Google Tasks Explained

Google's best kept secret is a to-do list inside your inbox

A photo of a chromebook and a smartphone on a desk.

Google, Inc.

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Google Tasks is a free online service that manages to-do lists and is accessed through your Google account. While not as advanced as a dedicated to-do list, Google Tasks keeps track of tasks and subtasks, making it enough to cover most needs.

Information in this article applies to the web version of Google Tasks and to the mobile apps for iPhone and Android smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy series and Motorola Moto.

What Is Google Tasks?

Google Tasks is a place where you can make lists of items or tasks you need to do and cross them out when they are done. You can create multiple lists, so there's a list for the grocery store, one for the hardware store, and a list of tasks that need to be done before you start a remodeling project.

Google Tasks works alongside Google Calendar, so tasks you create for the remodeling project, for example, can have due dates.

Why Would You Want Google Tasks?

Managing paper notes is a tried and true to-do method, but a magnetic grocery list stuck to the refrigerator isn't efficient and sticky notes can litter a desk. Google Tasks is an all-in-one list maker and task organizer, and if you use Google products like Gmail or Google Calendar, you have access to it.

A photo of the Google Tasks app
 Google, Inc.

Google is known for making solid no-thrills products that are simplified and easy-to-use. This describes Google Tasks perfectly. It may not compete with apps such as Todoist or Wunderlist in terms of features, but if you want an app to keep track of shopping lists or to track items on your to-do list, it's perfect. And, it's free.

The best part is that your task lists exist in the cloud and are stored on Google computers and not yours. Access your grocery list or tasks from your desktop PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone and it's the same list. This means you can create the grocery list on your laptop at home and view it on your smartphone while you are in the store.

How to Open Google Tasks in Gmail

The easiest way to access Google Tasks is through the Gmail website. This allows you to use Google Tasks alongside your email and makes it easy to take to-do items emailed to you and move them to Google Tasks.

  1. Open a web browser, go to https://mail.google.com, and sign in to your Gmail account if prompted.

  2. In the side panel on the right, select Tasks (the blue circular icon with a white diagonal dash).

    Screenshot of the Gmail inbox
  3. In the expanded panel. select Add a Task to create a new task. To edit task details, add subtasks, or assign a date to a task, hover over the task and select Edit (the pencil icon).

How to Access Google Tasks in Google Calendar

You can also use Google Tasks to check the status of your tasks and add new tasks while viewing your calendar. By default, Google Calendar is set to show reminders rather than tasks, but it's easy to switch views.

  1. Go to Google Calendar at https://calendar.google.com and sign in to your Google account if needed.

  2. To view tasks in Google Calendar, turn on Tasks view. In the left panel, select My Calendars and choose Tasks. If a date is assigned to a task, it appears on the calendar as a green label.

    A screenshot of Google Calendar
  3. To add and remove tasks, go to the left panel and select Tasks.

Select the green label for a task to see more information. Double-click the green task label to go to the Google Tasks edit screen for that task.

How to Access Google Tasks on Your Smartphone

If you have an Android device or an iPhone, use the Google Tasks app to access your tasks through your smartphone.