TickTick: Remarkably Powerful and Elegant Task Managing

TickTick: Remarkably Powerful and Elegant Task Managing

TickTick is a multi-platform to-do list app released in 2017 by California-based Appest, Inc. It is a powerful app with a plethora of features mostly surrounding setting reminders in a better way than other apps and websites and the traditional way of pen and paper. It is currently available on Windows, Android, iOS, watchOS, macOS, as a Chrome, Firefox, Outlook or Gmail extension, or as a webapp at ticktick.com.

Why TickTick over other apps?

I stumbled upon TickTick while trying to find a to-do app that would fit my needs by searching on Reddit a couple years ago. Little did I know what capability some of these apps would have in store for me; all I was looking for at that time was something that would be more complex than Google Keep, which I had previously used on and off. At the time, I had read multiple comments recommending me TickTick and comparing the free version to competitor Todoist‘s free version, one of its main competitors, saying it was better and a better experience in their opinion. I shrugged and went to the Play Store to go and download it. When I opened the app, I was greeted by a complex but intuitive interface that would be the solution to keeping my life together for the foreseeable future.

TickTick has a distinct UI that can most easily be compared to Todoist’s. There may be subtle differences between different platforms (watchOS having a completely different one due to the screen size) but generally, there will be a pattern in the interface. The main screen has all of your tasks, with the overdue ones at the top (by default, this is changeable) and the rest of your tasks sorted by date in descending order in sections based on the date they’re due. There is a hamburger menu which reveals a sidebar giving access to your profile, lists, and different views of the main screen. On desktop versions, there will be a panel on the right showing the selected task, with its name, due date/time, priority, applicable subtasks, and description labeled under it. On mobile versions, this will be shown once clicking on the task.

Creating a Task

Creating a task is a simple task (haha). Using the text box near the top on desktop clients, you can type the name of the task and set the due date/time. On mobile devices, use the “+” floating action button near the bottom right on mobile devices to bring up a dialog to allow you to set the name of the task as well as the due date/time, priority, labels, and inbox which you want to create the task in.

The task creation input box on the desktop client.
The task creation input box on the mobile application.

When adding a date, a calendar will show up to select the date, and a button to bring up a dialog to set the time. On desktop devices, this will show a dropdown that has times of day in 30 minute intervals, ranging from 12:00 AM to 11:30 PM, although you can set your own time by typing it in the input box. On mobile devices, the same calendar pops up, but your operating system’s time selection panel should show up. If you need to have a task repeat a certain amount of times or until a certain date with special conditions, TickTick also has you covered on that. There are multiple presets for task repetition:

  • Daily
  • Every weekday (from Monday to Friday)
  • Weekly (on the day of week the task was set, ex. Wednesday)
  • Monthly (on the day the task was set, ex. 19th)
  • Monthly (on the day of week the task was set, ex. Wednesday)
  • Yearly

There is also a “custom” option, in the case that none of the above presets fit your needs. You can set a task to repeat once every day, week, month, or year, or on certain days of the week. It’s also possible to set the duration of a task, though this is only available for TickTick Premium members.

Unfortunately for any time travelers, setting a task at any time before the moment you create it will result in an error saying that the due time is invalid. However, there does not seem to be a limit on the time ahead you can set a task; I currently have one with a due date of January 1st, 2096. Another useful feature that’s caught me quite a few times is a simple reminder that reminds you, in the early hours of morning, that setting a reminder for “tomorrow” maybe should be set for “today” for any night owls setting tasks after 12 AM.

The priority of a task can show how urgent or important the task is, and has four levels- high (rose), medium (yellow), low (blue), and none. It is none by default.

Smart Parsing: The Holy Grail of Time-Saving

Smart parsing!
Smart parsing with relative time.

