Things is a task management application for Apple computers and devices. It’s made by a small team based in Germany and has been downloaded millions of times. It has won several awards, too. In this Things review, we’ll see how it shapes up.
Unlike many of the platforms we look at, it runs locally, rather than in the browser. There are pros and cons to that, as we’ll see. It has cloud features that let you share data across multiple devices, though.
Things focuses on the basics of task management, allowing you to create lists of tasks and tick them off as you finish them. It’s a simple, effective task management tool that does what it does well.
There are a few extras, but there aren’t too many. It focuses on its core feature and does it effectively. Its interface is smooth and clear and doesn’t get in your way. We experienced the occasional bug with it, but nothing too serious.
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Free cloud services
- Apple Design Award winner
- Few bugs & crashes
- Pay upfront to use the app
- Not many integrations
Alternatives for Things
Things is only available for Apple products and doesn’t have a web version. Windows users might want to check out our Wunderlist review for an alternative.
The basic workflow, as with most task management tools, is creating tasks and ticking them off when you finish them.
You can create multiple projects, which each contain their own set of tasks. Tasks can be grouped into headed lists. You can even group projects if you have several of a similar type.
You can break tasks further with checklists, which can be ticked off just like tasks. You can also set up recurring tasks. That way, when you finish one, a new one will be created, saving you the hassle. That can be a big timesaver if you have lots of regular chores that you need to tick off.
Tasks can be categorized via tags. There are a few of those by default, but you can add your own as needed. There’s also a quick search feature with which you can type text and find tasks or tags that include it. It didn’t quite work for us though, because it didn’t pick out all the tasks it should have.
If you’re brave and have a clear speaking voice, you can create tasks by talking to Siri. Read our best speech-to-text software guide if that feature appeals to you.
If you send a message to a specific email address when you sign up for Things’ cloud service, you can also create tasks without entering the app.
You won’t have to worry about files or storage space. Those aren’t problems with simple task management app, but you’d expect to see them in the best project management software. If you need somewhere to share files, take a look at our best cloud storage guide.
You can get notifications, too. On the desktop macOS app, you go to the notifications center and pick Things from the apps listed there.
Importing tasks is available for a few apps, but in most cases, you’ll need to download a script to get Things’ notifications to work. That’s clunkier than many apps, but the option is there if you need it.
There’s a calendar button on each task that you can use to set deadlines. You can also type in times and dates. You can then see which tasks are scheduled for the current day and view upcoming tasks in a list.
If you want to give your eyes a rest, you can switch Things from its light color scheme to a dark one. It crashed the first time we changed it, but we didn’t lose any of our information.
That’s it in terms of features. It keeps things simple with just one view. If you like the simple approach but prefer to arrange your tasks on a kanban board, check out our Trello review. If you like it, read our Trello beginner’s guide for help getting started with it.
Because there’s no browser version, Things stores your data locally, but there’s an option to use its cloud features to share data.
If you run things locally, you won’t need to worry about people hacking your account. The only way they can access your data is if they get access to your machine. The local version doesn’t have a login system, though, so if someone steals your device, you’re more vulnerable than you would be with a password-protected online service.
To learn more about how people can access your information, read our article on Edward Snowden and government surveillance.
If you use the Things cloud to share data between devices, you can rest assured it uses 256-bit encryption for data in transit and at rest. Read our description of encryption for more on that.
It complies with the General Data Protection Regulation, as well as the German Federal Data Protection Act and Telemedia Act. To learn what you can do to manage your privacy, read our online privacy guide.
Things Features Overview
- Dependency management
- Custom backgrounds: Dark and light color schemes
- Other customization options: No
- Team size limit: 1
- Storage space
- Free Trial: 15 days
- Payment: Credit Card, Paypal, Apple Pay, IDEAL, mobile billing
- Accepts cryptocurrency: No
- Mobile OS support: iOS, Mac OS
- Two-factor authentication: No
- Encryption: AES-256
- SOC certification: N/A
- Ticket-based support
- Live chat: No
- Phone support: No
Things is easy to download and run. You don’t need to sign up or provide your email address. You just download the app and open it.
The downloaded app runs directly from the download location, rather than installing itself, so you’ll need to move it somewhere and set up shortcuts yourself.
The first time you use Things, it welcomes you with a brief tour of its features and offers to create an introductory project for you. The introductory project has several lists of tasks to work through. The first takes you around the basics of the application and the others show you more advanced, optional features.
That said, there isn’t much to see. Like most task management applications, the basics are basic and the extras are more advanced, but Things is a no-frills tool. It’s a user-friendly application that won’t give you headaches.
The controls are on the small side. Everything works well, but there were occasionally issues. The calendar failed to appear at one point while following the tutorial, for example. It is easy to use and figure out, but it’s not so butter smooth that using it is effortless.
Overall, we found its interface to be decent enough but not perfect.
Things takes the old-fashioned approach to software ownership. You pay a one-time fee to own the app outright. The macOS version has a 15-day trial that you don’t need a credit card to use.
It costs between $9.99 and $49.99, depending on the platform you use it on. The macOS version, which is what we tested, isn’t cheap, but compares well to other tools’ monthly fees. The iOS versions are much better value.
Its cloud features are available at no extra charge, which is a big plus.
Service & Support
It is quite hard to get stuck in Things, but if you manage it, plenty of support is offered. There’s an FAQ and knowledgebase on its main support page, as well as a button to get in touch if you still need help after that. It takes you to a contact form.
The contact form asks you for a few extra details, such as the version of the app you’re using and the version of your operating system, but it doesn’t force you to provide them if you’re in a rush.
We tried asking about two-factor authentication and got a response after five hours. That’s a decent response time, and the answer was the most comprehensive we’ve had to one of our support queries.
If you’re interested in a platform with even faster support times, read our Basecamp review to learn about a service that got back to us in three minutes.
Things is easy to use and has great support. It isn’t the cheapest app and its interface isn’t perfect, but it works well and does what you’d expect of it.
Overall, it’s a great choice for Apple fans. Mac owners looking for software with more depth can read our best project management software for Mac article.
If you’ve tried Things, please share your thoughts on it in the comments. Thanks for reading.