Things was just updated with its third major overhaul. Things has always been a top-notch task manager app, but this iteration is its absolute best. The developers of Things has finally found the prefect balance of easy use and robust features. It's definitely a worthy replacement for Wunderlist, even without real-time list-sharing support. I'm loving it, and I think you will too. Here's why.
Things is completely redesigned, and I mean completely
I've always loved how Things works on Mac. It's very simple and doesn't get bogged down with a confusing and complex interface. But ... and I hope the team at Things doesn't get mad at me ... I never liked the design. It's very iOS 2008. The new design brightens the colors and flattens the graphics to make Things look more at home on iPhone and Mac. It's beautiful.
The redesigned user interface is also much more intuitive, which is hard to imagine since it was always very easy to set up and use.
It's more than just a new skin on the same task manager. Things also has hundreds of new tools and features. I know, I know, the reason I like Things so much is because of its simplicity. But, the app designers have done an incredible job of giving us more options, but not distracting us from taking care of our daily tasks. It's still incredibly easy to use, but now more robust than ever before.
It's done with layers. When you open the app and look at your task list, it'll look simple and straightforward. It's a list. My favorite way to view my to-dos. But, you can tap to expand an item on the list to show a lot more information about it. If you included subtasks, notes, or a reminder to a task, it stays hidden until you're ready to see it.
Things has this awesome little tool called the "Magic Plus Button." It's an Add button for creating a new task. Why is it magic? Because it moves. You can drag it to a group or project so you can add a task to a specific list.
There are also a lot of gesture-based tools that are totally intuitive on iOS. You can drag and drop any item to move it, or select a group of tasks and move them all at once. You can swipe right to add a date or swipe left to mark a task complete. When in the main list menu, you can swipe to the left to add a check list to a task or group. Everything important is easy to get to, but isn't overwhelming to learn how to use.
Advanced planning tools let you schedule your life
Sometimes, you just need a list of things to do. But, other times, you need those things done at a specific time. Things lets you schedule a to-do item with just a swipe. You don't have to go through a bunch of steps to set a due date. Just swipe right.
You can set a simple due date, like "Today," "This Evening," or "Someday," or you can set a specific date. You can also set a reminder for a specific time of day.
Thanks to scheduled tasks, you can view your lists, either all in one list or separated by projects and groups, by days. If you have some items due today, across different lists, they will all appear under the Today section, and will even be separated by today and this evening.
You can connect the built-in Calendar app so you can view all of your events with due tasks listed below by their scheduled due date.
Lists, lists, and more lists
Lists. They are my favorite reason for having a task manager. I love lists. They make me feel like I'm in control of what my life is going to be like in the near future. I like separating my lists by groups, like stuff I need to get done around the house or articles I need to write for work. I also like having lists to keep me on track when I've got a special project coming up.
But, I also like being able to see everything I need to get done across all of my lists without having to select each individual list. Things lets you create separate lists for groups and projects, but also lets you view your tasks by date (as long as you set a date for them).
You can create headings within a project list to break it up into sections. For example, I have a project list for putting out a record with my band. I've got the project list broken out by recording, releasing, and promoting it.
When creating a group list, like your chores to-do list, you can add check lists for each task. For example, I have a chore list with "Clean living room" and within that task, I've made a check list for dusting, vacuuming, cleaning off the coffee table, etc..
When you enable Siri with Things, you can also select one of your reminders lists to see in Things. So, if you ask Siri to remind you to get milk when you go to the grocery store, it will also appear in your Inbox in Things.
Another subtle little thing that I love with the project lists: There is a little progress icon next to your project list to show you at a glance how close you are to completing it.
What it's missing
Though Things 3 has Notification Center support with a Notification Center widget, there is no Menu Bar widget on Mac. I'm a big fan of having my productivity needs available at a glance. I tend to ignore Notification Center widgets on my Mac because I have to actually call up Today View in order to see what's on it. I'd love to see a Menu Bar widget in a future update of Things that shows me my Today list.
Things 3 does not support location-based reminders. I'm the kind of person that, when going to the grocery store for something, promptly forget what I was there for. I set location-based reminders a lot. I'm hoping Things will add location-based reminder support in the future.
Sharing. We need more sharing in all to-do list apps. To be clear, you can share your list with others via the Share sheet, but all you can do is send a list. You can't invite someone to access your list. This app would be a total Wunderlist replacement if it had a list sharing option.
Should you get it?
Things is a hefty investment, especially on Mac. It is not a universal app, so you'll have to buy it for iPhone and iPad separately. I'm confident that Things will be my Wunderlist replacement (I'll have to find a different way to share lists), but I'm a serious list maker and am willing to spend whatever it takes to have the perfect task manager. Things 3 is the perfect task manager for me.
Everyone is different when it comes to what we want and need from a task manager, but I can say that, if you like Wunderlist and are looking for something to replace it, you'll feel comfortable with a transition to Things 3 (except for the list sharing option). There is even an import button that lets you import your lists directly from Wunderlist.
I suggest downloading the trial version of Things 3 on Mac to test it out and see if it fits your list-making style.
Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books. If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).