Serious list makers do not take their task-management apps lightly. We want an app that supports all the basic functionality that we’ll need, and maybe throws in a little color or a signature feature, without going crazy with the flare. Let’s not get carried away here, people. Any.do (free) is an iPhone app that hits all those primary concerns while giving users just a little bit more to explore (there’s also an Any.do Android app and Any.do Chrome extension).
Any.do is a sophisticated task-management app that includes time and date reminders, as well as geolocation reminders (although this feature is for the iPhone version only), which work surprisingly well. I set up a reminder to take photos when I reached a certain street corner in my neighborhood, and the Any.do app sent me an alert on my iPhone 5 when I was about a block away. I was on my bicycle at the time heading home, so I ignored it, but 30 minutes later when I walked my dog down the same block, the alert reappeared. I’ve tested other apps that use geolcation reminders and found they’re not always so reliable. Will you get one alert and one alert only? How far from the address must you be for the notification to trigger? Simply put, I really liked how Any.do handled it.
The real signature feature for Any.do, though, is called the Any.do moment. It’s basically just a setting that reminds you at the same time of day for whichever days you set, to review your upcoming to-dos. I enabled my Any.do moment for Monday through Friday, 6:50 a.m., when I’m routinely sitting in my kitchen drinking coffee and planning out my day: packing my lunch, scrolling through Twitter to see what I missed while I was asleep, and so forth. The first time I did an Any.do moment, I was surprised that it only took a couple of seconds to do. The app says on screen that it’s time to review your day, then it shows you one by one all the tasks you have scheduled for that day. As each one appears, you have an opportunity to change it if necessary, or leave it as-is. The idea behind this feature is to make a habit of reviewing your daily to-do list, and I think the app actually manages to get it done. Habits are one of the hardest things to adopt or change, and it’s neat to see it actually work via a free iPhone app.
Another neat feature in the Any.do iPhone app is that it suggests other apps that might help you get a task done if it finds an appropriate keyword in your task or goal. For example, I had a note reminding me to finish writing a blog post, and Any.do offered up a list of blogging apps that I might use to complete the task. Handy.
Back to Basics
The core features in Any.do work just as well as the exciting stuff, although when the app first debuted, it wasn’t quite this way. In the early Any.do days, I thought the app tried too hard to put forth a compelling visual and interactive design that it fell short on the basics. Not anymore. It’s apparent that the developers take user feedback to heart, and there are only a few minor issues I have with the present implementation.
You can view your to-dos and goals either by category (such as personal, work, goals, etc.) or by due date. Dates can be specific, down to the minute, or general, like “tomorrow” and “someday.” Each category or date name expands and collapses, which lets you navigate this main screen easily. See the slideshow for examples.
A well designed auto-complete helps you input new tasks and goals quickly. Type “run” and the app might suggest “Go for a run,” “Run the dishwasher,” and several other options. You can add a note to any task, mark it as important, tie a deadline to it, and share it with one of your contacts.
One oddity is that to cross off a task, you have to swipe left to right, whereas the convention in most countries is to swipe right to left to delete (or that the direction doesn’t matter). Another minor issue: If you add or change a reminder on a task, the page where you set the time and date doesn’t show the name of the task. If you’re working through a long list during your Any.do moment, it’s easy to forget what task you opened and not know what deadline you need. Neither of these criticisms are showstoppers, though.
Any.do doesn’t include a calendar view, although a separate calendar app called Cal and made by the same developer is in beta now, due out soon. I’d rather see the calendar view integrated right into Any.do, but an affiliated app is a close second.
In little more than a year, Any.do has come a long way in terms of upping its relevance among task-management apps. The Any.do moment and geolocation features in the iPhone version are so strong, you could warrant using this to-do list app for them alone.
My favorite task-manager, and our Editors’ Choice, is still Awesome Note ($3.99, 4 stars), which does include a calendar view, but doesn’t support geolcation reminders. However, Awesome Note can sync both to and from Evernote, our Editors’ Choice for note syncing, giving you a backup of your to-dos.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc