Wunderlist Revisited: Is It the Best GTD App Yet?

Back when I first started writing for AppStorm, I got to review a very pretty GTD app that had just come out called Wunderlist. Back then, it was just getting started and it barely even had a Mac and a Windows app.

A little more than 6 months later, Wunderlist now stands as one of the most popular “Getting Things Done” app, not just in the Mac, but on several other platforms like Android and iOS. What has changed since then? Let’s take a look at how Wunderlist has evolved.

Getting Started with Wunderlist

Wunderlist

Wunderlist

Althought the GTD market is filled with options, none of them are really like Wunderlist. Just simple, down to earth and most importantly: free. It’s impressive to think that for such a banal task like having a list of duties (which we used to do with a simple physical notebook), we now purchase apps with prices that can go above $50 dollars.

Back when I first reviewed this app last December, it had only come out a few days before, and while it did a good job at keeping up with your tasks, it seemed like it had a long road ahead of it, one that seemed very promising. In my first review of Wunderlist, we gave the app a rating of 7, saying that it had a lot of potential given the time it had since it had been released. Well, I think that potential has been reached now.

Some Small Changes

Update

Update

Today, Wunderlist will come out with yet another update for their Mac app that promises to be quite big. We got our hands on it early so that we can tell you what’s new in the app. This update focuses on making it faster to add and organize tasks as you write them down, through simple shortcuts that arrange your tasks as you create them, for example:

  • If you type an asterisk before the text of a task, it will be added as a “bookmarked” or “prioritized” task.
  • You can use hashtags to mark tasks by simpler dates, like “#today”
  • It also recognizes dates in a simpler, more human format, like “in a month”
  • Note management has improved with auto-save and support for multiple windows
  • If you create a task by pressing Alt+Return, it will be created at the top of the other tasks (and below the bookmarked tasks)
  • While you are creating a task, you can use the “Up” and “Down” buttons to switch between lists in which to create the task

These are all handy shortcuts, but are they really a big deal? You might update the app and never even notice any of these changes. This update by itself probably isn’t worth a new review, it’s the accumulation of everything that has happened to Wunderlist since we last reviewed it that makes it worthy of a revised review.

A Unified Platform

Wunderlist for iPhone

Wunderlist for iPhone

A few days after my first review was published (actually the same day it was published, as you can see in the comments), the iPhone app for Wunderlist came out, giving the app a whole other level of functionality. The guys at 6wunderkinder got working hard, and soon an Android app, an iPad app and several updates for the Mac and Windows apps were on their way.

Now, the “Sync” button actually makes sense, and you can use it to keep track of your tasks wherever you are. There’s even now a web app, so that you can quickly check stuff while you are on the go and don’t have any mobile device available. The functionality that Wunderlist has now when it comes to platforms, reminds me very much of another favorite of mine, Evernote; whose support for numerous platforms has saved me a bunch of times.

The Big Picture

Notes

Notes

A few weeks ago, I started getting emails every morning from Wunderlist. At first I thought they were annoying, but then I realized what they did: they informed me of all the tasks I’d created that were overdue This may not seem like a big deal, but I’ve found it to be very helpful. Now, I don’t even have to open Wunderlist to see the tasks that I need to complete that day, I just check my email in the morning (which I always do) to see what needs to be done. It’s also inspiring that each one of them has a different cheesy tagline saying something like “You can do it, tiger!”.

This, coupled with a few other updates that the app has gotten like Note support in the tasks, sharing lists with colleagues, and especially the platform support mentioned before have made me a big fan of Wunderlist.

Conclusion

I never seriously used a GTD app before Wunderlist. Most of them seemed too expensive and complex; I always thought they were made for people who had thousands of things to do in a day and needed to keep everything organized. It wasn’t until I got to review this app that I realized how useful these things can be, even if you don’t really need to be reminded of dozens of tasks.

I continued using Wunderlist after that review I did, and I gladly watched it grow into a fully featured app that continues to improve with each update. I couldn’t compare it to any other GTD app, but the fact that it made me continue to use an app from a category that I had no interest in, should speak pretty well about it.


