OmniFocus 2 for the iPhone was recently been released and we’ve been flooded with emails from readers and customers who want to know two things: what we think of it and if it’s worth upgrading.
The Asian Efficient answer: we like it a lot and yes it’s worth upgrading.
NOTE: if you are a OmniFocus Premium Posts customer, you will shortly receive an email from us with instructions to download the latest version of OmniFocus Premium Posts that has the latest OmniFocus 2 for iPhone content.
Update: All OmniFocus Premium Posts customers should have received email instructions to download the latest version that contains instructions for OmniFocus 2 for iPhone.
I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to play around with OmniFocus 2 for the iPhone for a while. The Omni Group was kind enough to provide me early access so I could play around with it before the general public. My first thoughts when I saw the new UI: bananas!
It’s obvious from the redesign that The Omni Group has embraced the direction of iOS 7. I mean, it’s completely different. From my experience, new user interfaces can be a blessing or a complete disaster. New UIs can imply new learning curves and features that you loved are now gone.
Fortunately, that’s not the case with OmniFocus 2 for iPhone. In fact, I think it’s more streamlined. It’s now easier to stay on top of your projects, to quickly dump stuff in your inbox and navigate around.
I’ve also made a quick video for you to see the new UI (and get a sneek peak of my OmniFocus setup):
Here’s a quick rundown of the changes that I particularly like:
- The homescreen (when you first start OmniFocus) has big buttons. This makes navigating much easier.
- I’ve noticed more count numbers which I really like. I can quickly see exactly how many items are in my inbox, how many commitments I have in my Forecast and the number of flagged items.
- Items that are due soon or overdue are now color coded in the circular box that you check off. In the previous version the whole line would be color coded, but now it’s just that circle on the right. This avoids the overwhelm you might get when you see a list of overdue items. I think a lot of you will appreciate this new look.
- The quick entry box is now always on your screen in the bottom right corner. This makes capturing fast and easy. Plus entering multiple quick entries is even easier now. This is by far my favorite update.
- The forecast view is now on top of your screen. It’s easier to see now what your schedule looks like.
- All projects and lists have dots under them and this shows you visually how many items there are in there. This is great to quickly see which projects are stacked and which ones are not.
- In the same feature, whenever there are overdue items, you’ll see red dots appearing. Now you can quickly see which projects and lists have a lot of overdue items that need your attention.
- The inspector (where you can view the specific details of your tasks) looks amazing and is soooo much easier to use. Before you had this popup that was cumbersome but this new inspector makes it easy to change specific details of your task.
- You can now share tasks easily over email. Every task, in the inspector view, has a buttom called “Share”. Tap on that and it will open Mail so you can send someone an email with the task and notes in the body of the email. A great feature for one-off things that need to be done by your spouse or assistant.
- I really like the “Convert to Project” option in the Inspector. I have a lot of ideas in my inbox that are projects, so turning items in my inbox into projects with one tap in the inspector is really nice.
- Syncing seems to be a lot faster now. This was always a big drawback on the first version but I’m happy to see that not being an issue anymore. Now I don’t have to add “just be patient with the syncing sometimes” whenever I recommend OmniFocus.
There are also a couple things that need improvement:
- It still doesn’t support project-based perspectives yet. I was secretly hoping it would be in this update, but it will come in a later update.
- Start dates are now gone and renamed to “Defer until”. Maybe it’s the meticulous programmer and planner side of me, but I like “start dates”. When I think of deferring, I think of “dumping it somewhere” for only to be shown again at a later time. It’s something I have to get used to even though the feature is exactly the same, it’s just renamed.
Overall it just feels really intuitive. Whoever was responsible for redesigning the UI should get a pay raise. Whenever I am browsing around and I want do something, I’ll try a gesture that I think I need, and it has always been the correct gesture. That just shows how intuitive it is and how tightly this redesign works with iOS 7. From an outsider this might seem trivial, but I can tell you that a lot of work goes into designing, scripting and executing this properly. So hats off to the team who made this redesign.
Obviously, to run OmniFocus 2 you need to have iOS 7. The Omni Group have announced that they’ll stop supporting the first version that runs on iOS 6 and below. They are fully committing to this new version and I think that’s a good move.
That does mean that this is a paid upgrade. You have to make a new purchase to get this app and from checking the Twitter-sphere, some people are hesitant about this.
Here’s my take on it:
- If you are a happy version 1 user, upgrading should be a no-brainer. This app will just streamline everything for you so if you use v1 a lot, this upgrade will make you even more effective.
- If you have never used OmniFocus before or any other todo list app, paying $20 is a scary thing to do. I get it. How serious are you about your productivity? If you’re like me and you value your time, get it, learn it and reap the benefits. You can always get our OmniFocus Premium Posts to help you get setup and started when you want some extra support.
- If you’re an unhappy user of version 1, reconsider. I think most people agree that the UI of version 1 wasn’t stellar. It was good, functional and it helped you get what you needed. This new UI makes it worthwhile to reconsider getting OmniFocus for all the points I’ve mentioned earlier.
Bottom line: upgrade and get it. As I’ve written before here, if you don’t understand the value of your time, then you can’t see why $20 for this app is NOTHING compared to how much more effective you are and the number of hours you free up.
People always ask me which todo list or task manager I recommend and I always say the same thing without hesitation: OmniFocus. If you’ve been following me, Asian Efficiency and our content all over the web, you know that already. We love this software, the company behind it (see our recent trip to their company HQ), the community around it and the customer support they have. With this new update I’m happy to say that I will continue to recommend this app. It’s available now worldwide on the App Store.
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