OmniFocus Apple Watch complications and app need work

I have had my Apple Watch for about a month now and my biggest disappointment is the implementation of OmniFocus.

The app itself is really cumbersome and offers little in the way of organisation that is possible within all other versions of the app. To me it’s not even structured around the whole idea of using deferred tasks over setting due dates. Here is a normal interaction to get to my “next actions” complication:

Open app
Scroll the crown down and hope that the perspective is open on my iphone
Click “next actions”
See a list of projects
Click project
See a list of tasks for that project
The go back and check the others

How is this going to make my life easier than pulling out my phone?

I would much prefer to open the app and see a list of perspectives and then pick the one I want and then see all tasks for that perspective - like the ios app itself.

My other issue is with the app complication. I find little encouragement to get to zero tasks left each day because then I have to walk around with a big purple 0 on my watch face for the rest of the day. I really like the complication design where a small icon is above the number, then if it reaches zero it can just change to the OmniFocus icon.

What are others thoughts?

It’s definitely easier to use your iPhone for navigating to lists of tasks. I think it’s by design.

The watch is for a VERY SHORT list of tasks; short enough you can see at a glance. Things that are due today, or things that are at a location where you are.

It’s not for viewing ALL your tasks or managing anything. And IMO it shouldn’t be. Apple is very clear that the watch isn’t a second phone, and I think Omni Group is taking their queue. There are so many things you can’t do on the watch, but there are a few things it’s very good for. Focusing on the latter is probably the right call.


I get that it for quick interactions but it would be nice to at least have the ability to choose a different perspective to have focus on than the same that becomes the widget on the phone. Look at an app like Fantastical for its control over the Apple Watch.

I couldn’t agree more. I wrote my thoughts on potential watchOS updates for watchOS 3 but never really got much feedback. I’ve pasted it below.

Jun 22
With watchOS3 having been reimagined by Apple I think OmniFocus on the watch could use some tweaks as well.

I feel like choosing a perspective on your phone kind of defeats the purpose of using OF on the watch. Not to mention that 75% of the time my chosen perspective disappears (most likely a watchOS bug). I really dislike the fact that my compilations, glance, perspective choice and today widget on iPhone are all tied to one choice. Omni has always been really great about giving users choices (custom styles, custom columns) and I would love that choice to be reflected here. I think it would be cool to be able to choose 5 of your favorite perspectives to show up on the watch app and live there all the time. On top of that it would be cool to have a sixth one show up by selecting it on the phone.

Also, with glances being axed, I’d love to see the dock snapshot be able to show me me my tasks from the dock switcher instead of the home screen. With the watch experience being based on glance able interactions I think seeing my action list here is a must.

Another pain point with the watch app is when I’m working around the house and want to add a new tasks via the watch and then flag it immediately is I have to force touch, dictate, save, go to back to my inbox and then flag. It would be nice to flag it immediately after it is created instead of going to my inbox to flag it. Does that make sense? Cultured Codes “Things” app on watch does this really well.

Another pain point is that tapping on a compilation or glance always brings me to the home screen. I’d love to see it bring me into the last screen I was using as it usually is where I head after the home screen anyway.

Having the ability to defer something to tomorrow or switch the due date with the digital crown would be huge.

With watchOS3 Apple has redesigned the activity and weather apps so you don’t have to swipe left to get more info on your specific rings or weather cities. Instead they are moving to an up-and-down approach where all info is contained on one screen. Instead of swiping through, it is a continuous vertical scroll. When I go into one specific task I’d love the ability to swipe to the next task with the crown.
Apple said something about sprite kit that allows for animations. I’d love to see OF add some kind of animation for completing actions. It may seem strange but it really gives the user a real sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Cultured Codes “Things” app on watch does this really well. They have really beautiful animations.
I’d love to see tasks disappear when checking them off (with an animation!). With such a small screen and a large task lists, having the tasks stay on the screen after they have been marked as complete can really detract from the user experience.

I’m so glad you agree. Everything you have written suggests to me that you are thinking about it just as much as I am and I would be very happy to use what you have suggested.

I have been trying some different perspectives this week just to try and make the watch app more functional. I have just about come to the realisation that I may as well just pull my phone out - the watch app is just too slow to navigate to see the information in need.

I also feel like the developers cannot be using the app or they would immediately see that it just doesn’t work the way it is set up.