App review: Clear for iPhone

Getting things done apps are tedious and counterproductive, clear is just a little bit different writes Sim Ahmed.

Every getting-things-done tool I’ve ever used has had me spend more time creating lists, charts, and tasks than actually doing the things I set out to do.

There are thousands of task management apps in the Apple and Google app stores, all with varying levels of complexity and features that ultimately lay unused in the rush of trying to quickly set a reminder.

Clear, which is available for $2.99 on the Apple App Store, ditches all those features in favour a limited but refined set of reminder tools.

If all apps were judged solely on their simplicity and intuitiveness, Clear would be on top of the app pile. Creating and managing lists and tasks is all done through the use of gestures. There are no tabs or series of entry fields to complete, just an easy-to-navigate set of collapsing lists.

You create a task by swiping the screen down, complete it by swiping it to the left, and delete it by swiping it to the right. The rest of the features of the app follow this gesture-centric theme, and it makes for a very low level of friction when you’re creating reminders and tasks. The heat map layout tells you which tasks are most important, with the crimson red meaning you better get on to it quick.

None

On its own, Clear won’t be for everyone. There are no options to sync tasks with Outlook or Google or any other established email or task management suite. Even simpler options like timed alerts are currently out of its capability. The app has been designed to keep track of a simple list of things to do, and to really make use of it, needs to become a habit.

A feature I would like to see in the future is the ability to share lists across phones. Imagine creating a shopping list at home, and sending it straight to your partner's device at the supermarket.

Right now if you have an iPhone 4S and you want a good reminder app, use Siri. It’s the easiest option available, and allows for a much richer set of reminder information while keeping the friction of creating a task relatively low. Best of all, Siri doesn’t cost a thing (except the price of data, and battery life of course).

$2.99

Three stars

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