Article in App of the Week category.

Clear Is the To-Do List You Need This Year

Do you remember Clear? Launching more than 10 years ago, this app was a beloved digital solution for your typical pen and paper. It was…

Do you remember Clear? Launching more than 10 years ago, this app was a beloved digital solution for your typical pen and paper. It was gorgeous, minimalist, and so fun to use with its heavy reliance on gestures. Unfortunately, the app fell by the wayside and stopped receiving updates a while back. Now, one of the original development studios is bringing back Clear 2.0 to the excitement of many.

The whole thing with Clear is that it is an ultra-simple to-do app that shuns most of the interface distractions that can clutter up other apps. It’s purposefully gesture-driven to take advantage of your smartphone’s touch interface rather than just a bunch of buttons. Lead dev Phill Ryu said that today’s apps have gotten worse, stuffing the apps full of bloated features and removing the benefits of a touch interface.

Impending Software is leading the development, a job it originally shared with RealMac Software at the time of launch. Based on the time spent on the updated app, they’ve done an excellent job of instilling the app’s uniqueness with it once had. The pristine interface is devoid of extra buttons and you navigate the app by swiping, whether it be to remove items off a  list or go back to your main view.

My absolute favorite feature of Clear that I wish we’d see spread to other apps is how it is monetized. The app is free to download, and no paywall hides any advanced features.  There are no ads either to get in your way and ruin the aesthetic. Instead, it relies on an in-app store full of custom icons and themes. This store is refreshed daily and is an easy way to support the developers while modding the app to your preferences. This is brilliant, it isn’t user-hostile, and it's a way I’d much prefer to support good apps versus just removing those full-screen apps that take over everything.

Clear is just charming to use and for people who enjoy apps. Following @UseClear on X shows some behind-the-scenes on the process, including the subtle tweaks to animations that I love. It shows how much care goes into designing the best possible app for its customers.

I’ll admit it is missing some features I’d like to see — iCloud sync for example — but considering that the app is back at all is a blessing. I’ll continue to use this app and I am elated that more users will be able to experience it. Plus, maybe we’ll see a wave of change in how freemium apps are monetized!

But enough about other people's apps.


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