iPad frustrations

I started using an iPad over my MacBook and I’ve encountered a handful of frustrations to my workflow. These are suggestions for improvement and I want to vent my frustration.

(1) Adding tasks is not simple. On a view on my MacBook I press enter from any list, especially a tag list, and boom there it is right where I expect it. On iPad, I press enter and I get a random task above my tag perspective that does not have the tag. Then I have to add the tag. Then I get really confused if I added it, assumed it would be there and it’s then lost. I should be able to use the same keyboard shortcuts for a similar experience between devices.

(2) Perspective changing is cumbersome. Often I switch between perspectives. On the OSX version I can continually see my perspectives on the left to switch even within my current view. I also can see my full project list despite being down in a folder. This also makes it impossible to drag and drop tasks to different folders or outside a folder. And I think it actually makes it impossible to move a project outside a folder (I’ve accidentally moved projects in folders and been unable to move them out). It’s too cumbersome for me to do some workflows on my iPad because It’s unintuitive to go up and down these layers continually. I have a large enough iPad screen (the 12.9 inch which is bigger than my tiny 12 inch MacBook) so it could easily show all. I know it’s simpler for iPhones, but iPads I would like to see the same full view. or at least have an option for this (maybe a shortcut?)

(3) SHORTCUTS: please add more shortcuts. I don’t understand why iPad apps lack so many essential shortcuts that OS X apps have. Things like enter to edit a task, ctrl+cmd+up/down to move tasks, ctrl+cmd+i to show hide info, shortcuts for moving perspectives (cmd+1, 2,etc ). Even something as simple as tab to goto the next field (on OS X tab goes front he title to the next field, on iPad it is stuck on the title field). Yes, I know it’s an iPad, but if I’m going to be productive—which is the whole point of having omnifocus) I want to be able to do things as quick as possible. And having a keyboard with easy access to changes with shortcuts, is essential for a lot of users.

(4) Moving tasks/projects around: Is it impossible to move a project from a folder to the main project list? Is the only solution to reorganize, to make a new project and move tasks over? This and moving tasks around should be possible and intuitive.

(5) Tag deleting - [this one is an addition, I just discovered this since posting this] it appears you cannot delete tags on iOS at all. I have two task with the same name (week), one is a sub tag, the other isn’t, and i often put a task in the wrong one and lose it.

I’m curious if omnifocus is planning on making any changes, if anyone’s experienced similar frustrations, or any work around for these.


NOTE: I found another user quote the 2019 roadmap which states usability and keyboard accessibility for 2019. Glad it’s on the radar. Please add these ASAP!

Good thoughts. As this is only a user forum, be sure to send your suggestions to The Omni Group at the address omnifocus-ios@omnigroup.com.


I agree that the iPad version could use some work to make things easier, and I have submitted requests for features and changes. I am also almost exclusively using my iPad Pro instead of my MacBook Pro. However, I have a different perspective (pun intended) than you. I see the iPad as a touch device. The less time I can spent using a keyboard and remembering keyboard commands the better. if I was going to use my iPad with a keyboard all the time I’d just use my MacBook Pro. I personally don’t have any desire for any keyboard shortcuts to be added to the iPad version. Instead, I have learned how to adapt and use the newer touch based interface and have put in suggestions on how to improved that.


I share some of these frustrations and keyboard shortcuts should be something more presente, specially with an iPad Pro.
Regarding the moving of a project to the outside of a folder, select the project that you want so it appears on the info bar on the right. At the bottom of the bar, you have the move button (one circle with an arrow to another circle). Press the move button and select the “Move Up to Top Level” and your project will move to out of the folder

iOS all the way around is a dreary experience, top to bottom. Now that the web service is up and running, maybe they can go back to iOS and make some much needed improvements. OF3 is turning into the Vista of OF versions.


