Microsoft To-Do vs. Wunderlist: Everything You Need to Know
The world of task management and to-do list apps is a competitive space. You have several excellent options to choose from, each of which has its own benefits and drawbacks.
For the last few years, one name that kept popping up when discussing the best-in-class was that of Wunderlist. Between the Android and iOS versions , it’s been downloaded more than 10 million times and has 13 million active users.
Sadly, Wunderlist’s reign is about to come to a screeching halt. In this article, I’m going to look at what’s caused the app’s demise, what its replacement will be, and how you can easily migrate away from the service.
The End of Wunderlist
Wunderlist only launched in 2011, but quickly became one of the biggest names in the sector. Features such as shared to-do lists, comments, subtasks, task assignees, and the deployment of hashtags helped to propel it to stardom.
Such was its success that in June 2015, Microsoft bought the app for a reported $150 million. Users weren’t impressed. Microsoft, like Google, has a long history of purchasing apps only to shutter them a short while later.
Sure enough, in April 2017 Microsoft dropped the hammer. In a blog post, the company announced it would kill off Wunderlist and integrate its features into a brand-new app called To-Do. Microsoft commenting on its plans:
“Once we are confident that we have incorporated the best of Wunderlist into To-Do, we will retire Wunderlist. While the name and icon may change, the team that brought you Wunderlist continues on. We look forward to making To-Do even more useful, intuitive and personal.”
Predictably, Wunderlist’s loyal followers aren’t impressed. But do they have reason to be concerned? What features have already made the jump to the new app? What new functions does it offer? And perhaps most importantly, how can you migrate your data from Wunderlist to the new To-Do app?
What Is To-Do?
The launch of To-Do should come as no surprise. Someone leaked details of the concept — then nicknamed “Project Cheshire” — back in November 2016. At the time, critics attacked it for its seemingly “barebones” approach to list management. Thankfully, it seems Microsoft has added more functionality in the intervening months.
The new Microsoft To-Do app is officially in preview. The full release will happen in the next few weeks. At the time of writing, there’s already an Android, iOS, Windows Store, and web-based version of the app.
Here’s a quick look at To-Do’s two newest features.
1. Intelligent Suggestions
The centerpiece of To-Do is its “My Day” feature. It allows you to add tasks from your general to-do list directly into your daily agenda.
To use the feature, click the Lightbulb icon in the top right-hand corner of the My Day window.
The app will take you to a new screen that lists all your incomplete tasks. To add a task to the day’s list, just click the + icon.
The list of suggestions is “smart,” meaning it uses an algorithm to analyze importance, due dates, upcoming tasks, and other data to establish what you should get done on a given day.
2. Microsoft Office Integration
Microsoft claims To-Do is “built on Office 365”. In practice, it means you can expect to see the app start popping up in more and more of Microsoft’s apps and services over the coming months. You can also expect some of Office 365’s “under the hood” features to be present, including data encryption and advanced security.
At the moment, the only Microsoft service it works with is Outlook Tasks. The entries in the two services automatically sync with each other, meaning you’ll always have your lists on hand.
Presumably, Microsoft will start rolling all its old, disparate task apps into the new To-Do app, meaning we might not see this integration offered for too much longer.
While the two features listed above undoubtedly have value, some key Wunderlist features are yet to make the transition.
Currently, there is no way to work on lists with other users. This significantly hinders its usefulness as a party or event planning tool and renders it almost useless for businesses. Microsoft says the feature is imminent.
2. Third-Party Apps
If you’ve integrated third-party apps such as Zapier or Slack with Wunderlist, you’re in for a shock. As mentioned, at the time of release, the only integration To-Do offers is with Outlook Tasks . Again, Microsoft has promised more integrations are coming, though whether that extends to non-Microsoft products remains to be seen.
Do you want to attach photos or documents to your tasks? Were you a Wunderlist Pro subscriber and used to sync images from your Dropbox account directly on to tasks and notes? You can’t do those things anymore — To-Do limits you to simple notes and checkboxes.
Subtasks and folders are unsupported. The importer tool, which I will come on to in a second, explicitly warns you of the omission if you import Wunderlist tasks that use the feature.
All the tasks might eventually make their way on to To-Do, but Microsoft has not issued a timescale for any of it. You might be waiting for a long time.
How to Migrate From Wunderlist to To-Do
If you want to move your data from Wunderlist to To-Do in the hope Microsoft eventually gets around to adding all Wunderlist’s best features, there’s a convenient importer tool available. The tool also works with Todoist.
To use the tool, head to the website and click Start Importing.
The app will prompt you for your Microsoft Account credentials and will ask for a bunch of authorizations.
Next, choose Wunderlist from the list of apps. Again, you’ll need to agree to give the tool access privileges.
In the new window, choose which notes and lists you want to transfer. Click Select All to move everything.
Lastly, you need to decide how To-Do deals with any subtasks you have. When you’re ready, click Start Importing.
The import process might take several minutes, depending how many notes you have.
Will You Use To-Do?
I’ve introduced you to To-Do and given you a rundown of what you can and cannot expect from Microsoft’s new app.
I’d love to know your thoughts on it. Are you a long-term Wunderlist user who’s distraught about its closure? Will you move to To-Do or look for a different alternative? Or do you have faith in Microsoft to make To-Do a productivity powerhouse?
In the company’s defense, they’ve been getting a lot of things right lately and know how popular Wunderlist is. Surely it would be mad to kill its most-loved features.
You can leave all your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.