Summary

Wunderlist has grown into the most simple and functional GTD app out there, and it now has support for various platforms like the iOS. And most important of all, it's still free.

9
  • yan

    For me the best by far far it’s Toodledo

    • http://iqtell.com/ IQTELL’s GTD App

      Yan, we’d like to invite you to our GTD app‘s beta, it might change your mind.

  • Christian

    I trialled Wunderlist a few months ago and was impressed by the simplicity. Unfortunately a feature very important to me was missing, and that is repeating tasks.

    I’m not sure if my requirement for such a feature is wrong, or whether its just plain difficult to implement. Either way most task/list management apps allow scheduling, but no repeating.

    Add this feature, and I’ll use the app.

    • flexabull

      Completely agree. I liked the layout and design, but lacking repeating tasks was a deal breaker for me.

      • lostsatellites

        And add to that the fact that you can’t add alerts from the desktop version.

  • Mackley

    I use Toodledo, too !

  • wvit

    This is one app that I install, try it, remove and start all over again for many times. I like almost every aspect of it but I hate that it “auto sort” my list.

    Here is the detail. Suppose, I have 10 step by step task and I add it in that order. Suppose I done the first 3 tasks. When I stars the 4th task, it will go to the top of the list. Unstar it will move it to the top of the unstar list, not it previous location.

    It already has the starred task filter, so I really wonder why they have to move my task to the top.

    • http://jynto.wordpress.com Jynto

      You can drag and drop tasks to change their order, and even put starred tasks below unstarred ones.

  • Alan

    I love Wunderlist. I’ve tried so many to-do list apps and they are usually way too complex and take longer to add something than to actually get that thing done or way too simple. This is the only one I’ve actually consistently used and it’s great that I keep everything in sync on my Mac, iPad and iPhone.

    I would love to see tagging used though.

  • Paul C. Jones

    Yet another tool that distracts people from getting things done. A text file should do just fine. Programming talent should be used for something more useful than a to-do list.

  • Robert

    I totally agree with you. I tried so many different GTD apps but this is the only one that gives me the feeling that i’m getting things done! 10/10 in my opinion.

  • India

    I have tried so many GTD apps that I’ve lost count. Out of all of them Wunderlist is by far my favorite. Ive been using it since it was 1st reviewed here. I admit throughout my use of it I have stop using it for sometime because of it’s lack of some features such as repeating task and subtask. But I always come back because of the app simplicity. However I do wish they would incorporate these features. Maybe 6wunderkinder’s upcoming Wunderkit app will add these features

  • http://lucaorio.com Luca

    unfortunately I can’t check it now..
    is there a way to delegate task to another person?

    • RE:luca

      Use Tadalist by 37Signals and share your list, or share a Google Doc. Basecamp does this even a little more with email notification.

      No need to complicate things with this type of apps.

  • Timo

    Sorry, but i’m really disappointend of the quality of this article. The author seems to not know anything about GTD.

    Wunderlist is indeed really simple. But that’s all. It doesn’t really follow GTD concepts. It’s just a simple to do list. And therefore nobody would spend any money for such a tool like this.

    If give conclusions like this, first try tools like omnifocus or things. They costs money but has thousands of more features and follows GTD concepts really well.

    Please go and do your homework first. Instead of hyping tools you do not understand concepts behing.

    • http://en.tucoaster.com Jesus

      Totally agree. I use RTM. I love the wunderlist desing, but for the moment that’s all. I need to do EVERYTHING from the keyboard.

      I usually use both, lists for to do now, next, someday, etc and tags (usually project name). with wunderlist i only have lists….

    • Andy

      I totally agree. To-do apps are not GTD apps. They’re totally different concepts.

    • http://cobychapple.com/hireme Coby Chapple

      Amen. I’ve tried switching to wunderlist, and while it’s a great to-do app (I’ve recommended it to a number of people who need one), it’s actually quite hard to use if you follow the GTD methodology.

      Yes, having a simple task manager that just has lists and tasks and no other ‘objects’ to manage is simple (which is always a refreshing thing to see in software), but without taking the GTD *workflow* (i.e. collect->next actions/projects/someday->focus/today, and areas/tags and so forth) into account it’ll never compete with other GTD apps like Things (which is what I keep coming back to).

