Having a to-do-list app on your mobile phone is essential. Wherever you are, you should be able to see what needs to get done, and you should get appropriate reminders of these tasks, too. Any.do is an elegant and reliable app with a decent free version but better stuff in its paid Pro version (which is what I reviewed). It ranks high among to-do list apps due to its stunning interface and signature feature, the Any.do Moment, which I'll explain below. Any.do doesn't just keep track of your tasks. It also helps you get better at managing them, something only the best productivity apps can do. It's a great to-do app, especially for personal use, but it doesn't quite rival Editors' Choice Todoist. They are similar, but Todoist offers a little more.
Here I describe and analyze Any.do's iPhone app. My review of Any.do's Web service goes into more detail about Any.do's broader capabilities.
Any.do is free to use, although a paid Pro subscription unlocks extra features. It's available as an iPhone app, and also on Android, the Web, and Chrome. Free users can only share one task, and they have limited options for recurring tasks. Free users also don't get location-based reminders.
A Pro account, which costs $5 per month or $45 per year, gives you more features. Note that, Any.do currently offers its service for just $2.99 per month or $26.88 per year, discounts that have been in place for more than a year. Pro subscribers can upload files and attach them to their tasks, set location-based reminders, and add complicated recurring tasks and reminders, such as a task being due every first Friday of the month. They also get more color options to customize the look of the app, and VIP support.
Todoist, our Editors' Choice in the to-do apps category, has similar restrictions on free accounts. Non-paying Todoist members get limited collaboration features (five people per project) and no location-based reminders. A Premium Todoist account costs $28.99 per year, nearly the same as Any.do's discounted price.
Wunderlist charges more for its Pro account, at $4.99 per month $49.99 per year, which is pricey. With a free Wunderlist account, you can assign up to 25 tasks to another person in each shared list. Remember the Milk has a Pro subscription for $39.99 per year. It also has some limited collaboration capabilities in its free version; you can share a list with only two other people.
Any.do is ideal as a personal to-do app, but small businesses might need something heftier. Asana is my favorite task-management and workflow management app for businesses. It costs a lot more, at about $100 per year per person, but you get much more than task lists. It might be overkill for personal use, but it's an Editors' Choice for communication and collaboration tools for small businesses. Asana also has a free version, which is good for teams with fewer than 15 people.
An App That Coaches You
Any.do is both elegant and tech-forward. The iPhone app makes good use of touch gestures, and it has a clean look. It includes time and date reminders, categories (sometimes called projects in other apps), and other basic tools you'd expect in a to-do-list app. Any.do's signature feature, however, is the Any.do Moment.
The Any.do Moment is basically a special type of recurring reminder. When it rings, the app walks you through all the tasks assigned to you for the day. The iPhone app shows you each task, one by one. As you see each task, options below it read Today, Later, Done, and Delete. Choose Today, and the app may ask you to commit to a time if you haven't already assigned one. If you choose Later, the app asks whether you'll do the task tomorrow, in two days, next week, or someday. Tap your answer, and the next task appears. You can schedule an Any.do Moment to happen whenever you want, although every weekday morning is a good default for most people.
What's special about the Any.do Moment is it essentially helps you create a good habit out of reviewing what's on your plate for the day. Your tasks are fresh in your brain. You're forced to actually consider each task before mentally snoozing it. Over time, you might even start to develop a better sense of how many tasks you can reasonably commit to in a day. You might even improve your time-management skills as a result. It's a very simple feature with powerful potential.
Free account holders get five Any.do Moments per month, meaning they can't do it every day and make a habit of it, which is the whole point. Pro users get an unlimited number of Any.do Moments.
Any.do iPhone App Features
The app is well designed and easy to navigate. You can view your to-dos and goals by category (such as personal, work, goals, and so on) or by due date. Dates can be specific, down to a five-minute interval, or general, like "tomorrow" and "someday." You can add a note to any task, attach documents from Dropbox, add an audio recording or voice memo, add subtasks, mark it with a star, and share it with someone. More on sharing in a moment.
A type-ahead function helps you input new tasks and goals quickly. Type "call" and the app suggests "Call back...," "Call mom," and several other options. With permission, Any.do can also tap into your Contacts list and suggest names of people as you start typing, too.
Location-based reminders let you set a reminder for a task for when you are arriving at or leaving a specified location. This capability is for Pro users only, and it works well if you have an exact address or type a location that already exists in Apple Maps. I had a harder time, though, with addresses that didn't show up correctly in Apple Maps. There is no ability to drop a pin on the location on the map (which is what I wanted to do), unless you're already in the spot. Still, once you have a few locations marked, the app saves them for quick reference next time. Overall, Any.do handles location reminders well enough.
The limited collaboration you get as a free Any.do user isn't bad, but it's worth explaining in some detail. Let's say I create a task and share it with Meg. Meg gets an email inviting her to the task. She clicks on the email, and Any.do creates an account for her. She sees the new task in her to-do list, and she sees that I am also on that task. Meg can mark the task as complete. She can mark subtasks as complete. She can add new subtasks, and I can do the same. I can also assign Meg to be the task "leader."
If Meg and I upgrade to Pro accounts, we can share entire lists or projects, meaning we both can write a bunch of tasks and automatically see them appear in our respective apps. We can assign one another tasks as well. When I swipe a shared task to mark it as done, Any.do asks whether it should also be marked complete in the collaborator's task list.
Any.do is an attractive to-do list app for iPhone with a strong free version and a competitive price, if you go by its perpetual discount, at least. I like the Any.do Moment feature quite a bit, but the fact that you're limited to using it only five times per month on a free account defeats its purpose. You'll want a Pro account for full collaboration features and location-based reminders, too. The price for Pro is right, so long as the aforementioned discounts remain in place. At $45 per year list, it's on the high end.
That said, my favorite task manager, and our Editors' Choice, is still Todoist. It doesn't have anything like the Any.do Moment, but it does have excellent reports (for Premium users only) that quantify your productivity and let you see whether you're focusing on the right tasks, and that's just as valuable as seeing a reminder each morning to review all your to-dos.