Any.do for iPhone

Any.do is a free productivity app for iPhone that delivers in just about every way. Its great to look at, easy to use, and effective at helping users get stuff done.

Users begin their experience by signing ineither register for an Any.do account with your email address or sign in using your Facebook account. After that, you can add tasks to your to-do list just by speaking into your phone.

This isnt Siri, exactly, and its not limited to the iPhone 4S: Any phone that can run iOS 4.1 or later will do. Theres a microphone icon on the top left side of the screen. Tap it, speak your desired taskmake eggs, for examplethen tap checkmark on the right side of the screen. (You can also type in the task name, but the voice function works well even in a relatively noisy room.) About a second later, your command will appear as text, along with suggested refinements. My command to make eggs elicited a list that included make deviled eggs as an option.

From there, you have several options for the task:

  • The app defaults on the main screen to listing tasks by four different time periodstoday, tomorrow, this week, and later. Tap the task and hold it to drag the task to the correct day. If you want to further refine the due date, tap the task name, and a menu will appear. Select reminders to schedule the precise date the task is due, then set an alarm so you dont forget. Turn your phone to landscape mode, and a more traditional calendar view of tasks is available.
  • You can also classify the task by type: Any.do comes with two pre-set folderspersonal and workbut new category folders can be easily added. Any.dos main screen can be re-set to feature the categories instead of the schedule view.
  • While you can tap-and-drag the tasks to sort them according to priorityin both the time and category viewsyou can additionally mark an item as a priority task. A thin red vertical band appears on the left side of the screen to highlight that task.
  • Finally, you can add notes to each task. This isnt an extensive note-taking space: Essentially, it serves as a sub-list for your task listitems to check off on your way to completing the main task. Once sorted, you can share a task with a collaborator via email, Twitter or Facebook. Once youve completed a task, you tap the task and swipe right to mark it done.

In either the category or schedule view, the task list is presented in a clean, spare format thatcombined with its tap-and-drag option for tasksmight remind some users of the Clear productivity app. But Clear is basically a list-making app; Any.Do has many more layers of organization. And Any.DO is both easier to use and more pleasing to look at than the native Reminders app in iOS.

Where Any.do falls short, though, is in the narrowness of its ecosystem. The app is designed for the iPhone; theres no iPad version. There is a desktop version, but currently its a web app that works only with the Chrome browserwhich is going to be a pain for Safari users who want to add to and manage their tasks on their Macs.

Its something of a surprise to learn that Any.do actually started life as an Android offering: The app combines usefulness with Apples much-noted liberal arts sense of aesthetics. In spite of its provenance, Any.do is nearly a perfect iOS app.

Joel Mathis is a writer in Philadelphia.

This story, "Any.do for iPhone" was originally published by MacCentral.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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