    • http://www.hanseich.com Hans Eich

      Yup, you guys are right. I’m a big GTD fan and use Things. Unfortunately I’m getting a PC for work and need an app that is cross platform. I realized quickly after creating a single trial task on Wunderlist that this is no match for Things.

      Also, this app being free scares the crap out of me. I’ve used Things now for 2+ years and I have a lot stored in it. I’ve been in contact with the guys at CulturedCode and they are serious. Having to pay for the Things app, gives me confidence that the guys at CulturedCode will not just discontinue the app from one day to another. It also creates a accountability to CulturedCode to their customers. A lot of people have trusted CulturedCode with their very busy work lives.

      Wunderlist will have a hard time to put bread on their table with free apps! Whichever pool of money they have right now, will certainly run empty some day. So unless 6Wunderkinder starts charging, I will not seriously entrust them with my GTD system.

    • David

      Completely right. There is no tagging and no context, it is therefore useless for GTD.

  • http://jdfwarrior.tumblr.com David Ferguson

    I like Wunderlist.. my only complaint with it would be the fact that it’s not native, it’s built on Titanium. While Titanium is great for making cross platform apps easy, the fact that it isn’t native on the Mac means no AS support, no url schemas to use, etc. I want these so I can make extensions to easily add tasks to Wunderlist via Alfred. Until I can find something I can easily bend to my workflow, I’ll keep using my Alfred Tasks extension I made :)

  • http://www.gtdwizard.com/ Marcus

    Wunderlist is a todo application, (A good one!) but without tagging or Contexts it’s not a GTD tool at all. It’s to simplistic to be used as a GTD system.

    • http://po-com.com PO-COM

      you beat me to it! but, it is true. i think the #1 thing that makes something a GTD app is contexts. the whole defining principal of Getting Things Done® (it is a registered trademark!), to me, is that you can’t predict what exactly needs to be done now – but, given the situation and pre-ordered list of things to do, you can immediately determine what you do next.

      somehow, especially in the app-o-sphere, GTD seems to be mis-construed as just “to-dos.” note to author – research a bit more – it’s an interested keyword to know, in any case.

    • milo

      Agree. Though I do like Wunderlist i feel it is lacking because its not truly a GTD. Loved Things due to tags etc but waiting until Things gets it’s act together. (regarding online sync)
      Additionally, like David Ferguson above said, the app is not even native. I did notice it wasn’t as intuitive but assumed it was because they wanted simplicity across platforms.

    • Kloper

      I agree, contexts is a key concept in GTD. It’s a shame, otherwise it’s a really good app!

    • http://faculty.gvsu.edu/talbertr Robert Talbert (@RobertTalbert)

      +1 this. I’m an OmniFocus guy — I’ve used it since it was “Kinkless GTD” and was on the alpha-testing team — and while I love OF, I’m trying to get away from apps that are locked into the OS X/iOS ecosystem. I tried Wunderlist to see if I can replicate my very complex GTD system, and immediately I was turned off by the inability to view a single task from either the context or project point of view. Any app that cannot do so is not a true GTD system, even if it can be hacked into a semblance of one. Nice app — just not GTD.

  • pixelmixture

    the sharing option is a gem … i can share a list with my coworkers and another one with my wife etc …. so simple and free. the best GTD app i know

  • http://modernisten.co.vu/ Robin Lundgren

    Can you remove the awful wood background? That’s pretty much the only reason I haven’t downloaded either the iOS or Mac OS X version.. Haha :)
    Can’t stand such useless non-native looks.

    It seems great tho. Especially with the hash tag functionallity.

    • sher

      Yea, it has a few background options.

  • Chiliagono

    Actually I’m in love with Producteev but wunderlist is a very good app

  • Pingback: Trialing Wunderlist a Productivity Tool | Easy Computing

  • Chris

    I also feel that producteev is the best GTD app. Although wunderlist is a great alternative, I’ve been using producteev for over a year now and love it!

