The Wonder of Wunderlist: A Free Task Manager for iPhone and Mac

So you’re looking for a good task manger? Join the club. We all want the same thing: something beautiful with plenty of features and automatic cloud syncing. We also don’t want to pay for either the iPhone or desktop version. The current trend in web content has taught us that we are entitled to such a service completely free of charge.

Strangely enough, such apps do in fact exist! Today we’ll take a look at Wunderlist, a newcomer making a big splash in the task management world. Also be sure to check out our review of the Mac version over at Mac.AppStorm.

Meet Wunderlist

The first thing you’ll notice about Wunderlist is that it’s a sharp looking app. The interface is nice and clean with just enough eye candy to draw you in without overdoing it and affecting the usability.

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Wunderlist for iPhone

As you can see, the iPhone UI closely mirrors that of the desktop app, which you can grab free over at 6wunderkinder’s website.

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Wunderlist for Mac

Wunderlist is fairly new but’s it’s already available on a surprising number of platforms, including Mac, iPhone, Windows and soon, Android.

Managing Lists and Tasks

The first screenshot above shows the screen that you’ll see upon launching Wunderlist. Rather than simply giving you one place to hold your tasks, Wunderlist allows you to create separate lists, each containing it’s own set of tasks. This screen shows you all your current lists and allows you to create a new list simply by typing in the bar at the top.

Once you create a list, tap on it to see its contents (empty by default). From here you can follow the same step as above to add a new task: simply type into the bar at the top. This single-step process is really nice and is much better than apps that require you to go through a lengthy procedure for every task.

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A Wunderlist task list

Once you’ve got a few tasks thrown into a list, you can then perform a number of typical actions. This includes completing a task (just tap on the checkbox) and deleting/rearranging tasks (tap the “Edit” button). If you tap near the center of the task, you are brought to the screen below on the right where you can rename it, move it to a different list and assign a due date.

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The typical task management actions

Filtering Tasks

In addition to allowing you to organize your tasks into multiple lists, Wunderlist offers a number of filtering options so you can easily drill down to the tasks you need to see.

The first two of these are “Starred” and “Today.” These two functions are pretty self-explanatory and work exactly like you’d expect them to. Tapping on the little star on any task will cause it to appear in the “Starred” section. Save this action for particularly important tasks.

The “Today” screen automatically updates to include any tasks that are set to be due on a given day. This is a great way to quickly see everything that you have to get done from all of your various task lists.

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Starred and Today

The third way to filter your tasks is by those that are overdue. Again, no surprising functionality here, if you scheduled a task and didn’t complete it on time, it’ll pop up in the “Overdue” section.

As if these weren’t enough filters to make you happy, Wunderlist offers a bunch of additional options under the “More” screen. This includes the ability to see all your tasks regardless of lists, those due tomorrow or next week, those due “later”, and finally, all tasks with no due dates set.

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Overdue and More

These filters may seem like basic functionality, but a lot of other apps really fall short in this area. No two people are going to work quite the same and it’s a killer feature to be able to view your tasks in so many different ways.

Customization

The really great thing about both the desktop and iPhone app is the ability to customize the interface’s background. This functionality is fairly limited at the moment, but still really helps you make the app your own.

In the settings menu you are given a number of pre-built backgrounds to choose from (you may have noticed a few different ones shown above). Simply tap on a background thumbnail to view it large and set it as your default background. Note that the backgrounds are the same between the Mac and iPhone version but this option doesn’t sync, meaning that you can set different backgrounds for your different devices.

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Choosing a background

Worth A Download?

Admittedly, the Wunderlist Mac application doesn’t quite have the feel of a native app, but it’s still a great deal considering the price tag. The iPhone version doesn’t carry over any of this slight awkwardness however and really feels like a polished, rock solid app.

The functionality is smooth, the design is excellent and the cloud sync is literally effortless. There’s simply no reason for you to not check out Wunderlist. There are also some great new features to check out on the desktop app, including shared lists with fully synced collaboration!

With that said, there are a couple of small things that could improve. It would be really nice to schedule recurring tasks. This is a feature that a lot of other task manager developers have had to learn about the hard way through user complaints and I suspect it’ll be the same here.

It would also be nice to use your own images as background graphics. I appreciate the selection already included but it seems like it would be pretty easy to add the functionality of allowing you to select something from your own library.

Finally, I would really love to see an iPad implementation here. Since I use my iPhone, Mac and iPad all on a daily basis, any task management solution that I choose would ideally appear on all three devices (you can run the iPhone version on the iPad, but it’s not a true iPad app).

Conclusion

To sum up, Wunderlist is really a fantastic new solution for productivity addicts like myself. The functionality, design and spread of available devices is extremely hard to match for a completely free service. Go ahead, search for another free task management app that has cloud sync, multiple desktop clients and collaboration, let me if you find one because I haven’t! The closest thing I can think of is Producteev, which has a ton of features, but their Mac application hasn’t launched yet (though it’s looking excellent).

Go download Wunderlist and let us know what you think in the comments below. How does it stack up to more expensive and powerful task managers like Things and OmniFocus?


Summary

Wunderlist is an awesome task management solution with cloud syncing and a presence on both Mac and Windows in addition to iPhone. The design is awesome and the functionality is near-perfect. What are you waiting for? Go download it!

9
  • Clark Taylor

    I hate that pressing the red “close” button in the upper left corner quits the app instead of closing the window. I wish they would change that.

    • Simão Freitas

      I completly agree! That’s really anoying. Apart from that, it’s great!

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  • http://www.journeydigitalmedia.com Seth Waite

    Well I guess I will have to try it then! I’ve tried a lot of different task managers for the iphone and i’ve never been satisfied with any of them. I usually just end up trashing all of them off my phone and going back to the most basic to do list. I’m still not happy with the basics so I’ll try this new wunderlist.

  • Tim

    Does funky things in the menu bar under Leopard. Also would be nice if it could download todos from services like Basecamp, 5pm, Feng Office and such.

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  • Jessica

    I have downloaded it across all my platforms for a play… the update is as of today, or yesterday, the iPad app for Wunderlist is available. I would really like to see recurring tasks also, the ability to choose your own background picture and the ability to have numbered lists.

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  • Ropenstein

    They just released the Web version, so you don’t have to download or install anything on a PC or Mac. It’s really well designed and seems to work as well as any desktop app I have seen.

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