The Black Friday Guide to iPhone List Making Apps

As the holiday shopping season kicks off with the arrival of Black Friday, it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to be getting those special people in your life. But where do you start?

You start with a list.

A list that you (hopefully) have kept throughout the year, attaching gift ideas to names so that when the time is right you can go out and shop as productively as possible. After all, no one wants to spend hours waiting in line at the shopping mall, right?


Keeping lists doesn’t have to be tedious – or specialized. There are plenty of apps you can use year-round that won’t just help you put together holiday shopping lists, but will help you keep things more organized in general. I’ve put together a list (ironic, no?) of a few of the most versatile list management and list making apps for iOS in the iTunes App Store so that you can get a sense of what’s available – and what one(s) might be right for you.


Listary ($2.99) is pretty simple, but also pretty fast because of it. You can sync your lists wirelessly across devices and share updates with others and get updated on the spot.


One of the other cool features Listary offers is that you can use your lists in other apps, like Due and Mac apps like Notational Velocity or its fork, nvALT. Not a Mac user? No worries…Listary can sync with other Windows and Android apps as well. Listary also lets you set a “default list:, which is great for capturing things to move into other, more specific lists later on.

It’s dead easy to use, dead easy to look at, and dead easy to get things done with. And for the price you’ll pay for it, I think that might just make it a dead easy decision for you to add to your list-making toolbox…don’t you?


Clear ($1.99) is a great app for those who want to make simple lists that they can afford to lose track of and is a great gateway for someone who isn’t using a task manager and doesn’t see the need for one.


Its interface is perhaps the most elegant of any list-making app out there, and it sure is appealing to use. You can set up numerous lists and customize the look of the app to suit your needs. It’s a pleasure to use and gets the job done in terms of handling simple lists.

If you’re not using any sort of task manager, Clear could be groundbreaking in that it makes to do lists appealing to use. Additionally, if you put some sort of structure in place from the onset you’re actually preparing yourself for a move to a more robust task management system. Shopping can be a chore, and that is something that using Clear certainly is not.


Checkmark ($2.99) is the Reminders app cranked up to 11.


The great thing about this app is that you can make lists based on location, and Checkmark will notify you when you are near that location so that you can be reminded of what you need to get there. This is incredibly handy at this time of year, especially if you’ve been shopping in your area and have been keeping track of stores that have certain gifts that are on someone’s wish list.

It’s got a tremendous interface and has a spot on my home screen because it is so versatile – and so important to me as it keeps me on track as I run errands and try to do so effectively and efficiently. And that’s a priceless feature that Checkmark has going for it.


Wunderlist (free) is an incredibly popular list management app that can also handle task management. It syncs across multiple platforms and allows you to share lists and items on those lists.


The great thing about Wunderlist is its ubiquity. You can view and modify your tasks on a multitude of platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux,iPad, Android, and the web.

Wunderlist is packed with a slew of features and looks great in both its interface and execution. You can assign due dates to items, send items to Wunderlist via email, and filter your lists so that you can be focused while you hit the malls trying to get your shopping done.

(And let’s face it…the price is right.)


No matter what list management or list making app you choose for your iPhone, the key is to make sure you have one. I’m sorry, but Notes and Reminders just won’t cut it (and you’d bet not be using Calendar to manage these sorts of things!). There are plenty of choices out there, but the ones I’ve outlined above are a great place to start looking.

And for some, they’ll be a great place to finish looking so they can get out there and start shopping.

What list management apps or list making apps do you use for the iPhone? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Photo credit: Kate Ter Haar (CC BY 2.0)