    Also, you can now sign up for a free premium account using your .edu email address: http://edu.producteev.com/zdu6c

    • Matt

      I would agree. Producteev is a great product. Plus, you can attach images!

  • goochisan

    Obligatory plug for The Hit List.
    http://www.potionfactory.com/thehitlist
    IMHO THL FTW.

  • http://www.willemoesgrafisk.dk Rasmus

    After trying a bunch of GTD app’s (around 10 different app’s including, Things, Omnifocus, Put Things Off, and so on..) I have used Wunderlist as my first choice of GTD app for several months now!!

    The team behind in, are simply amazing, and I cant live without Wunderlist!

    Love this update, and believe me when I say that repeating tasks, tags, alarms are comming sooner than you guys think! :)

  • Melwan

    This is really not a GTD app. It’s simply a todo list. Huge difference between the two. But don’t get me wrong. It does not mean it doesn’t have it’s own audience.

    I liked the design and the simplicity but I cannot use due to missing few features such as repeating tasks and tags.

    But what I really hated about it is the clunky experience. It does not feel like a native app. I contacted the dev and asked them if it was developed by Adobe Air, and they confirmed it was developed by Titanium (a cross platform compiler). Yea, these things will never act and feel like the native thing. It’s perfect on my Google Nexus One (since Android does feel clunky all over the place), but it’s a long shot on iOS.

    Just my $0.02

  • Pingback: Can a Productivity App Be Called the “Best” If It Isn’t Cross-Platform? | TaskMac

  • Thiago A.

    I tried nearly all mac GTD apps, and the best one I found so far is “The Hist List”. I confess I underestimated the app. I’ve seen it around the App Store at some times and never had the curiosity to even give it a look. It supports nearly all GTD concepts, it’s simple, beautiful (notebook like) and is optionally all keyboard-driven. It comes pre-loaded with a tutorial in the form of a to-do list, which teaches you to use it at the keyboard. It supports contexts, tags, repeating tasks, start and due dates, priority, today list, timing tasks, sub tasks, custom smart lists, folders, and so on. It’s full featured and hides the complexity behind the interface, like any good app. The only downside is it doesn’t have a someday list, but it gives you the tools to create it… you can easily create lists that don’t show tasks with a “someday” tag, for example, or lists that only show tasks with a “someday” tag. It has a paid sync service which is a bit expensive, but given it’s the best option I found out, I happily paid for it. I dropped Things because it doesn’t support sub tasks and the current sync support sucks.

    • Thiago A.

      Sorry, I meant “The Hit List”

  • Dan

    For implementing GTD you can use this web application:

    http://Gtdagenda.com

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote and Google Calendar, and also comes with mobile version, and Android and iPhone apps.

  • Pingback: Day 3 of Wunderlist Productivity Tool | Easy Computing

  • Pingback: Día 3 de la herramienta de productividad Wunderlist | Easy Computing

  • Pingback: Dia 3 de Wunderlist ferramenta de produtividade | Easy Computing

  • Michael

    I use Wunderlist on my MacBook and iPhone. It’s terrific if for no other reason that I can add or update tasks when I think of them, whether I’m near the computer or not. I can create multiple lists and have found it incredibly useful and useable. It would be nice to have repeating tasks, but I can wait for that.

  • http://www.brafolk.no Mathias

    We used this for a while, and its great if you don’t have many different projects. We eventually changed to flow http://www.getflow.com/

  • Pingback: Wunderlist, ahora también para Linux (Lanzador para Unity) « Soft-Libre

  • Pingback: Minnesota Learning Commons » Blog

  • Pingback: Best of AppStorm in September | Design City

  • Pingback: Best of AppStorm in September | Apple World

  • hcabbos

    Agreed. TheHitList rules supreme. Syncing with iPhone is fast. And the UI is so well thought out.

    http://www.potionfactory.com/thehitlist/

  • Pingback: How is Wunderlist for implementing GTD? « pakos.me

  • dnsl

    I do not see the point why so some people are saying a Wunderlist would not be a GTD app because of it not having contexts… Well, you add a “@home” list and you got your context. GTD does not need more than lists and folders (and calendar)

  • http://blog.gotofritz.net/ fritz

    Looks lovely, but functionality’s too limited. Toodledo is not as slick, but much more powerful.

