Alternative to Apple Reminders on the iPhone for to-do and task lists

Apple Reminders is a good app in many ways and it has some great features, but in some ways it is limited. What are the best alternative apps to Reminders for the iPhone? Here are four.

Why would you not want to use Apple Reminders? One reason is because Apple apps only play nice if everything you have is by Apple. So if you have an iPhone, iPad and Apple Mac, then Reminders is OK. If you have an iPhone and a Windows PC, Reminders is on the iCloud website, but it is awkward to use. If you ever want to switch from the iPhone or ir you have an Android work phone, then that’s another problem.

A to-do list and task manager that is cross-platform is better for some people and I need one that works everywhere.

Another benefit alternative to-do apps offer is easy working with other people, whether this is a partner, family, or work colleagues. Being able to work on tasks within a project with others and assign tasks to them is essential for many people and it can help get work done and help you to be more productive.

The main focus here is on the iPhone app, but these apps are all available on the web, on the computer, on the iPhone and iPad, and on Android phones and tablets. They are everywhere and accessible by everyone. They are also free, although with some you need to pay to unlock all the features.

Microsoft To-Do

Microsoft To-do app on the iPhone

This phone app is attractively designed. It is the best looking app here by far and it has several backgrounds and colour schemes to choose from. It looks great, but the website on a desktop computer is not as visually unexciting.

Tasks is the default to-do list where you add all the tasks that need doing, but you can create other task lists. You could add one for a work project, the weekly shopping list, travel items, and so on. Tasks with checkboxes are then added to the list in the usual way. Lists can be shared with other people and you can get a link and invite them. This is useful for both work and personal lists.

Tap a task and the details screen enables you to set a reminder at some date or time in the future and to set a due date. They are both optional. Files can be added to tasks and this can be a photo on the phone or files selected by the iPhone Files app. Files can access iCloud and other online storage like OneDrive and Google Drive. A note can be added to a task and a star enables it to be marked as important.

There are three views and Planned shows any tasks with due dates, Important shows those marked with a star, and My Day shows tasks you have added to My Day. The idea is that you add tasks that need to be done today to the My Day list, where you can do them and mark them as done. Any not done can be added to tomorrow.

My Day doesn’t really make task management simpler for me because I have to manually move the tasks I didn’t complete yesterday to iy. It creates work because you have to manage the My Day list. However, it can be ignored if you don’t need it.

Task lists can be shared with others, so your shopping list could be shared with a partner or whole family, and a project list with work colleagues. Invitations containing a link can be sent to them. Tasks within a task list can have sub-tasks, so a work list could have one or several project tasks and each one of those could have multiple sub-tasks.

Overall, this is a reasonably good task and to-do manager that is easy to use and has enough features to make it useful for work projects or personal items. It isn’t perfect though.

Google Tasks: Get Things Done

Google Tasks app on the iPhone

The other apps have websites that work like the app, so they can be used on any computer with an internet connection. Google Tasks does not and it is accessed in a browser in a panel on the right of Google services like Gmail, Docs, Drive and so on. This is its best feature and it is right next to you when you are working online.

The iPhone app however, has a slightly disappointing score in the App Store, which is well below the others. This could be due to its minimalist design and range of features compared to rival apps.

You create lists and then tasks or to-dos are added to them. Each task can have sub-tasks and this is useful for breaking down complex tasks into smaller steps or milestones. Tasks and subtasks can have a note attached to them and you can set a due date. They can be ticked off as they are done.

Unlike the other apps, task lists cannot be shared. However, it is easy to switch accounts if you have multiple Google accounts, like work and personal.

To my eyes, the iPhone app has a very plain and dull design and it does not look attractive. It lacks features compared to the other apps, but you may find the web integration with Gmail, Docs and Google’s other online services makes it convenient and useful in a desktop browser. While writing this article in Google Docs, I can open Google Tasks in a panel on the right and quickly add tasks. These are synced to the iPhone app.


Todoist app on the iPhone

Todoist is available everywhere, on the web in a browser, on computers, phones and tablets. No matter what you use, you can access your Todoist to-do list and the dark theme it uses is very popular these days.

Some apps have lists, some have workspaces, this one has projects. Create a project and then you can items to it. A project can be a parent or child project, so you can have projects within projects. Other people can be invited to projects (5 for free, 25 for a Premium account), so you can share them with your partner, work colleagues and so on.

To-do items and tasks are added to projects. A due date can be set for tasks and also a priority can be set using four colour coded flags. Premium accounts can also add comments, set reminders and add labels to tasks. Where Todoist stands out is in the different ways that tasks can be viewed. Today shows tasks due today, and Next 7 Days shows the week ahead with tasks listed on the days of the week they are due. This is very useful.

There are also filters that show tasks assigned to you (where several people have access to a project), tasks assigned to others, tasks with a particular priority and those with no due date. Premium users can create their own custom filters.

Like the other apps, Todoist is free to use, with some limitations that probably won’t bother many users. The paid app provides more features than some rivals, but you have to pay $3 a month. That isn’t much and it is a fairly cheap app.


Taskade app on the iPhone

This is the least well known app here, but it has features to match the others and in some places it exceeds them. I looked at the web-based version of Taskade here, so I will keep this brief because the iPhone app offers the same features, but on a smaller screen.

Basically, Taskade is visually attractive and text can be formatted with bold, italic, sizes, colours, emoji and more. Comments can be added and files attached. There are workspaces and work projects or family groups can be created and shared with people. You can assign people to tasks and those tasks assigned to you can be listed.

There are some limitations with a free account, and a $7 monthly subscription unlocks all features and removes limits. It is expensive compared to Todoist and it lacks the daily, weekly and other views.

The best Reminders alternative

Microsoft To-Do looks nice, but My Day should be automated, not manual and it is an irritation more than a useful feature. A future update may fix this.

Google Tasks is best when working with Google services online in a desktop browser. The iPhone app is unexciting and lacks features the others have.

The choice is between Taskade and Todoist. Both are good in their own way. The interfaces are very different and Taskade looks very nice and has better collaboration features. Todoist has more ways to view your to-do tasks, with daily, weekly, priority and other views. A paid account is cheaper too. Todoist wins, but I really like Taskade too.