Who can manage modern life’s challenges without a great to-do list app? Wherever you are, the app should show you what needs to get done, and remind you of these tasks appropriately. Any.do is a to-do list app with versions for nearly every platform. It’s been on the task-management scene for a while, growing and changing with the times. The more features Any.do has racked up, however, the more the app has slipped in aiming for a flawless user experience.
Any.do is still pretty dreamy on mobile devices, but it flounders on desktop and web. I still love the Any.do Moment feature, which prompts you to review all tasks assigned to you for the day and either commit to them or defer them. Other parts of the app aren’t as polished, unfortunately. Any.do is about average with other to-do apps, and perhaps people who like minimalist design will gravitate toward it. It doesn’t rival Editors’ Choice Todoist, though. Todoist looks a little busier, but works magnificently. The same can be said for Asana, which you can use for personal task-management but is ideal for group tasks and lightweight projects.
Any.do Plans and Pricing
Any.do has a free tier of service, a paid Premium level for individuals ($59.99 per year), and Teams accounts ($4.99 per person per month).
The free version has limitations that are quite strict and may stop you from using it. You can’t create any integrations with other services with the free app, for example. Your collaboration is limited to sharing lists and assigning only one task. You also can’t customize when a recurring task will occur. Instead you’re limited to choosing from simple premade options, such as daily or weekly, but not, say, every other Friday. The free app doesn’t have location-based reminders either.
Any.do Premium lets you assign as many tasks to other people as you need. Premium members can create integrations using Zapier, select a different background image for the app, organize tasks with colored labels, and enable location-based reminders. Any.do Teams gives you all the same features as Any.do Premium, plus administrative control for the team and kanban boards.
How much does Any.do Premium cost? As of this writing, it’s $59.99 per year, advertised as $4.99 per month billed annually. It comes with a seven-day free trial. Across four different Any.do apps and web pages, I saw major discrepancies in pricing. The company confirmed by email that the $60 per year price is accurate. When I used the Apple App Store to pay for an account, my receipt indicated this same price.
How do Any.do’s prices compare with other, similar tools for collaborative to-dos? On the whole, they are average to high.
Todoist Premium costs about half as much as Any.do Premium at $36 per year. The free Todoist account is more generous than Any.do’s, however, because it lets you fully collaborate with up to five people per project.
Toodledo charges even less for its Gold plan ($29.99 per year), but in that app, you can only collaborate with people who are also paying members.
Some to-do apps still charge a flat rate for apps rather than a subscription fee. Things 3 is one example. Its Mac app costs $49.99; the iPhone and Apple Watch app cost $9.99; and the iPad app costs $19.99. The whole set runs about $80.
Asana costs $119 per person per year, though it’s more of a work-management system than a traditional to-do list app, with the ability to more finely manage subtasks and create different customized views of tasks.
Getting Started With Any.do
When you sign up for an Any.do account, you can create a login using an email and password, or you can use Google or Facebook to authenticate.
Any.do has a simple setup. You create lists, which contain tasks. Tasks can contain subtasks. Tasks can also contain details, such as notes, attachments, labels, a due date, and an assignee if you work with collaborators.
As you get started, the app suggests tips for learning its features. You can refer to the tips at any time by tapping or clicking the notifications icon (a square with rounded corners and a red indicator). Once you open the notifications, you see two taps: Any.do Tips and Notifications.
Any.do has apps or connectivity for nearly every platform: Android, iOS, macOS, web, Apple Watch, Wear OS, Amazon Alexa, Siri, Google Chrome, plus an add-on for Gmail and integration with Slack. A desktop app for Windows should be out soon, according to the company. Apps or integration with Firefox, WhatsApp, and Google Assistant are also in the works. Having apps or operability with so many platforms is certainly one of Any.do’s strengths.
I recommend avoiding the web app, however, as it doesn’t perform as well as any of the apps built for mobile devices or Macs. I was frustrated by the user experience, and the problems were quite simple. I’d click to change a task name or adjust a reminder and the app either didn’t respond or didn’t work as expected. The other apps didn’t come with nearly the same amount of teeth-gnashing.
Features and Interface
Any.do’s layout lets you see your task lists, an individual task and its details, and if you’re using the mobile app, a calendar. (The desktop and web apps don’t have a calendar view.) If you’re on iOS or Android, you see a scrolling list of events and due dates in chronological order, and you can toggle open a monthly calendar as well. New calendar views, such as a three-day view, are planned for release in the near future.
