OmniFocus 4 pre-beta TestFlight; why I deleted it

Things I would like (I know I am not going to get them but food for thought down the line) from Todoist

Sections, this really cuts down the need for tagging/ numerous projects for example a personal project can have sections for grooming, (I am vain obviously), calls, items to buy etc etc. one project one tag instead of 3 projects/tags. These can be linked to in perspectives by using the #folder /section syntax.

Checklists, not as Todoist does it but grouped items which do not show in perspectives by default and tied to the task. For example one task “do weekly review” with checklist items for the various parts. Again cutting down on clutter within the project group and fluff in perspectives especially Forecast which I find unusable.

Non completable tasks, surprisingly useful as aide memoirs, lists of logins, etc, Yes I know these may not belong in a task manager but sometimes it saves opening another app.

The ability to nest a project under another. I know I can do this with folders but for example I keep a SAL for each client. If I take on a design project I need to create a folder, add the SAL to it, then create the design project, then on completion potentially reverse it back how it was. The ability to simply nest projects was again more useful than I imagined.


These are great suggestions. Not sure if OmniFocus look at this forum? If they don’t then please email them this list.

I do not dislike the Beta. I would like to see some improvements, but these may come because the Beta is not feature complete yet. Gestures are missing at the moment and these could potentially improve usability more.

I made a quick overview of thing I (dis)like in the Forecast view. Some of the also apply to other views. I also added a comparison with Things 3, which is also not perfect, but does set a standard for usability on the iPhone.

My hope is that the Universal app development will not have too much impact on the MacOS version of Omnifocus. This is what I mainly dislike with Things 3: it is great on iOS, but the MacOS app could be better in functionality/usability.


I emailed them feedback of many of the exact same things as you pointed out here. Please email them too. 👍

I changed my mind, you guys are doing great. Please don’t make OmniFocus a cross-platform Electron app.


Another +1 for keeping the Mac version consistent and usable!

Many posts in this thread refer to an “OmniFocus 4 beta,” but to be clear we don’t consider the current TestFlight to be a “beta” release yet. We’ve been exploring design directions, and inviting customers to give us feedback on many iterations of these designs as we go along.

At some point we’ll get closer to what we would consider a “beta,” where we’re feature complete and have a cohesive design in place. And as we head towards that goal, we absolutely do want to hear your feedback on each design iteration. But we hope that people testing these early iterations will reserve judgment with regard to the final product, since these are just experiments on the way there!

This process is similar to baking a lasagna. It’s really useful to have people taste things to see whether the pasta is overdone, or the tomato sauce is too spicy, or the ricotta too dry. All of those individual pieces are important, and early feedback on all these things helps us make sure we’re see which experiments are going well and which are going awry. Some of those experiments will need to be tossed out so we can try something different. The real test will be when we’ve declared all the pieces ready, as we bake them all together into their final configuration.


So I haven’t been up on the OF4 news. Seeing these screenshots are very jarring. Things has minimalism down and thats what I prefer. If OF4 continues down that that icon vomit path, im out.

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There is a setting that will let you set what you want to see in the layout. It can be done as a global default setting. You can also have layout settings for each perspective to override the global default.

At first, I checked off all the boxes to see everything. It got way too busy.

I had to discover what I truly wanted to see at first glance. My default layout setting is now set to show the Note icon and the due date. I just wanted to know if there is a note assigned to the task and if there is a due date. Nothing more.

If I need to see more info, I tap on the task to show any other task info that has been assigned.

Only a few of my custom perspectives will have different layout options. For example, my completed perspective shows only the Note icon and the completed date.

That keeps my outline clutter to a minimum and it’s worked out beautifully for me.


Spent some time changing my commonly used perspectives to custom view settings. Worthwhile! I don’t know why I bounced off that earlier. I think guiding users towards adding that way instead of relying on one global setting is going to be important.

One question I have for the group: I have some perspectives where I don’t need to see tags, but when I don’t show tags, it just looks like I forgot to assign tags. What could the UI do to reassure users tags are intentionally withheld? Or should I just give it time?

Love seeing the experimentation, and thank you for letting users in early to get feedback.

I would love to see the friction in organizing reduced with a more modern take on keyboard commands across platforms.

I love Omnifocus, but it doesn’t always love me back.

I agree. I can’t stand the new interface. My problem with the direction Omnigroup is headed in is that they are not innovating any real changes to the usefulness of the app. They are just rearranging the interface elements and tinkering with colors. Other apps have better functionality and really good new ideas for managing tasks and calendars. Omnifocus is the same as it has always been, a database of tasks.
Several of the beta versions I tested actually mentioned things like tweaking the colors of buttons or moving buttons slightly this way or that. To me that is all pointless. I want to see real changes in the app that move it forward. I’ve used Omnifocus forever and it has always seemed to be behind the curve in comparison with other apps. The new version four doesn’t show signs of any real changes as far as I can tell.


Agree! It’s looking more and more like legacy software. The simple fact of not being able to delegate tasks and the poor natural language support is already a deal breaker for many new users.

Yeah I brought up natural language input to Omni support YEARS ago and they told me that it wasn’t something many users were asking for which I found hard to believe. I don’t see any innovation happening here.

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Omnifocus 4 beta is a visual mess

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Exactly. Look at how innovative Todoist is. Look at TickTick. Omnifocus is stalled at bug fixes and rearranging buttons and tweaking colors.

Ah the joy of of sitting behind a screen criticising! I too was critical of OF4 when the beta started, to the extent of deciding if this was the route OF was going I was probably not going to continue despite being a user of many years.

However to the credit of OmniGroup and particularly @kcase my hopefully constructive criticism along with others seems to have been taken on board. The latest iteration is a different beast from the previous one, much more usable, and definitely I believe now on the right track.

What seems to be missing here is that Omni are running separate code bases, the old legacy ones on the Mac app, and the current iOS apps, plus the new one rewritten in Swift for OF4 Beta. That’s no mean feat considering the need to maintain compatibility across the code and databases. It is pretty unreasonable to expect Omni to introduce new features on iOS Swift, which in all probability would need a database upgrade and break the legacy code bases plus of course launch a raft of complaints about how it was not on the Mac version.

My understanding this release was about compatibility between Mac and iOS versions first and foremost, “focus mode” for example, then innovate.

The Beta process, probably better termed an Alpha process has been transparent and open to suggestions, many of which were about tweaking icon positioning probably for not much benefit but that’s what you get I guess when you invite a lot of people to “test” (and I use the word advisedly) something.

Now certainly OF4 is not perfect, OmniGroup are probably paying the price for an ambitious attempt to write a large and complex enterprise app in a new technology and attempting to maintain backward compatibility. I for one would like checklists added to individual tasks, which may or may not come, but I do appreciate its unlikely to come until OF4 for Mac is underway when I believe new features can start to be introduced into an integrated and solid code base.

It pays to remember anonymous criticism without consequence is easy, coding isn’t.


I too felt like that last big update to the TestFlight moved the needle in the right direction! Not perfect by any means but felt a bit more intuitive.

After having iOS15 in my devices, I have got back on the TestFlight program, and have to say that there have been big updates to the UI in OF4 during these weeks --I enrolled at the beginning and unenrolled when iOS15 was a requirement. Taking a step back, I feel the UI is more attractive than the older OF3. I can agree that there is lot of muscle memory to retrain and things to “discover”, but I believe that the direction is right and eventually a user manual will cover all these things.


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