Smart parsing is one of the absolutely incredible features of TickTick that really highlights one of the benefits of using technology over pen and paper. In short, smart parsing allows to writing “Thursday at 8AM” or “in 17 hours” as part of a task’s name and have TickTick automatically set the appropriate time and date of the task corresponding to the text you wrote. Using smart parsing instead of manually selecting the date and time, especially when using a relative figure, saves a lot of time and math. A lot of keywords can be used, including but not limited to:

  • Today/tomorrow
  • Next Wednesday
  • In 7 minutes/hours/days (works with any time unit minutes or above, shorthand like m, h, min or hr can be used)
  • 7:00 (at 7 would also work. Sets the reminder to the next 7 o’clock)
  • 7 PM (other variations of PM like pm or p.m. also work. Sets the reminder to the next 7 PM)
  • breakfast, lunch, or supper (sets the time at either 8 AM, 12 PM, or 6 PM respectively)

It’s also possible to set repeat tasks with smart parsing:

  • Every 2 days (Will set a reminder every other day, inclusive)
  • Every weekday (Will set a reminder for every Mon/Tue/Wed/Thu/Fri in every week)
  • Every weekend (Like above but with Sat/Sun
  • 28th of every month (Every month on the 28th)

Use the following to set priority:

  • !High Priority
  • !Medium Priority
  • !Low Priority

TickTick supports many more keywords than just those listed above. See the exhaustive list in this support article.


TickTick (at least on Android and Windows) has an option for both operating system and TickTick client notifications. All notifications on desktop and mobile platforms show the title and description of the task and give the option to either complete or snooze the notification with the choice of 15 minutes, an hour, 3 hours, and tomorrow (and on some platforms, tomorrow morning- 9 AM by default- and the option to set a custom time). An annoying alert is also available for mobile devices, making the alert… well, annoying. The alert will “not go off in a minute and will be active again after two minutes until the notification has been handled.” Surely you’d be on your feet to complete whatever task that thing went off for, right?

Default Windows TickTick notification.
Default Android TickTick notification.

The ringtone by default is the same as the iOS ping sound, but this is changeable with 5 options on desktop clients and a vast multitude on Android and iOS (although Android has quite a few more). Personally, I have stuck with the default notification sound but am open to try some different ones if I find the ping a little boring. The important thing is that they work.

The notification sound selection dropdown menu.
The large amount of ringtones on Android. There are a lot more choices above and below the bounds of the screenshot.

It’s also possible to have TickTick send you a “Daily Notification”, which at a certain time, sends a notification detailing the day in tasks- tasks which are overdue and those for the day are shown. However, you can toggle off overdue tasks and all-day tasks (tasks which don’t have a specified time). You can have multiple of these notifications, if you want. I personally found it useful while in in-person school but don’t use it as much anymore as I have sort of built a habit around checking my tasks everyday and having a notification for doing that would be redundant.

Organizing Your Tasks Better


Attaching tags to your tasks can help sort them in a much more orderly way. Along with the easily distinguishable colored background and the text shown under each task, you can view a list of tasks that only have a certain tag attached, making separating school projects and personal stuff a lot easier. Tags can have sub-tags, making it easier to have a hierarchical system of tags with sub-tags inheriting the characteristics of their parent tags.

A task with two tags attached.


Lists are another great way to organize tasks. If you want a less connected, more isolated way to separate your tasks, lists are what you need. Each list is its own separate area that doesn’t get entangled with other tasks from your inbox or each other. This is awesome if you have a super large amount of tasks that are easily organizable and tags just aren’t doing it for you. However, list tasks can be seen from the main screen, so looking at all your tasks at a glance shouldn’t be hard. All of your lists are on the sidebar for easy access.

Some tasks under the “Life” list. No other tasks mixed in!
All tasks for today and tomorrow. The first one isn’t a part of a list, but the last three are.

Lists can have color accents, which show as a side border on the desktop clients, making the main display much more manageable to look at. The name of the list is also printed under the task in a lighter font.


Having a large project with different sections and subsections with subsections for those subsections would be a logistical nightmare without subtasks. Nested tasks easily show the relation and relevance between different tasks that are related in some way, whether they both pertain to the same subsection of a project or they both are jobs that are part of a larger group assignment. Subtasks can be added by selecting the task and clicking “Add Subtask” by clicking the three dots either on the right of the task if on desktop, or in the top right corner if on a mobile device. They can also be added via drag-and-drop by moving one task under another.

An example of three subtasks under one main parent task.


Calendar View - TickTick by YAO on Dribbble
The calendar view.

TickTick offers the option to view your tasks in different ways, although this is limited to Premium users. There exists a calendar view where you can view your tasks in a similar manner to the Apple Calendar app or Google Calendar. There is a Kanban boards view as well in case you are familiar with Trello, Asana, Notion, et cetera. Unfortunately, I can’t really go into too much detail as I don’t currently own a Premium membership.

