to pay anything and just want to make a list you can keep handy when you need it, these are the apps you want to look at.

Finally, although a web app and not a Mac desktop app, TeuxDeux is another solid, free choice. You make simple lists based on the day you want to accomplish these tasks or you stick them in the "someday" section if you're not ready to make them part of your schedule just yet. It's a very simple and elegant solution that you can use with any web browser.

Lifehacker's App Directory is a new and growing directory of recommendations for the best applications and tools in a number of given categories.


Comments

    Seriously? The only to-do app that doesn't feature recurring tasks in any way, shape or form? And you fail to even mention this in the 'where it falls short' box? If every single job you do is a one-off than Wunderlist is great, but if you want to get organised on a daily, weekly or monthly basis with pre-set reminders, forget it.

    I would add ToodleDo (web app, syncs with iPhone app and I believe other mobile devices). It isn't the prettiest looking of apps (the iPhone version is better designed in this respect) but it has some very useful features.

    In particular it allows you to assign estimated durations to tasks and – this is the really important part – it allows you to make meaningful use of that information. For example, you can also activate a timer, which records how much time the task really takes. But even better (and I use this aspect of it all the time), it uses the estimated duration to calculate the time required to complete the tasks in any given view. So if you've scheduled yourself a 13-hour work day, it becomes really obvious!

    I use ToodleDo for work, since as a web app it will work on any platform and we have a Windows office. My personal and freelance life is organised using Things.

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