To any task, you can add subtasks, but they are much simpler by comparison. While the parent task can have a due date and other details added to it, the subtasks get nothing more than a name and checkbox each. Other to-do list apps, including Todoist and Asana, let you add the same amount of detail to a subtask that you can add to a parent task. Having that ability lets you manage more complex work. For example, you might have a task that you can’t complete until all subtasks are completed. And perhaps different people are responsible for the subtasks. Being able to add and track details of those subtasks lets everyone collaborate easily. It’s not as rich a system as you get with full-fledged project management software, but it’s not terribly far off either.
While Any.do has some neat special features, which I cover in the next section, its core user experience needs improvement. With to-do apps, I expect them to be buttery smooth. Any.do isn’t. For example, if you set a due date on a task, you can edit the date and time, but you can’t change it to a recurring deadline. To do that, you must delete the original deadline, then add a new one and choose recurring. You also can’t type natural language for due dates or anything else. In Todoist, Wunderlist, and TickTick, you can type “today” or “tomorrow” next to your task, and the apps understand to assign the appropriate due date. These apps also let you add tags or labels by typing as well; Any.do doesn’t.
There are labels in Any.do, though you wouldn’t know it from the Mac app because they don’t show up there. You need the mobile app to create, manage, and add labels to tasks. Even after you do that, the labels simply don’t appear on your tasks in the desktop app.
The Mac and web app are weak points, not only because they don’t have labels. They’re missing other features, too, such as the ability to delete a task (you have to check it off to delete it) and the Any.do Moment (explained next). That’s a real setback if you rely on your to-do app while sitting in front of a computer all day.
Any.do comes with a few special features, including the Any.do Moment and Focus Mode.
The Any.do Moment was the app’s signature feature early in its release, and it remains one of my favorites. This feature has you review all tasks assigned to you today and decide whether you will commit to them today or postpone them to a later date.
In the mobile app settings, find Any.do Moment and enable it for whichever days you like and at whatever time. When it’s time, Any.do plays an audio tone and prompts you to make a decision about each task on your plate, one at a time. If you choose to keep the task for today, you have an option to add an alarm for it. If you defer it to another day, you choose when, whether tomorrow, in two days, next week, and so forth. Reviewing your assignments for the day is a helpful activity to keep you focused and productive, and I like how Any.do encourages it.
Focus Mode is a newer feature in Any.do. The idea is right, but the implementation needs work. When you enter Focus Mode—again, only available in the mobile apps—you set an amount of time that you want to focus, such as 25 minutes. A small tree and timer appear on-screen. If you don’t pick up your phone and use other apps during the 25 minutes, the tree grows. If you interrupt your session, the tree doesn’t grow. You can turn on white noise while you work, too. Every time you successfully grow a tree, it saves to a little forest that you can see by tapping on a tree icon.
This feature is nearly identical to the timer app Forest, though that app has better graphics and its developers have a program to plant real trees alongside all the virtual ones you grow.
Any.do’s Focus Mode let me down when, after four and a half minutes in the iOS app, the white noise quit suddenly. I restarted it and after another four-plus minutes, it cut off abruptly again. I managed to grow three trees, but I had to give up on the white noise. Then, I launched Focus Mode in the Android app and my burgeoning forest was nowhere to be seen. Apparently, the forest doesn’t sync. The white noise didn’t play at all in Any.do’s Android app, and when I locked the phone, the counter stopped counting. Sigh.
Good Ideas, Weak Implementation
Any.do has a lot of good ideas and more coming down the pike. A personal assistant feature, for example, is in beta. This will let you find and hire people to do tasks on-demand for you, priced depending on the task. There’s a new grocery-list feature that figures out where you wrote your shopping list and sorts it by category. Good ideas must also be implemented well, however, and that’s where Any.do starts to slip.
When I use a to-do app, I want it to be buttery smooth. I need to be able to not just add a task quickly, but also delete it when I realize I wrote the same thing down earlier today. I want the desktop and web apps to work just as well as the mobile apps. I want to be able to capture a ton of detail about each task, including when it’s due and what labels it should have, without lifting my fingers from the keyboard.
When it comes to to-do apps, we’re genuinely surprised that the majority of apps aren’t better than they are. Todoist and Asana, our Editors’ Choices in the category, stand out from all the other apps. Any.do is about average, with its good intentions for features outweighed by a patchy experience.