Seeking recommendation from people who have used several to-do apps

I am currently using Wunderlist, but now I’m worried about the fact that Microsoft plans to stop it (because of their new To Do app), so I’m looking at other options like 2Do, Things, Todoist, etc.—and, of course, OF. (And I’m posting here because other OF threads indicate people have looked into others apps and I’m not sure of a better forum to ask in.)

I’m hoping I could get some recommendations based on some specific criteria I want in a to-do app:

  1. syncing reliability between multiple devices (iPhone, Mac, iPad) --I expect all apps will have bugs of some sort but I’d like the syncing to be as reliable as possible so that I can trust that if I add something to the app, it’s actually there.
  • due dates and reminders (bonus cool things would be defer dates, repeat every # days, repeat after # days)
  • folders or some other way to group tasks (bonus would be adding multiple tags, rather than just one context)
  • unlimited tasks (just because the free version of some apps do limit the number of tasks/projects; irrelevant if I upgrade)
  • cost – I made do with Wunderlist so I’d like to make do with another free app (especially because I don’t know if it’ll stick) but I am willing to pay!

Extra cool things:

  • Siri integration (I improvise with Reminder right now)
  • Shared lists (not just sending a list but accessing the same one; I could improvise with another app)
  • Mac keyboard shortcut to quickly add to-dos
  • Today smart list
  • sorting feature
  • flagging/multi-level priority feature)

I used Wunderlist as a complement to Omnifocus and was very disappointed with Microsofts first try at making a replacement. My use of OF is a bit odd, as I prefer to have syncing turned off and have all data stored locally, but I have found it convenient to have another app, with syncing, as an inbox for small, easy tasks that I would like to do soon. Wunderlist worked very well for me, but it turned out that Ticktick ( works even better. It is available on all platforms you could think of, and it has a very clean and functional design. The presentation of long notes is especially attractive to me. Syncing has been immediate and flawless for me. To me, Ticktick does everything Wunderlist does even better. I think you could check off most or all of the criteria and cool things you are looking for in Ticktick.

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It’s great timing you should mention TickTick here, since I’ve been just checking out the application. And I have to say: I’m incredibly impressed.

First off, TickTick does so many things right, I don’t even know where to begin. For starters, the app is fast, really fast. Both the web app and the iOS app. Syncing is instant, updating is instant, everything just zips along. Then there’s the interface: it’s very clean and neatly designed. It’s got folders, lists, and sublists. And through a combination of Hidden and Closed lists, you pretty much have full viewing control.

Then there’s the calendar. It’s very nifty and gives you a top-level perspective and many different views. Drag and drop is included, among other cool little tricks.

I really love the Summary (in beta for now) as well. It gives you a log of completed tasks which you can annotate. Very clever, and it works wonderfully to review the past.

Then there’s the iOS app. Honestly, it’s probably one of the best designed apps I have ever had the pleasure of using. Not in terms of superficial beauty, see: Things, but in terms of functionality. Entering tasks and moving around the app is easy and again super-fast. What’s more, the smart date options (Morning, Evening, Tomorrow, etc.) combined with an extensive reminder system easily replace Due.

Overall, a lot of thought went into this application. Don’t be fooled for a moment: the developers have really created a solid system here. It may look like Todoist but it does much more and is much more clever.

If TickTick had true start dates and a true review system, it would be the unsung hero of productivity and a complete powerhouse.

One final very important thing to note, though: it does not encrypt anything.


Thank you two for the responses! I’m looking into TickTick and it does seem wonderful.

This is a 1 hour podcast that you can stream or download about this subject:

If you just want to read the transcript, there is a link on the same web page to view the transcript.

I saw you post this on another thread. It’s helpful! And now I’m subscribed to their podcasts. I don’t think it helps me narrow choices as much as I want though.

Thankfully, there are trial demos available to help you decide. Everyone will feel comfortable with different apps.

Things 3 is beautiful in its streamlined approach. OmniFocus 2 works well for many users who visit these forums. Asana and Todoist seems to work best for users who needs to share lists. Ticktick does seem like a more-than-capable task manager.

I just saw another app called FireTask Pro that announced a completely brand new re-write earlier this week.

I think Firetask would’ve been the one I would’ve used if I didn’t finally master OmniFocus. The integrated kanban view was something I’ve always wanted in OmniFocus.

The problem is setting aside the time to try out each app for at least one to two weeks to really get a feel for what you want.

I always figured these purchases as just a part of my life expenses. I’m buying different apps and hopefully I’ll find one sooner rather than later (and a lighter wallet). It’s like trying to find a gym that you like to work out in. Each gym has their own vibe and their own community. You might like the first gym you visit or you might like the fifth gym.

Could you reply back with what you found? I’m curious about different viewpoints… Thanks.


I can definitely reply back once I leave Wunderlist and find an app to stick with! I’m curious about different viewpoints as well, so I love how many people share on these forums. Thanks again for those suggestions.

I’d never heard of TickTick before now so took a quick look. The first thing I noticed is that it is a “freemium” app, i.e. you need a Pro subscription to unlock most of its power. The cost is $28 annually in the USA or where I live in Australia, $41 which is not cheap. I’m not a fan of subscription models.

Beware of searching for the “perfect” personal productivity app. It can become a never-ending project that just wastes time.


In the Asian Efficiency podcast, the hosts have the idea that “if you can find an app that will do 80% of what you want, that’s good enough. You’ll find other apps to fill in the other 20%.” It’s the old 80/20 rule in effect.

