Clear ($0.99) by Realmac Software takes a very simplified approach to how we should be managing our to-do lists. Forget complex approaches with contexts, projects, due dates and times. In fact, just forget anything that would require you to spend time with it to learn how to manage your tasks. With Clear, you can just see what you have left to do for the day while in line at Starbucks, and you can add a new task in seconds.
The premise of Clear is simple – it’s a to-do app that makes use of the natural multitouch gestures that are available on the iPhone. Even though there is a tutorial that will show you the basic gestures of the app, it is simple enough that you could probably figure it all out on your own even without it.
To go in or out of a list, you will use the pinching gesture, as you would when zooming in on a full screen image on your iPhone. Pulling the screen down or doing a pinching gesture in the middle of multiple items will let you create a new list or task, so it’s insanely fast and easy compared to other to-do apps. Another option is in a brand new, empty list, where you can just tap anywhere on the screen to create a new task. Tapping on an existing item will allow you to edit the name. Swiping a list or item to the left will “complete” it, while swiping it to the right will delete it. Once you have completed items, you can clear them from the screen by pulling the screen up. This same gesture can be applied from the lists screen to access the topmost list.
An important thing to note is the fact that Clear will only allow you to enter up to 30 characters for an item. This way, everything is short, sweet, and to the point. No notes, no due dates, nothing – just see what you have to do, and do it. That’s it.
Since Clear prioritizes items by color (the topmost items will be the boldest in color, while items lower on the list will be lighter and more subtle), it is important what order your tasks are in. You can simply tap and drag an item to rearrange its order – like I said, simple and intuitive, right? Nothing new to learn, it’s all stuff that we already know how to do.
All of the aforementioned gestures are natural and intuitive, which is what makes Clear so charmingly delightful. Once you go through the tutorial, or even just mess around with the app yourself, these gestures are sure to stick with you.
In addition to the ease of use, Clear features some lovely sound effects. The sound you hear when you swipe to complete a task makes it even more rewarding, and can even feel like a personal “achievement unlocked” moment. The sounds add personality to what would otherwise be another boring task manager.
As an additional treat, Clear features various color themes. By default, the theme that has been widely advertised is the “Heat Map.” While this is the distinctive theme for Clear, I appreciated having the option of other colors (yellow and orange are not my favorite colors, personally). You will have Graphite, Pretty Princess, Lucky Clover, and Theme Noir to choose from. There’s also a free bonus theme that you can obtain if you have everyone’s favorite Twitter app installed on your iPhone (Hint: it has to do with a robotic bird). More themes can be unlocked as well, if you are clever enough to find out how.
Clear has several settings, which include app badges, sound effects, and vibration. There is also the “Contextual Badge” option, which will display the number of active list items remaining in the list you were in when you last exited the app. Pretty nifty, right?
The only drawback to Clear is that there is no syncing solution (Dropbox, iCloud, etc.). However, I believe that is not the point of the app – it’s just a simple list that you will have on your iPhone, readily accessible whenever you have a spare moment in your day.
I have been using Clear for a few weeks now, and I must say, I am rather impressed with the app. It’s the perfect simple to-do app, since it’s so intuitive. It won’t be replacing my OmniFocus setup for work-related stuff, but it is still great to have around for simple shopping lists, errands, and other small things I don’t want in a complex GTD setup.
If you’re looking for something simple to manage your tasks, which will get out of the way when you need it to, then do not hesitate to check out Clear. It’s worth so much more than a dollar, so consider this introductory price a steal!
“Life is messy. Simplify, with Clear.”
UPDATE: Thanks to our reader, Andrew, who has figured out a way to bypass the 30-character limit of tasks. If you use Siri to dictate your task, it can be over 30 characters. Thanks!