Begin review: keep track of daily lists without distractions

Begin 3

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before: I am a list maker. I write at least one list every single day. I’m constantly tracking every moment of my life by writing down what needs to be done and then checking it off a list. It is such a satisfying feeling to see those bold lines crossing out everything you’ve done.

Begin makes the task of list making as simple as writing it down on a piece of paper by taking away all of the bells and whistles you might normally see in a to-do list app, and that is a good thing…


This app takes minimalism to the extreme. It was designed to be compatible with iOS 7. In fact, you can’t even use it without having iOS 7 installed. That’s how forward thinking the developers are.

The theme is red and white and everything is flat and bright. The font is simple, bold, and easy to read. The controls are gesture based. Swipe from left to right to check off an item. Swipe from right to left to move an item to tomorrow. Touch and drag an item to reorganize it. Drag your finger downward to add a new task. Drag your finger upward to see uncompleted tasks from previous days.

In the Settings section, you can enable the Night Mode theme, which turns the app black and blue. You can also buy six additional themes, including Forest, Solarized Light and Dark, Flamingo, and more. Personally, I love the theme that comes with the app. No need to change it.

Begin 2App Use

Creating a list is unbelievably simple. Drag your finger downward to call up the “Add Item” bar. Type in the new task and tap the plus (+) button in the right hand corner of the bar. Done.

Create your first list of the day by adding as many items as you want. If you know that there are some items you don’t want to complete until tomorrow, “table” the item by swiping your finger from right to left. The item will automatically move to the next day’s list.

Once you’ve completed a task, swipe your finger on it from left to right. The item will dim and a line will go through it. This is my favorite part of this app. I know it seems silly, but I love being able to see the items still on the list, but with a big mark through it.

Once the day is through, if you have any items on your list that you have not yet completed (I always have unfinished to-do lists), they will automatically move to the Uncompleted Tasks list. The next time you open the app, you can either delete the item or move it back to today’s list. Then, move it to tomorrow’s list if you don’t think you will get to it today.

You can turn on or off Night Mode in the app’s Settings section. Night Mode turns the app black and blue. You can set your daily task reminder. This feature will automatically send an alert to you once per day, reminding you of how many unfinished tasks are on today’s list.

You can also share your list with others on Facebook and Twitter, or send it directly through email and SMS. The list will appear with bullet points and be separated by today’s list and tomorrow’s list. If you are sending the items to someone who also uses Begin, they will be able to add the list to their app just by tapping the “Add to Begin” link that is included with the shared list.

Begin 1The Good

I mentioned above that I love the fact that an item remains on the list when you have completed it, but is crossed out. It is so satisfying to see what you’ve accomplished in a day.

I also love how simplistic this app is. I don’t normally use a to-do app for my daily lists because I just want something I can add items to fast. This doesn’t offer very many features, but gives you just what you need to make a simple daily to-do list.

The Bad

The only thing missing from this app, in my opinion, is a subcategory feature. When I make lists on paper, I will oftentimes have a task that includes items that need to be completed for that task. For example, I might add “Mail Packages” to my list, and under that item, I’ll add “get boxes,” “weigh boxes,” and “go to USPS.” I’d like to be able to add a subcategory for certain tasks.


You can download Begin for only $0.99. It is reasonably priced for the genre. However, it teeters on the edge of being an app that should be free with in-app purchases to unlock additional features.


This app is easy to use, doesn’t bog you down with a bunch of unnecessary features, and turns list making into a simple event. If you are looking for an app that lets you create projects with deadlines and multiple sub-headers, you should look somewhere else, but if you want an app that is just as easy as writing a list on a piece of paper, then this one is for you. Download it in the App Store today.

Related Apps is a hugely popular to-do app that is also fairly simple with not many bells and whistles. Carrot To-Do makes a game out of getting stuff done and yells at you if you don’t complete items on your list.

How do you make to-do lists? Do you have a favorite list making app?