We juggle a great deal of information and responsibility these days, and while some of us can get by with keeping everything in our heads, many stand to benefit from keeping a to-do list.
Fortunately, there are no shortage of Android apps in the Play Store dedicated to precisely this. Here are nine of them, including Google’s software, subscription-based services, and account-free local apps.
You’re using Android, so there’s a pretty good chance that you also have a Google account. Here are some ways you can use the login you’ve already created to stay on top of your tasks.
Google Now (Free)
Google Now is your trusty companion that dishes out useful notifications and information cards when it thinks you need them. It pulls this information automatically from your history and usage patterns, but you can also put it to work directly. Just say, “Ok Google, remind me to…” and it will ask you when or where you would like your reminder to appear.
Google Now is great for those tasks that you don’t want to forget later in the day, but it’s not exactly good for building a list. For that, Google has another app.
What’s one of the most trusted to-do list managing methods around? Sticky notes. Google Keep digitizes this approach into a friendly form for PCs and mobile devices.
You can jot down a reminder onto a single note or create basic lists with items that you can check off. If you don’t want to forget about a particular task, you can tell Keep to shoot you a notification at a time of your choice.
Inbox by Gmail (Free)
I hear you — isn’t Inbox by Gmail for email? Yes, yes it is. But unlike traditional email clients, it turns each message into a task. When you’re finished with something, you don’t mark it “read”, you check it off as “done”. You can even pin messages you want to act on later so that you don’t forget them.
But what’s more telling is the inclusion of reminders. You can create them inside the app and have them show up alongside the rest of your mail. Since these apps are all integrated, you can see the ones you’ve created using Google Now here as well.
The biggest downside here is that Inbox is currently invite-only, though you can ask around for invites or send an email straight to Google. Invites are generally not so hard to come by.
Google’s apps give you plenty to work with out of the box, but if you’re looking for something powerful, you’re going to have to look elsewhere.
A number of companies have made managing to-do lists their bread and butter. You have to sign up to use their apps, but much of the functionality is available for free. These services offer the most power and cross-platform compatibility for the more dedicated to-do listers among us, with all of the options below syncing between PCs and mobile devices with ease.
Wunderlist (Free, Pro – $4.99 per month)
Wunderlist’s main purpose is to serve as a place for you to create lists and share them with others. You can assign tasks to people, set reminders, and set things to repeat. Much of this functionality is shared among its competitors, so if you’re looking for one thing that sets Wunderlist apart, consider its sense of style. The unique visuals will either attract you or push you away right from the beginning.
Todoist (Free, Premium – $29 per year)
Todoist stands in stark contrast to Wunderlist. The interface is flat, white, and largely bare. All that matters here is your ability to create tasks and organize them however you wish. Want labels and filters? You can find them here, along with the ability to organize things into projects, create sub-tasks, leave notes, and attach files. If you want power, you can find it here.
Remember the Milk (Free, Pro – $25 per year)
Todoist. Wunderlist. Can you suggest something that’s a little less obvious with its name? Sure. There’s Remember the Milk, an app that… okay, its name is pretty straightforward too.
This particular service gives you another place to save lists, organize them, set reminders, and get your life in order. It has the advantage of having been around longer than any other app or service on this page, including Google’s.
Sometimes you just don’t want to deal with the fuss. Do I really need to juggle yet another account just to stay on top of my shopping list? Forget folders and tags — I just want something basic! These apps should fit the bill.
To-Do List (Free)
To-do List is what you want if you’re running Android 5.0 and need precisely zero bells and whistles. With a sleek, Material Design-inspired interface, this app looks right at home with Google’s own creations. That’s all it has going for it, though. Well, that and a widget you can leave on your homescreen. You get a single list, the ability to set priority, and nothing else.
EveryDay (Free, Pro – $2.99 per month)
Okay, EveryDay is more account optional, as it prompts you to create one when you first launch the app. But doing so is only necessary if you wish to backup your tasks online or use the web app.
Even if you opt out, you still have access to an app with a fair amount of the functionality offered by the services above. You get to make lists, create sub-tasks, set reminders, leave notes, and tinker with other things that can help you stay structured.
While SplenDO maintains the usual set of features, it has a pleasant user interface that sets itself apart. Most functions are clearly visible in the action bar, and there’s a particular interest placed on using your voice to create tasks.
It comes with widgets, smart notifications, and enough features to prove that you don’t need an account to get a good system going.
Which To-Do List App Is The One For You?
There are no shortage of ways to make to-do lists on an Android device. Some people prefer to scribble down notes in a basic text editor or settle down on an app that is only marginally more complex, such as Google Keep or To-Do List. Others want the cross-platform support and powerful features found in the likes of Remember the Milk, Todoist, or Wunderlist. If you aren’t already set in your ways, the innovative approaches Google has introduced through Google Now and Inbox by Gmail may just be all you need to stay on top of things.
If you feel like you’re wandering around in the dark here, maybe you should first consider how a to-do list can help you be productive in the first place.
And these are far from the only options out there. Feel free to chime in below with your own personal recommendation if you have one!