IOS version needs a serious redesign.
Moved to Things because of iPad version of OF.
I was happy with osx versión but since I bought an iPad, man, horrible user experience.
Waiting for Omnigroup to do something about it.


I’m also frustrated with the iPad version of OF. It’s a terrible experience.
A part of me wished it was just the same as the Mac version. I’m sure there are a ton of touch vs. mouse issues I haven’t thought of, but it’s truly unusable on iPad. I hadn’t noticed it that much before because I mainly used a Mac and the iPad was just a secondary device. OF on iPad was mostly for checking stuff off and some reviews. But now that I’m using the iPad more regularly I’m feeling the friction OmniFocus on iPad creates.


Rumours swirling that iOS 13 will have mouse support and other more desktop like windowing features on the iPad. Omni have been early adopters of new iOS features in the past so fingers crossed.

Not sure Mighty Mouse himself could fix the problems of iOS

I agree, everything just takes way too many taps. Unfortunately this is the opposite of productivity.

There are many ways to solve this, e.g.

  • having drop down lists in folders
  • making the add button dynamic for actions, tags, projects (similar to Things 3 magic button)
  • have windows and options NOT come as full screen

The inspector could be greatly reduced in size and clunkiness if icons were used instead of the redundant descriptors (project, due, defer, …).

In general there is just too much redundant text in the interface. OF on iOS really feels anachronistic, overwhelming and slow to navigate.

Many of the issues could be improved by using smart icons, making the UI more visual. As Omnifocus is geared towards power users, it should not be an issue to recognize all icon meanings after a short usage period.


For me, I think if Things 3 allowed completing a repeating task early, I could fully switch…

I want to love OF more. I routinely switch back.

I’m like 90% iOS these days, and on iOS, OF needs work. Kind of feel like the changes I’m looking for won’t come until a 4.0 in the next year or 2.


I got so fed up with OmniFocus on iPad the other day than the moment I sat down on my Mac, after a couple of weeks of not using it, I downloaded the Things 3 trial. I’d never even considered it before. I really can’t make a realistic judgement call on which is better because I’ve only played with Things 3 for a few minutes a couple of times, but it sure looks nice. I wish there was an iOS trial version. I’m tempted to buy it on iPad just to test it out. Sad.

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Things doesn’t have all the features of OF, but it’s truly a shining example of what an iPad/iOS app can be (from a usability standpoint).

The things I miss are attachments and smart searches.

I admittedly don’t need attachments that often really but when I do I wish they were there.

There is no way to save a search (like perspectives)

Something that is increasingly important is web access. I have to use a PC at work and it would be nice if Things had a web version, but I don’t see this happening.

First of all, thank you for posting a nice, actionable set of feedback! It’s great to have a set of specific, concrete frustrations that we can try to help you with.

This one is puzzling me. If I’m in the Tags perspective on my iPad and press Return on the hardware keyboard, nothing happens. If I press Command-N on the other hand, I get a new item right next to my selected item which has the current tag assigned to it. Is that not what you’re seeing?

I do think it would be great if Return also worked like it does on the Mac and in the web app. (And Shift-Return, for that matter, for inserting above the currently selected item.)

Just to make sure I understand, here are the feature requests and bug reports I’m break this feedback into:

  1. Feature request: Offer a ribbon of perspective icons down the left edge, similar to the Mac and web apps.

  2. Feature request: Make it possible to expand folders in the sidebar, rather than always drilling down into them (similar to the Mac and web apps).

  3. Bug report: you can drag a project onto a folder to add it to that folder, but there’s no way to drag it back out. (Workaround: tap the “move” icon in the bottom left corner of the project inspector, then choose “Move Up to Top Level” as the move’s destination.)

Today’s TestFlight build adds keyboard shortcuts for expanding and collapsing items in the main outline. We’ll be working to add more shortcuts to the outline as well as the inspector.