  • Pablo

    Very sorry with all. I think the best app is todolist in Windows: I have tried all these apps you guys listed and they are so complicated (and the GTD methodology sucks is like all methodologies -spend half day filling all the contexts, tags, folders and all these unpractical things then sorry you already spent half day….). None of them allows importing from a mind mapping app, then allows herachical task organization and, finally, have a complete priority assignment (no to mention time assignment and so on)…when I used todolist I was tremendously effective… now I am a mess.

  • Pingback: 12 Apps That Should Be in the Apps Starter Kit | Design City

  • Andrew

    Have looked at MANY ToDo Apps. Wunderlist looks very pretty, but falls short of our needs… no tags/filters, can’t assign tasks to others, no subtasks, only one level of priorities etc. Missing some key GTD feature IMO.

  • Mr. T.

    Wunderlist sucks! What’s GTD about it. It’s just a gimmick to mention that. Toodledo is the best!

  • stariana

    “I always thought they were made for people who had thousands of things to do in a day and needed to keep everything organized.”
    Since I got Wunderlist two weeks ago, I have become one of those people who have thousands of things to do. I have always tended to have lists of things everywhere, and no united location or in such a beautiful interface as Wunderlist. Now I keep track of all of the things I want to do with my partner, my vocabulary list which today has increased to 222, class assignment lists, individual check-lists for individual assignments, errands, and a “Not Important” list which includes “Buy Kick-Ass theme song.” I have a grocery list. Instead of checking or deleting foods off the list after purchasing them them, I can accumulate everything on the grocery list, and then star them when I need them, and un-star them after I get them. In this way, I can look through the /whole/ list before grocery shopping to see if there is anything else that is needed, instead of trying with fraught to recall frequent grocery items.

    Sorry if I’m repeating a well-known fact, but:
    One of the most important things to the success of GTD as I’ve discovered is breaking tasks down.
    “Read book,” bad! “Read pages 6-10 of book,” good!
    For a perfectionist like me, every detail counts, and writing each of the details out as an individual task, which can’t be checked until completed (don’t you feel the guilt when checking a still-relevant yet incomplete task?), forces you to make sure you are thorough in assignments and tasks.

    The idea was that I was ALWAYS one of those “people who had thousands of things to do,” but I could never keep track of it all, and now I have a way to do so. Not only has Wunderlist become one of those applications that I use daily, for me it has become an application that I use nearly every hour to guide me in becoming a more productive human being. Except, of course, for this comment regarding how great Wunderlist is..

  • pob firkman

    I use it and like it. Would like some additional features: 1) the capability to share just one list and not all of them. 2) the capability to set tasks to repeat on a regular basis. Beyond that it is almost perfect.

  • Randy Place

    I tested this product by using it as my to do list for awhile. Although Wunderlist is well crafted, it doesn’t allow for the transference of an item to another day as previous writers have complained. Therefore, what appears on the screen the days following, is a large list with various dates. This doesn’t make sense. The ability to transfer items is a big must for any to do application. In my opinion Wunderlist is inferior to the both the ‘Reminders’ app that comes with my iPhone and a plain old to do list created in Microsoft Word.

  • ron williams

    Cannot edit notes in Web App. At least I can’t figure out how to. 2 days, still looking for manual. Works great on phone, just have to remember to hit enter to commit a task.
    wierd functions, editing a task list is not how you add or edit a task?
    On phone, slow, slow, slow. 15 seconds to come up on my phone.
    It is good, but how can this be the best. ugh.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/leigh-taylor-young imp source

    I envy your piece of work, appreciate it for all the good blog posts.

  • Sara

    I used Wunderlist for about a week or two. Wunderlist stopped syncing to my PC so I had to delete the program on my PC and reinstall to correct it. Lost all my data and downloaded a bunch of optional crap like Bing, AVG and the dreaded Babylon that takes over your toolbar. All this took me 8 hours to get my computer back to normal, run virus protection. Major headache… Back to pen and paper!

theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow