To do lists help you remember tasks, prioritize them, and generally keep track of your work and life. Whether it's work assignments, books you want to read, or groceries you need to pick up, you won't remember them if you don't write it down.
And to organize your life in the digital age, pen and paper may not cut it. Since you always have your phone and possibly your tablet with you, it makes sense to find a to do list app that's made for your iPhone or iPad. And thanks to the App Store, there's no shortage of them.
But which ones deserve a spot on your home screen? Can you make do with a freebie, or are you prepared to shell out for the best of the best? Let's take a look at the best to do list apps for iPhone.
What Makes a Great iPhone or iPad To Do List App?
Above anything else, a to do list app needs to be easy to use. Capturing, managing, and checking off your tasks has to be straightforward, even if the app in question is aimed at power users.
Each of the apps featured here fits a use case of casual, mid-range, or professional.
Casual apps are aimed at personal users, consisting of mostly free apps with an emphasis on the basic features. This includes things like the ability to create multiple lists, add due dates, and assign alerts.
Mid-range applications may be free or paid, often with an in-app purchase required to enable the full feature set. None of these apps are particularly expensive, though they include more advanced features like collaboration, sub-task generation, and repeating tasks.
Professional apps are aimed at power users who demand the very best tools to manage just about anything in their personal or professional lives. This includes project management, the ability to delegate tasks to team members, and the archiving of items for later review. These apps often have price tags to match their all-encompassing feature sets.
Some apps on the list were chosen for their unique approaches to to do list management. Think: incentivizing task completion beyond the simple satisfaction of striking an item off a list or bringing a calendar and to do list together under a single application.
Because some apps are better at certain tasks than others, there's no shame in using more than one to manage your schedule—particularly if you want to separate your work and personal to do lists. Better to find an app that can satisfy a specific task, rather than making sacrifices in order to keep everything within a single piece of software.
The Best iPhone and iPad To Do List Apps
Reminders for users who are loyal to Apple
OmniFocus for power users who work alone
Any.do for cross-platform users looking for an all-in-one organizer
Things 3 for mid-tier users who work alone
Todoist for cross-platform users who value collaboration
Due for serial procrastinators
Fantastical 2 for users who want to manage tasks and calendar events in the same place
Microsoft To Do for an alternative to Wunderlist
Habitica for gamification of your task list
TickTick for cross-platform users who value speed
The Hit List for a high quality free app
WeDo for students and other group organizers
Pocket Lists for serial list-makers who appreciate lively design
2Do for anyone who uses the GTD method
Best iPhone to do list app for users who are loyal to Apple
Apple includes the Reminders app as part of iOS—but don't write it off just because it's free. The fact that it's pre-installed on all iOS devices means that you only need to log in to your iCloud account under the Settings app in order to manage your lists and tasks. Reminders automatically syncs with iCloud, pushing any additions or changes to all connected devices.
Adding tasks is quick and painless, particularly when using the ubiquitous iOS Share button or when dictating to Siri. Bark a command like "Add toothpaste to my shopping list," and Siri will add your item to any list that matches "shopping." There are no sub-tasks or due dates, but Reminders can alert you at a specific time or when you arrive at a given location. You can also create repeating reminders that follow predictable weekly or monthly patterns, or custom patterns like the first of every month or every six days. Add up to three levels of priority and descriptive notes to individual items to further define your schedule.
You can also share your lists with other Apple Reminders users. Send an invite to a valid email address, and iCloud users will be able to accept right from their devices.
Reminders Price: Free.
Editor's note: For iPhone users who still gravitate toward Google, Tasks is a great alternative as a basic, no-frills to do list app. It's a bit simpler, but gets the job done in your familiar Google style.
Best iPhone to do list app for power users who work alone
OmniFocus is one of the most feature-rich to do list and reminder management systems out there. Available for both iOS and macOS, you'll need to purchase both apps separately if you want to use OmniFocus on both platforms. For your money, you get a professional-grade to do list system, with excellent cross-project organization features.
Capture ideas using OmniFocus's inbox, then assign them to your various projects. You can organize these items independent of your projects using tags, which makes it easy to find tasks using the built-in search engine. Assign due dates, notes, attachments, estimates for time required, repeat task criteria, flags, and custom notifications to make sure the task doesn't slip your mind.
A handy dashboard provides an overview of your current workload, highlighting upcoming and overdue items or nearby items (using location information). You can pause or shelve entire projects, then pick them up again in the future with a few taps. OmniFocus will keep your data synced between devices. Plus, with the Zapier integration, you can automatically create tasks in OmniFocus based on trigger events in the other apps you use most.
The only major feature OmniFocus currently lacks is collaboration, but developers have stated that this is something they will be adding in due time.
OmniFocus Price: $29.99 after 14-day trial for iOS; $39.99 for the standard version or $59.99 for the professional version on macOS.
Best iPhone to do list app for cross-platform users looking for an all-in-one organizer
Any.do rolls to do list management, calendar scheduling, an organizational planner, and a reminders system into one easy-to-use package. The app is free to use, with some advanced features hidden behind a monthly or yearly subscription.
Any.do gives you the option to integrate with both the iOS Reminders and Calendar apps, which you can enable or disable at any point in the app settings. You can connect to Google Calendar, Facebook, or Outlook, sending data to Any.do from each of those apps, and vice versa. Any.do was built with collaboration in mind, making it easy to share single tasks or entire lists for others to work on in just a few taps.
Tasks can be fleshed out with sub-tasks, notes, and attachments in addition to reminders. Any dates you enter will populate the included calendar, and your schedule automatically syncs with Any.do servers and other devices.
One particularly neat feature called "Plan my Day" scans your to do lists for outstanding tasks, then allows you to add them to your schedule, delay for later, mark as done, or remove them altogether.
Any.do Price: Free for basic functionality; from $5.99/month for Premium that includes features like recurring tasks, custom themes, and location-based reminders.
Best iPhone to do list app for mid-tier users who work alone
Things takes a simple approach to organizing your life without sacrificing the features you'd expect to see in a premium product. There are separate iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps, so if you want to work across devices, you'll need to purchase all of them.
Things 3 doesn't allow you to collaborate or delegate tasks—it's more of a personal organizer for work and play. For your money, you'll get a smart organizer that captures ideas in a single inbox, where you can then organize them into projects. Projects can be grouped by area (like work or family) to make managing multiple projects at a time easy.
Create sub-tasks to break your to do list down into more manageable chunks. Use headings to further subdivide your lists, then drag and drop your tasks into place. This allows you to create long and complex lists that maintain order, while nesting less important items underneath bigger ones. And with Zapier's Things integration, you can automatically create tasks in Things when trigger events happen in your other favorite apps.
With a tap, you can view today's tasks, upcoming tasks, or tasks you've delayed, and completed projects are stored in your Logbook for later retrieval. An Apple-centric approach ensures that Things 3 makes clever use of iOS features like Calendar and Reminders integration, Siri shortcuts, a Today screen widget, Handoff for moving between devices, and Apple Watch support.
Things Price: $9.99 for iPhone; $19.99 for iPad; $49.99 for Mac (after a 15-day free trial).
Best iPhone to do list app for cross-platform users who value collaboration
Todoist takes a similar approach to Things 3 when it comes to to do list management, with a few major differences: It's cross-platform, it's collaborative, and it's free to download. We're recommending it for iOS, but the software has broad appeal: It's also available on macOS, Android, Windows, and Linux; has browser extensions for Chrome and Safari; and integrates with Gmail and Outlook. You can use most features for free, though a subscription is required to unlock the app's full potential.
Once you've captured your tasks in the inbox, it's time to add them to your projects, delegate them to others, set dates and priorities, or nest your smaller tasks under more important things. You can get a quick feel for your schedule by viewing tasks due today or in the next week. Once you've added a few labels, you can even use saved searches to create custom filters for viewing specific tasks (a premium feature).
Capturing tasks is easy thanks to natural language parsing for dates, hashtags for projects, and exclamation points for priority. Type "meeting with Justin today at 3pm #work !!1" to create a new top-tier reminder on your Work list for 3 p.m. By subscribing to Todoist premium, you'll unlock further features like an unlimited number of reminders, the ability to comment on and add attachments to tasks and projects, and labels for better organization.
Todoist's robust integration with Zapier means you can automatically do things like create and update tasks, add comments, invite other users, mark tasks as complete, and more, whenever something happens in other apps in your tech stack. Or you can use Todoist to kick off workflows in those other apps, like automatically notifying someone in Slack whenever they're mentioned in one of your tasks.
Todoist Price: Free for the basic app; from $3/month (billed annually) for Todoist Premium.
