Get your priorities right with Clear

By Pete Davison Comment

Clear is an iOS-based To-Do list app from Realmac Software. The app has been available for a little while now, but the recently-released Mac OS X version has been positively received and has brought an influx of new users thanks to its iCloud integration. The iOS version is available now for $1.99.

Clear is designed to be a simple, gesture-driven list-making app that provides a simple, no-frills interface for organizing and prioritizing tasks. Users are able to create multiple lists to categorize items, create as many entries within that list as they desire, organize them into order of priority and then mark them off as completed when appropriate.

The gestures used in the app take a little learning initially, but soon become second nature. Pulling a list down creates a new item at the top. Pinching two existing list items apart creates an item between them. Tapping and holding allows an item to be reordered. Swiping to the right marks something as completed, while swiping to the left deletes it. Shaking the device allows undo/redo functionality as well as the ability to paste in a list of tasks from elsewhere, while pulling the list up from the bottom allows for the user to “Clear” any items marked as completed.

Pinching a list together “zooms out” to the next layer. If looking at the contents of a list, the app moves to the list of lists. If looking at the list of lists, the app moves to its main menu, from which it’s possible to choose a color scheme for the app, read some tips and tricks, follow the individual members of the Clear team on Twitter, and customize various settings including iCloud support, app badges, whether or not the iOS status bar is visible and whether sound effects and vibration are used as additional feedback during use. In a nice touch, there is some unobtrusive cross-promotion between apps — having the popular game LetterPress installed on one’s device unlocks a LetterPress-inspired color scheme in Clear.

Clear is a simple but effective app for making lists. Its gestural controls work well for the most part — though the “pinch together” move is sometimes difficult to perform correctly — and it is presented well, with a simple, clean visual style and satisfying (optional) sound effects. It lacks some features that some may desire from a more conventional To-Do list app, however — there is no means of setting a due date on a task, nor any means of setting a reminder. It is simply a means of creating, organizing and prioritizing lists, and while this will be enough for some users, it may frustrate those looking for a little more functionality.

All this said, Clear is up-front about what it does and doesn’t do, and the things it does do it does extremely well. iCloud integration between multiple iOS devices and the Mac OS X version is seamless and easy to set up thanks to how deeply iCloud is baked into the various operating systems, and the app is quick and easy enough to use on all platforms to make it an eminently practical solution for those who need to make lists. There may be free apps out there that have similar functionality — Any.DO is a good example — but few quite so polished as Clear.