OmniFocus is powerful enough for about 80% of what we need. The remaining 20% can be taken up by an AppleScript if you’re savvy enough to get into that. Otherwise, hopefully you might find someone else that already made an AppleScript to do what you want. There definitely isn’t a perfect app for any of us.

Neither am I and that is one of the downsides of most web-based to do apps.

However, I made a quick calculation of the number of years I’ve used OmniFocus on all platforms with all upgrades, and I compared it to TickTick’s pricing. It was about the same, actually.

My biggest concern about the app is that it does not encrypt everything. And since most of us have their entire life in the app, so to speak, this is an issue for me. Secondly, Omni has been around for a long time and it has a solid reputation. I value that highly. I’m not sure what the TickTick team’s background is—Chinese for sure—but I don’t want to wake up one day and discover that they’re gone, bought, or hacked.

That being said, some of TickTick’s features are very, very good. The reminders in particular. Or how you can quickly reschedule on the iOS app with the smart times. Currently, I’m using a combination of OF and Due. If OF had quick and granular time-based reminder settings, I could put everything in OF. TickTick pretty much allows for this.

@PeterW and @sprclldr, you’re right.

Even if I don’t find a subscription fee at $ 28 to be deterrent for a service I appreciate, I don’t like subscription models either. But as the free version is more than enough for my needs, I was more concerned about if they made enough money to stay in business. I was calmed by the fact that they have a version for almost every platform that exists, and thereby seems serious about the business.

I also noted the lack of encryption, but as I only use Ticktick for small, non-confidential tasks, that was not a problem to me.

To me, Ticktick works nicely as a complement to Omnifocus. Some might find it good enough to be their main to do-app. Personally, I wouldn’t even think of replacing Omnifocus with any other app. Even if the development sometimes seems disturbingly slow, Omnifocus is by far the best to do-app I have found, and the only one that has all the features that I need. I have stopped looking for apps to replace it, I’m just looking forward for it to become even better. I also appreciate this forum and The Omni Group’s great support.

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Pretty much totally agree with you, @Jan_H.

There are a number of things OF does that no other application does as well as OF: defer dates, the review process, multiple hierarchies, etc. But above all, it’s the flexibility: I have it set up entirely how I want to. And I understand that this blank canvas is daunting for newcomers since everything has to be created from scratch. But when you finetune the engine and get it running smoothly, nothing really compares to OF. And of course, Omni is dedicated, trusted, and committed to improving the application. There’s a trust in place there.

I do wish for certain extra features, but they’re not an absolute must and they certainly won’t have me jumping blindly to another application.


Regarding Firetask. I’m not really in the market for a new task manager, but they have a free mac demo, so I downloaded it. Window comes up, very blank and almost certainly with missing elements, and an internal error is caught upon any action I tried. So that’s a not recommended.


I downloaded it just out of curiosity because @wilsonng mentioned it. But it was, for me, all over the place: colours, bubbles, icons, pill buttons, etc. It feels incredibly busy to me and very hard to get an overview. Probably the most convoluted interface I’ve seen in the GTD app space.

I do like Firetask’s Kanban idea, although I don’t use this often.

In my limited time with Firetask, the trial demo seems to be working.

Switching from one app to another app can be a jarring experience. Working for a long time in your current app of choice brings a sense of comfort and security. I know where everything is and I know what to do. But switching to another app that has a completely different workflow can be uncomfortable. But thankfully the demo periods will be generous with at least a 14 or 30 day trial period.

I remembered demoing Things 2 and liked it. Afterwards, I demo’d OmniFocus 1. OmniFocus was difficult because I was being introduced to ideas such as contexts, perspectives, start dates, and review dates. It kinda made sense but it didn’t really sink in until I took the time to figure out how to change my workflow to OmniFocus. It was overwhelming at first but trying these new ideas took time to get the hang of.

Trying out different apps is a test of patience. Yes, we’re looking for that magic app that “just makes sense to me.” But sometimes being introduced to foreign concepts is a worthwhile adventure.

Looking at Firetask, I just recently developed a project in OmniFocus to figure out how to incorporate the personal kanban idea into my workflow to see how it fits. But that’s another post for another day. ;-)

So I think I’ve decided. And I’m grateful for all the input from y’all.

My boyfriend and I have transferred all our tasks to Todoist, as we do share some lists. And I’m finding Todoist cooler in some ways and lamer in others, compared to Wunderlist. I like that the free version of Todoist gives me enough in the list limit (80 I think) to put in my workflow. I like the four priority levels and the colorful lists. I can live without reminders as long as there’s due dates and a today view. It’s not as convenient to add notes, but I can still do so by indenting a task under it and writing whatever there.

One thing I don’t understand yet is how tasks on the Today view are by default sorted (I know I can also reorder the Today tasks myself). Does someone here know? Wunderlist sorted them following the way I ordered my lists. As far as I can tell, tasks with due times or higher priority do move to the top.

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I’m late to the dance, but I was a committed Todoist user until I became frustrated with its shortcomings. I reluctantly switched to OmniFocus, primarily due to the price, but have found it to be invaluable. It is the first or second app that I look at every morning.


Hard to make generally relevant recommendations – this class of software inevitably encodes a set of assumptions about working contexts.

Employees with inboxes that fill with demands for attention and work mainly originating elsewhere will be dealing with one kind of information flow …

Employers trying to think ahead about a changing interface between a company and the rest of a society will be dealing with another …

A swiss army knife can have some kind of use in many contexts, but will rarely be the best tool for the job.