¶ Clear | Review

I really like lists. Seriously, it’s an OCD obsession, one I believe was passed down from my mother, who is the Queen of 3M Sticky Notes. I sort of picked up that tendency to plaster my desk with sticky notes, even though the clutter created by the act is incredibly annoying to a person who likes to keep things tidy (another OCD obsession).

Ever since I got an iPhone, I have been trying to find a great to-do app to take care of lists of things to do. Needless to say, I was thrilled when Apple released Reminders with iOS 5 because of it’s ability to write once, yet have my lists available across my three devices. And for the most part, it works pretty well.

Though Reminders falls short in two areas:

  1. On the Mac, they are currently shoved into iCal, which actually makes it quite difficult to deal with things if you keep multiple lists (this is fixed in Mountain Lion this summer, thank goodness).
  2. It’s really hard to sort items in Reminders by priority. It takes many taps, and, even then, you sometimes aren’t able to put the top priority item at the top of the lists.

Because of this, I find myself really using Reminders for items that either need an alarm or location alert. I’ve been using sticky notes for my daily to-do lists again. And my desk has been cluttered because of it, which annoys and distracts me.

Enter Clear by Realmac Software, Milen, and Imending, Inc., released last week. Clear is a new to-do list app for the iPhone that is re-imagined around gestures, instead of check-boxes and buttons.

To start a new list, you just pull down slightly or pinch apart between two existing lists, and type a name. Need to move the list up or down amongst other lists? Just tap and drag to where you need it.

Tap into list, and you are presented with a nice inspirational quote. Pull down slightly to add a new item, and type. Items are limited to holding 30 characters, encouraging brevity. Just like with lists, items can be added by pulling down again, or pinching apart between a couple items. Reordering works the same, too.

Reordering is where the good stuff happens. Put the important stuff at the top, and the less important stuff at the bottom. A visual gradient is applied between the list items to give a sense of priority, much like a heat map (which is, appropriately, the name of the default theme).

Swipe an item to the right to mark it as done, and it grays out and move below the last item of the list with a strike through it. If you decide you don’t need an item anymore, swipe to the left to delete it. As you mark items as complete, you get a progressive tone that is reminiscent of an old NES game about a plumber. When all items are complete, pull up to clear you list with a triumphant jingle to go along with it.

I have found that my favorite things about Clear are how fast I can add items and how easy it is to determine priority at a glance. It has pretty much taken over as my go-to place to jot down items as they hit me. It’s also earned a prominent spot on my iPhone — it sits right next to Twitterrific, so I am sure to see it often and tap into it.

I have one thing I would love for Clear to add in an update, and that is syncing with my iCloud Reminders. I love Clear’s interface, but it would be great if creating a new list in Clear made the change in Reminders across my devices. Then, if I do need an alarm of geolocation alert, I can switch to Reminders and add that, but I can use Clear as my main way to view and act on items.

I highly recommend giving Clear a shot for simplifying your daily tasks. It’s on the App Store for 99¢.