Best iPhone to do list app for serial procrastinators
Due is a to do list app that's designed to store only your most important tasks. These are the things you absolutely cannot forget to do—not all the small things you hope to achieve someday (but probably never will). In that sense, Due is best used in conjunction with other to do apps.
Add tasks to the app simply by pulling down and typing. Natural language parsing will decipher the due date, while a fast date picker makes it easy to set a due date manually. Hit the Auto Snooze button to be perpetually reminded about that task, until you decide to act on it. This button sends you a notification anywhere from every minute (yikes) to every hour, at an interval of your choosing.
You can then delay or mark your task as completed with a 3D Touch of the notification on your lock screen. The app also includes a set of recurring timers that you can start whenever you like. Use the optional iCloud or Dropbox sync to share data between iOS devices and the Mac version, without having to register for an account.
Due Price: $4.99 for iOS; $9.99 for MacOS.
Best iPhone to do list app for users who want to manage tasks and calendar events in the same place
Fantastical brings two of your iPhone's best built-in features together under one interface. The app uses the iOS Calendar and Reminders systems to display and manage your events and reminders in chronological order. If you're already using these tools to manage your life, you'll see Fantastical populated from the moment you open the app.
Using the plus icon at the top of the screen, you can create a new calendar event on any of your connected calendars, or a Reminders task on any of your iOS to do lists. Fantastical uses natural language parsing to decipher dates, like "lunch at 1pm on Tuesday." You can also add these events outside of the app, by using Siri or the iOS Share function, and they'll still appear inside Fantastical.
You can choose which calendars are viewable inside the app, with options of connecting to iCloud, Google Calendar, and Exchange, among others. Think of Fantastical not as a separate to do or organizer app, but as an extension that brings together Apple's existing offerings.
Fantastical Price: $4.99 for iPhone; $9.99 for iPad; $49.99 for MacOS.
Best iPhone to do list app as an alternative to Wunderlist
Microsoft To Do is the result of Microsoft's acquisition of Wunderlist in 2015. It was developed by the team who created the original Wunderlist, a highly celebrated to do manager that will be discontinued in favor of Microsoft To Do on May 6, 2020. Former Wunderlist users will feel right at home since the app looks and feels very similar.
The app works well as a daily planner, allowing you to choose tasks to complete by adding them to the My Day screen. If you're low on inspiration, the app will suggest tasks to complete based on your outstanding to dos and upcoming due dates. Create lists to organize your tasks, then organize tasks with sub-tasks, reminders, due dates, and the option to repeat the task.
Basic list-sharing has been integrated into Microsoft To Do, allowing you to share individual lists with other users who can then modify or add tasks. Look for the small Share button at the top of each list to add users via email. Anyone who wants to collaborate will need a valid Microsoft account to do so.
Microsoft To Do Price: Free.
Best iPhone to do list app for gamification of your to do list
Habitica takes a unique approach to daily task management by turning your to do list, daily tasks, and good or bad habits into a simple roleplaying game (RPG). Earn rewards by working through your list, and take damage by forgetting to do your chores or letting things slip past their due dates.
It's not possible to create multiple lists in Habitica. Instead, things are carved up between Habits, Dailies, and To Dos. Habits are occasional tasks you might undertake, like cleaning the garage, and can reward or punish you depending on the task. Dailies are things you have to do every day, like brushing your teeth. Forget to check off your dailies? Your character will take damage for that.
Habitica's to do list can be populated with tasks at varying difficulties. The harder the difficulty, the better the reward. Each task can include a number of sub-tasks, be assigned a due date, and trigger a reminder. Completing tasks earns you experience and loot, which you can then spend on new cosmetic items (like a wizard hat and armor) for your avatar in the Rewards shop.
Habitica Price: Free; various in-app purchases available.
Best iPhone to do list app for cross-platform users who value speed
TickTick is another powerful to do list management system that lures you in with a compelling free option. If you decide to upgrade, the annual subscription offers good value considering the features you'll get.
Adding tasks to the app is quick thanks to natural language parsing for dates and shortcuts for setting priority, adding labels, and delegating your tasks to a specific list. Tap the Return button to add a task to your inbox, then keep typing and tap Return again to add another. Add a checklist to create sub-tasks, upload attachments or photos, tag locations, or add a nice long description to each entry.
Collaboration is built in so you can share your TickTick lists, plus there's a Pomodoro timer to help you focus.
TickTick Price: Free for up to nine lists, 99 tasks per list, 19 sub-tasks, and one collaborator per list. $27.99/year to remove those limits and unlock features like filtered Smart Lists, Today widgets, and Siri integration.
Best free iPhone to do list app for solo users
The Hit List is a free list-making and organizational app. It's a mobile version of the $49.99 macOS app of the same name, and it delivers a powerful yet restrained experience. Create folders to organize your lists, then add tasks to your lists complete with start dates and due dates. You can even add sub-tasks to your lists, and organize the whole lot using tags.
Tasks can first be added to the Inbox, then later delegated to lists of your choice. Tap the Today or Upcoming buttons to view time-sensitive items that need your attention.
There's nothing in the way of collaboration, and little else in the way of customization, so The Hit List won't suit everyone. But if you're looking for a compelling free option to manage your outstanding tasks and create endless lists, The Hit List is worth a download.
The Hit List Price: Free for iOS; $49.99 for MacOS.
An alternative to The Hit List is MiminaList, which uses a system of gestures to navigate: Pull down to create a task, swipe right to complete one, and pull up to view your completed items.
Best iPhone to do list app for students and other group organizers
WeDo feels a bit like a school planner, and that's a good thing. (It can actually function as a school planner by automatically importing schedule and due-date information from a compatible school syllabus.) The app does away with the usual boring interface in favor of bright colors and bold fonts.
As the name may suggest, collaboration is at the heart of WeDo. Assign tasks to yourself or others, or create shared lists that everyone can contribute to. Lists can take the form of to do lists or habit lists, with the latter comprised of repeating tasks on a schedule of your choosing. Access the Today view to see any items that need your attention in the immediate future.
Individual tasks can be assigned a priority, sub-tasks, due dates (with repeating option), estimated time to completion, reminders, notes, and file attachments. And each week, you'll get insights into the progress you've made with a handy digest.
WeDo Price: Free with occasional ads; from $4.99/month for WeDo Pro that includes themes, task priority, custom icons, better insights, and more.
Best iPhone to do list app for serial list-makers who appreciate lively design
Pocket Lists describes itself as the world's friendliest to do list app, and it's not hard to see why. Just like WeDo, Pocket Lists shakes off the drab design shared by so many organizers in favor of color, emoji, and themes. It's a pure list-making app from the outset, complete with a web app version, and both iMessage and Apple Watch extensions for premium users.
Add tasks directly within the relevant list, then assign a due date (or use natural language parsing), specify a location, and set the priority level. Each list can be customized with its own icon, with over 400 to choose from. This makes Pocket Lists a list-making solution for virtually any purpose, from daily organization to long-term planning.
It's possible to view all of your upcoming items on a schedule so you know what needs to be done first. You can then sort this list by high priority, nearby tasks, repeating tasks, and so on.
Pocket Lists Price: Free for basic features; $11.99/year for access to all features, including web and desktop syncing, advanced priority setting, sub-tasks, a passcode lock, and more.
Best iPhone to do list app for users of David Allen's GTD method
The 2Do interface is somewhat cluttered and bound to leave new users feeling a bit overwhelmed. But for users of the Getting Things Done (GTD) productivity system, 2Do might be the best organizer of the bunch, as it has in-built support for the GTD inbox.
Capture tasks in your inbox, assign tasks to lists, then group your lists together for a deeper level of organization. You can drag and drop tasks from one list or another, and batch edit tasks by tapping the ellipsis in the top-right corner, selecting your tasks, and choosing an action. If you can't find something, simply search for it, then save your search as a Smart List for later recall. If you don't trust your typing, you can leave "Sounds-Like Search" on to broaden your results.
2Do Price: Free for the basic app on iOS; $3.99 for "Email to 2Do" to capture emails as tasks based on a set of configurable rules; $19.99 for Pro, which adds even more features, like online sync, access to backups, the ability to export your content, and unlimited alerts for tasks. $49.99 on MacOS.
There is no perfect to do list manager. To choose the best tool for the job, you need to consider a few criteria: the job at hand, whether you're working alone or in a group, and your budget.
Don't be afraid to use more than one to do list app to organize your life. Tools like OmniFocus and 2Do may be overkill for planning your holiday or tracking a grocery list, while Apple Reminders and Habitica won't help you organize a team of people or track several projects. Consider separating work tasks and personal ones to increase your productivity and make the most of your to do list apps.
Take a look at our choices for the Best Mac To Do List Apps if you're looking for a companion desktop app.