8 Best To-Do List Apps

Best online, mobile, and desktop apps for managing your To-Do Lists

To-do lists are essential for helping many of us stay organized and productive. Sometimes even just the act of writing something down can help you achieve your goals or at least reduce the weight of that task from your mind.

We've curated some of the best online, mobile, and desktop applications for managing your tasks, chosen because of their multi-platform capabilities, their ease of use, and their rich features sets.

These items aren't presented in any specific order. We've chosen to present them according to use case.

Best for the Microsoft Ecosystem: Microsoft To Do

Microsoft To Do

 Microsoft

What We Like
  • Free.

  • Deep integration into Microsoft ecosystem.

What We Don't Like
  • Not as full-featured as Wunderlist, which it replaces.

  • Some recurrence patterns aren't optimal.

Microsoft To-Do is the follow-up version of the Wunderlist app that the Redmond-based giant purchased a few years ago. It's a consumer-facing app, but it integrates into Microsoft Outlook through a Microsoft Account.

To-Do focuses on simplicity. Group tasks into various lists and sort each list separately. The app supports a series of recurrences and due dates, as well as additional context.

Microsoft To-Do is free to use. It supports desktop, web, iOS/iPadOS, and Android apps.

Best for Free-Form Notes: Microsoft OneNote

OneNote
What We Like
  • Free.

  • Infinitely flexible.

  • Supports tagging.

  • Hooks into Microsoft Outlook.

What We Don't Like
  • Not optimized for complex task management.

  • Slow to sync if you use a lot of notebooks.

Microsoft OneNote, like its competitor Evernote, offers a blank canvas for note taking. It's not a task-management suite, per se, but what sets it apart is support for three different kinds of simple task workflows.

Use tags to mark items as tasks within OneNote—those items, optionally, sync with Microsoft Outlook. Alternatively, use simple checkboxes to develop lists that don't sync. And the tagging system means you can just take some passage and give it a task-themed tag, then later discover all those tags in a unified view.

OneNote is free to use and multiplatform.

Best for Power Users: Todoist

Android Todoist
What We Like
  • Powerful, with complex rules for precise task management.

  • A karma system offers encouragement to keep working.

What We Don't Like
  • No meaningful integrations except through services like Zapier.

  • Annual subscription to unlock power tools.

Todoist is the go-to platform for people who want to access tasks in a variety of formats (web, app). Its powerful under-the-hood sync engine works fast, and the platform offers highly precise due dates and nested categories and tags.

If you want a customizable system that's not enterprise-server dependent, Todoist is your best bet. Plus, its karma system—earn points for completing tasks, lose points for being late or not checking the list—gamifies the productivity mindset.

Todoist supports web, desktop, and mobile apps, and it offers an annual subscription to unlock additional features.

Best for Plain Text: Todo.txt

todo.txt

Todotxt.com

What We Like
  • True data portability.

  • It's a system, not (necessarily) an app.

  • Highly customizable.

What We Don't Like
  • Higher barrier to entry for people not accustomed to text-based approaches.

  • Cross-platform syncing can take additional effort.

Before smartphones and even before graphical user interfaces were common, computing pioneers used their machines to store their tasks. Early on, people used plain-text files—and that legacy lives on with the Todo.txt platform.

Considered broadly, Todo.txt isn't so much an application as it is an informal standard for organizing task information in a plain-text format. Although TodoTxt.org offers apps, you could just as easily manage your tasks from, e.g., Emacs or Vim or Visual Studio Code.

The logic model is, of course, free and open source.

Best for Mobile: Any.do

Any.do promo image

Any.do

What We Like
  • Multi-platform, multi-task ecosystem.

  • Includes apps for devices like watches.

What We Don't Like
  • Premium model includes some essential task-management tools.

  • Proliferating apps can get confusing.

The go-to, award-winning platform for task management that's optimized for mobile happens to be Any.do—although the platform supports a variety of devices including desktop apps, web apps, and even wearable apps.

The any.do ecosystem consists of several related apps, to manage tasks, calendars, shopping lists and grocery lists.

The platform is free to use, but the most useful power tools, including task coloring and customized recurring patterns, require a monthly subscription.

Best for Teams: Asana

Asana's Project Workspace. Used with permission.
What We Like
  • Optimized for teams, not individuals.

  • Intuitive user interface.

What We Don't Like
  • Infrastructure can get overly complex.

  • Powerful, but best for mid-sized teams with strong task discipline. Not ideal for just casual tasks.

Asana is a well-regarded, standard platform for team-based project management. You won't use it for your own shopping list, but if you're in a workgroup or an organization that needs to bring order out of chaos, Asana works wonders.

The free version is great for individuals and teams, although per-user/per-month charges accrue quickly as needs scale up.

Asana's most often used on the web, but it supports iOS/iPadOS and Android apps as well.

Best for GTD Workflows: Toodledo

What We Like
  • Powerful and intuitive.

  • Solid desktop display.

What We Don't Like
  • The user-interface design is a bit dated, and mobile apps offer a cluttered appearance.

  • Stand-alone ecosystem.

Toodledo, a longstanding task manager, offers a powerful and well-structured framework for organizing and scheduling tasks.

It shines on the desktop. Although the platform supports Android and iOS/iPadOS apps, they're not well-designed.

Toodledo offers location-based reminders, alarms, and related standard tools. Plus, it's free to use.

Best for Quick Reminders: Google Keep

Google-Keep.PNG

Google

What We Like
  • Free and easy to use.

  • Deeply integrated with Google services.

  • Great for light tasks and lists.

What We Don't Like
  • Not optimal for complex task management.

  • Google has a habit of axing apps, making lock-in a risky proposition.

Google Keep is easy to use and, if you're already enmeshed in Google's app-and-service ecosystem, it's already at your disposal.

Keep is best considered as a light note-taking and reminder system. It handles simple tasks well, including shopping lists. Like richer note-taking tools like OneNote, it's not optimized for complex task management. But if all you need is a simple flagging system for Android or Chrome, Keep's an obvious choice.

It's free to use and multi-platform. It requires a Google Account.