Our recommended apps for the Mac all do a solid job of helping you stay on top of tasks, but each has a different take on how to do it: Some are great at reminding you of what tasks are coming up, others excel at helping you record your notes, and a few stand out in managing tasks for a team.
Most of our choices come in free versions, so you can try one, see if it's a good fit for you, and then go on to the next app if you want to check if there is something better out there.
What to look for in a to-do list app?
The most useful apps can track to-do lists, help you complete tasks on time, remind you of events, keep you organized, and allow you to work on tasks with coworkers. Many also let you set location-based reminders to nudge about something when you reach -- or leave -- a destination.
Most of our picks have a Web counterpart and are available for Windows PCs and Android devices if you are working with a team of people.
Can you sync tasks across platforms?
If you check your tasks on a Mac and iPhone, look for a to-do list app that syncs across all your devices. Most of our picks have iPhone and Android versions, and if you get stuck, you can usually manage your tasks via a website. Many of our selections also have extensions for Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. And some also work with the Apple Watch, letting you view notifications on your wrist.
Can you share tasks and to-do lists with others?
A checklist app is a replacement for a project-management software such as Microsoft Project, but if you are part of a team that just needs to track tasks, share documents, write notes, and assign to-do items, a task app, such as Remember The Milk or Todoist, comes with collaborative tools for managing team projects and could be a perfect fit for your team.
What about free versus paid?
If you only need to manage your own simple to-do lists and keep a few notes, a free to-do list app, such as the Mac's homegrown Reminders app or Google's Keep app, could be up to the task.
But if you are managing a lot of tasks, consider paying for premium features, which can include recurring tasks, subtasks, and tags.
A subscription may also include collaboration tools -- such as team scheduling and project-management -- to help you track tasks across a team. Annual subscriptions start at around $25.
Can you manage your to-do list online?
Nearly all of our picks let you manage your tasks and lists via a Web browser -- or a browser extension -- on a Mac. A few even have Mac apps as well, such as Things from Cultured Code.
Can it work across devices?
You want to check your list wherever you are, so our picks are available, of course, for iPhone and iPad, via a website or as a browser extension, in most cases for Android, and and in some cases as MacOS apps -- with everything synced across devices.
Can I manage a to-do list in another app?
From Apple Mail -- which lets you create reminders via the Share button -- to Todoist that lets you access your tasks from Gmail and Google Calendar via plug-ins, many of our picks work well with other apps, so you can manage your time in a way that makes sense for you. Some also come as browser extensions, so you can keep tabs on your items right from Chrome or Firefox.
1. Any.do (Mac)
The Any.do app comes in a free version of the task manager that can handle to-do items across iPhone and iPad, Android, and the Web version. For $26.99, you can unlock the premium version of the well-designed app and gain the ability to assign tags to tasks, set project colors, share lists with collaborators, create recurring tasks, and set location-based reminders.
2. Evernote (Mac)
It's more than a to-do list manager. Evernote can capture your notes, create checklists, track tasks, set reminders, and save websites you want to visit later. The digital notebook synced everything it holds across your iPhone, iPad, and Mac machines. And you can set reminders to keep track of events. With the free version, you get a monthly upload limit of 60MB and can sync between two devices. Move to 10GB a month for $69.99 a year and sync across every device you have.
3. Google Keep (Mac)
The free Google Keep app is a simple way to take notes, keep lists, make drawings, and store voice recordings and images and then access them from anywhere -- on your iPhone and iPad, through Gmail, via Keep's webpage, and with Keep's Chrome extension. You can also set location-based reminders for your notes, if you want to be notified about something when you arrive at your destination.
4. Microsoft To-Do (Mac)
In 2015, Microsoft acquired the Wunderlist task-manager app and started building its own to-do list based on the ideas found in the popular app. Microsoft's To-Do app, the free successor to Wunderlist, gives you an easy way to track tasks and stay organized. It even has an importer tool if you want to move your Wunderlist data over to To-Do. Unfortunately, it lacks some of the features that made Wunderlist popular, but you can share your to-do lists with anyone who has a OneDrive account.
5. Remember The Milk (Mac)
Don't let the name put you off: Remember The Milk is a powerful to-do list app that won't break a sweat, helping you to remember your grocery items. Create lists, share tasks with coworkers, and build smart lists that automatically update based on criteria you set. Sync your tasks with Microsoft Outlook, view tasks in Apple and Google's Calendar, and create reminders in Evernote that will be added automatically to Remember The Milk lists. For $39.99 a year, subscribe to the pro version to create subtasks for complicated items. Like Microsoft To-Do, Remember The Milk has an import tool for moving your Wunderlist tasks over if you are looking for a new task manager with Wunderlist's impending retirement.
6. Reminders (Mac)
Mac's own Reminders app may be all you need to create to-dos, manage projects, and create lists. You can use it to create a reminder in another iOS app and have Siri create a reminder for you. All your to-do items are synced across all your Apple devices.
7. Things (Mac)
A well-designed and good-looking to-do list app for Apple users, Things from Cultured Code is a handy way to manage projects on iOS and Mac devices. If you are looking to collaborate with colleagues on non-Apple devices, you will want to look elsewhere.
8. Todoist (Mac)
Todoist can easily manage your projects and keep you on schedule. It's available on Mac, iPhones, iPads, Windows, and Android and via the Web and browser extensions, so you can check off tasks from almost anywhere. Todoist comes with collaboration tools, so if you work on a team, you can use the app's group tools to manage projects, share files, assign tasks, and track progress. Everyone on the team needs a Todoist Premium $28.99 account first.
9. Wunderlist (Mac)
Wunderlist from Microsoft is a free, simple, and popular way to keep track of to-do lists and projects. Unfortunately, Microsoft plans to retire Wunderlist, moving its efforts over to its own to-do list software, Microsoft To-Do. While Microsoft intends to keep Wunderlist going for a while, if you use Wunderlist you have the task of moving to another to-do app someday. Microsoft offers an importer tool to transfer Wunderlist data to To-Do. And Remember The Milk has an import tool as well for bringing your data in from Wunderlist.
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