Clear+: Simple Task Management, Now for iPad

When it launched just over a year and a half ago, Clear received a lot of hype. For good reason: it was like no other task management app out there. However, it only graced the screens of iPhones and iPods. Until now.

With the debut of iOS 7, the world of Clear became available to all the sizes and shapes of Apple devices with Clear+, the new universal installment of the app. Today, I’ll be taking a look at the app’s performance on the iPad. Does it live up to its original ? Find out after the break.

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At First Glance

Perhaps the biggest reason Clear got so much attention when it first came out is because of its interface. It really was like no other task management interface at the time, and its simplicity was shocking to the masses of people used to the cumbersome interfaces of their favorite todo list applications.

To be honest, before Clear+ came out, I was worried how well the developers over at Realmac Software were going to use the iPad’s real estate to their advantage, as they did with the iPhone version of their app. It is evident that a lot of thought and work was put into making the interface stellar on the iPad end of the spectrum as well.

Space never feels wasted in Clear+, and everything has breathing room.

Space never feels wasted in Clear+, and everything has breathing room.

Space is used very effectively: the addition of the sidebar not only keeps the app clean, but rids the need of any additional gestures that would make the app annoying to use. Ample space is given for tasks, so you can even go into some extent of detail without breaching into the awkward-looking second line. But even if you only have two words in a task, it doesn’t feel like you’re wasting space as everything is bundled into one cohesive unit.

Let’s not forget about the themes, either! Clear+ comes packed with eight themes upon first installing it, including three new themes called “Magnificent,” “Whale,” and “Sunflowers”. And, of course, there are themes that can be unlocked either by reaching certain milestones in the application or by having other apps, like Tweetbot, installed on your device as well.

If you’re looking to create a visual hierarchy of tasks, be sure to choose a color scheme like Heat Map that has a high contrast in colors. Some themes, like Sunflowers, have hardly any contrast, which can make it hard to establish a visual prioritization of your tasks.

The colors of the themes as well as the flat UI in Clear+ makes it seamless with iOS 7's new stylings.

The colors of the themes as well as the flat UI in Clear+ makes it seamless with iOS 7’s new stylings.

Getting Started

Clear+ functions heavily on gestures. It’s pretty straightforward — along the lines of swipe right to complete a task, swipe left to delete it — but there is a short little tutorial that walks you through the rest of the gestures after downloading the application.

Peek in action: you're able to view more tasks in the sidebar by swiping with two fingers.

Peek in action: you’re able to view more tasks in the sidebar by swiping with two fingers.

The app functions on lists. There is no limit on how many lists you can make, as well as how many items you can put in each list. However, the more tasks you put in the list, the harder it becomes to find them, so I’d recommend keeping your lists on the shorter side. Because of the sidebar, it’s easy to transfer tasks between lists as well, so reorganizing isn’t all too hard nor time-consuming.

To keep more organized, I like to use emojis to help classify tasks and lists. Emojis are a great way to “tag” your tasks so you’re able to tell what they are for at first glance without it looking too bloated.

New to Clear+ is the ability to “peek” at lists. By swiping with two fingers on a list in the left column, you’re able to quickly look at all the tasks in that list. This eliminates a need to constantly switch between lists in order to get a wider view of what you need to get done.


Since Clear+ is stripped of most of the bells and whistles other to-do list applications boast, it is a valid assumption that the app won’t aid your productivity. There isn’t a proper way to add due dates aside from writing it alongside the task, the only reminder setting is a badge tallying the amount of tasks you have in lists, and you can’t add task notes that are hidden away from the main flow of things.

So, how is Clear+ effective? By getting rid of clutter.

I have found that in getting rid of all of the clutter that comes from tags and boxes and windows and settling on an app that offers a streamlined, simple interface increased my productivity. It makes the app efficient: I don’t have to tap on all sorts of different buttons and tabs to get to what I want to see—everything is either right on the surface or no more than a tap away. You save a lot of time by just jotting down the task itself and not having to fill out fields full of notes and other information that you don’t need but is often asked for.

There's nothing more gratifying than finishing all your tasks. Clear+ rewards you with an inspiring quote.

There’s nothing more gratifying than finishing all your tasks. Clear+ rewards you with an inspiring quote.

Besides, the clutter created by these unnecessary checkboxes and tags and notes slapped onto tasks in the typical todo app makes things look much more daunting and stress-inducing than they actually are. Clear+’s reliance on natural movements and your mind’s reception to color actually makes you want to return to the app and makes even the most packed todo lists less stressful.

In Sync

Clear+ uses iCloud to sync your tasks across all platforms, whether it be to your iOS devices or your Mac. I have found that this feature works flawlessly, with the apps updating tasks within a few seconds after being edited on a different platform.

The Verdict

At the end of the day, Clear+ does as its marketed to do. The app is very efficient, minimizing the amount of layers that you need to sift through in order to get to the guts of what you need to do, offering a clean way to keep all of your tasks in check. Its lack of clutter even seems to alleviate some of the stress having a lot to do can put on you; it syncs perfectly from device to device so your tasks aren’t tethered to one place. And it comes in one pretty package, too.

Of course, the app is not for everyone — many of you may find that you need an app a little bit more fully featured than Clear+. Some of you may find that you need notifications to remind you to complete a task, and some of you may need more organizational tools than Clear+ provides. But if you have found these additional features, usually standard to todo apps, annoying in the past, Clear+ may be the solution for you.

Clear+ is universal, and available for $4.99 on the App Store.


A minimalist todo list app that promotes productivity without all the baggage typical todo apps carry.