(I should note that you can already use Command-1, Command-2, etc., to move between perspectives. But something like the Mac’s “Quick Open” feature would be even better, so you could type Command-O, followed with a few letters to quickly filter down to a desired perspective, project, folder, or tag, use the arrow keys to select your target and press Return to open it.)

You can tap the “move” icon in the bottom left corner of the project inspector, then choose a target for the move.

In the tag inspector, you can tap on the Delete icon at the bottom to delete the tag. But that’s a little cumbersome, so in the navigation sidebar you can also swipe left on a tag to delete it.

Hope this helps!


We’re definitely looking at ways to reduce the number of taps things take to accomplish!

That said, I’m not quite sure I understand what you have in mind with your specific suggestions here:

Are you talking about being able to expand folders in the navigation sidebar, as you can on Mac and in the web app? That’s useful feedback.

I’m not sure I understand what you’re looking for here. The “Add Here” button is already context-sensitive, though I usually just use the “New Inbox Item” button because I can drag it onto a list and add an item wherever I choose to drop it.

Are we still talking about the iPad? When I click on View Options, for example, I get a small popover window with the relevant options for the current view. Maybe a screenshot would help me understand this better?

There’s a tricky balance here. If we drop the text, we get a lot of people wondering what buttons do (which leads to issues like the original posters’ questions about how to delete a tag or move a project—both of which, notably, are represented as icons without associated text). But maybe this is something people could choose to customize as they become more familiar with the app. We’ll definitely give it some thought!

Our current TestFlight builds let you show or hide tags on items in the main outline, which helps reduce one of the major points of redundant text that customers have been telling us about. And you’ve just mentioned another, where icons have labels that you no longer need. If you have more things in mind, specifics would be great!

Thanks for the feedback!

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For me on iOS I would love to be able to move more fluidly through views and adjusting properties.

  1. Swipe actions to set dates from a date picker rather than having to jump into the task to change a date.
  2. Swipe action to move to a project.
  3. Quick Open would be amazing!
  4. Once OmniJS is out, customizable shortcuts for running scripts. 😁

If you want to take a look at some scripts I have on macOS, these would make iOS so much more functional for me.


I think it would be really useful to be able to filter by a tag from any view. At least momentarily. For instance, lets say you are working in a “work” perspective and there are 15 tasks listed. You feel a bit overwhelmed and maybe want to filter that by a “high priority” tag. This would allow you to focus on one (or multiple tags) on the fly, without necessarily having to create a new perspective for every single view.

Hope this makes sense!


I agree with this post, iPad version is “complicated” and today I made a subscription on Omnifocus Web.
With OF for iOS we have too many taps. I hope thath OM Team can solve this problem.

Agree with all the feedback here. I’m really trying to love OmniFocus for iPad as much as I love the Mac version, but it just feels like it’s a completely different app. I think having the same look & feel as the Mac on iPad would be a good start, so things (already mentioned) like:

  1. Left hand ribbon with perspectives.
  2. Expanding folders and projects instead of having to drill into them.
  3. Option to choose Column layout like on the Mac. I really can’t work with Fluid layout, there’s just too much space and tasks become double the vertical size and it gets confusing with so much info. Being able to use column view with everything in one row would be great.
  4. The dots under projects in the left hand pane sound like a good idea, but in practice they just create extra space. I’d rather the project names be tightly together to fit more. I’d even be happy with the names there being in just one line with the ellipsis at the end if they’re too long like on a Mac. You can see the project name in the main window anyway.
  5. Focus mode on iPad. I know I can create perspectives to sort of get a similar effect, but many times I just want to focus on a project temporarily.
  6. Expand/Contract all projects at once in project view. It’d be great if I can just contract them all, find the one I want and expand just that one. With all expanded it’s a long list to scroll. Perspectives are great when in working mode, but when adding/maintaining projects and tasks it’s a pain.
  7. Less tapping. This is critical. There’s just way too much tapping to get anywhere on iPad.

I hope that helps.

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