Pomodoro Timer

A last extra thing is the existence of the pomodoro timer, which functions like a regular pomodoro timer. For those who don’t know, the pomodoro technique is a method of time management that has a certain “work time” (let’s say, 45 minutes) and a “rest time” (let’s say, 15 minutes), in which you either work on whatever you’d like to get done, or take a break. After a certain amount of repetitions, there is often a longer break (let’s say, 35 minutes), allowing the user to go grab lunch or watch some TV or whatever to break the monotony. I personally don’t use the TickTick pomodoro timer specifically (it is a premium feature), but will occasionally use a different app. The TickTick one allows for setting a custom time for both the work and rest times, as well as setting after how many repetitions the long break should start, the length of the long break, the ringtone of the cycle completions, and the goal amount of repetitions per day.

Your profile

Every TickTick user has a profile. It shows a lot of statistics and information about your usage of the app. This is accessible by clicking on your profile picture and going to “Statistics” on the desktop client (which will bring up a webpage) or by clicking on your profile picture in the sidebar on mobile devices. Regardless of what platform you use TickTick on, the information that is given in the statistics is pretty much the same. Some things might have been moved to other places, but both have the following:

  • An overview, showing how many tasks you’ve completed, how long you’ve been using TickTick, and how productive you are relative to other users
  • An achievement score, a score showing how productive you’ve been since you’ve started using the platform
  • A completion curve, showcasing the (average) amount of tasks completed within the past few days, weeks, or months
  • A completion rate bar chart, showing the rate of completion of tasks per day or by week

On the desktop webpage, there is also a Pomo section for users of the pomodoro timer, as well as a more in-depth overview that also shows the total amount of lists and tasks that have been created. For every day, there will also be doughnut charts showing the rate of completion, and how many of the completed tasks were on-time, overdue, undated, or uncompleted.

On the mobile application, there are specific badges that you can earn, with goals such as completing a certain amount of tasks, using the pomodoro timer for a certain amount of time, or being a TickTick user for a certain amount of time. Also, in addition to the achievement score, there is also a leveling system that is based on the achievement score. My score is currently 13,907, and I am level 8. Reaching levels can give you rewards, which I’ve only seen in the form of new themes, although there could be more.

My profile, showcasing the overview of my time on TickTick, along with my achievement score, a line graph of last week’s completion, and a bar chart of last week’s completion rate.
Badges on the mobile app.

Settings & Options

TickTick is also very widely customizable on both desktop and mobile devices (they do not sync, as there are differences between themes on varying platforms). The first time I used it, I was surprised by the complexity of the application matched with the amount of things that you could toy with in the settings menu. Previously, I had pretty much only used Google Keep, which is a very toned-down application in terms of features and customizability, as to be expected by Google. Here are some of the settings that I would tweak first to make full effect of your experience:


Themes are a great way to customize the look of the app, and are available on all platforms. Mobile devices seem to have the highest degree of customizability, however.

Color-only themes alongside the seasonal and city series of themes.

The first seven colors under “Pure Color” (or “Classic” on mobile) have light backgrounds with the selected color as the accent. Selecting dark will change the background to a dark gray, with the accent being a slightly lighter gray. On mobile devices, there are also true black modes for devices with OLED screens that come in blue and orange accents.

Premium users have a wider variety of theme choice, with three additional categories that go beyond a simple color accent:

The Season series:

  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn
  • Winter

The Cities series, with skylines inspired by the following cities:

  • London, England
  • Moscow, Russia
  • San Francisco, CA, USA
  • Seoul, South Korea
  • Shanghai, China
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • New York, NY, USA
  • Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Cairo, Egypt

There is also a photographs series, which can differ between platforms:

  • Architecture, a picture of the side of a curved building
  • B & W, a picture of the sea in black and white
  • Desert, a picture of rolling sand dunes
  • Greenery, a picture of some green foliage
  • Swallow, a picture of a swallow with its wings spread out in the sky
  • Ocean, a picture of the still ocean (Mobile exclusive, requires level 7)
  • Mystery, a picture of a few forest-covered hills under a light pink sky (Mobile exclusive, level 8)
  • Kitty, a picture of a cute kitten (Mobile exclusive, level 9)
  • Bay, a picture of the horizon with a boat floating on the water (Mobile exclusive, level 11)

Lastly, there are two mobile-exclusive themes under the activities series portraying special events. These don’t require a level or a premium membership:

  • World Cup, a theme related to the most recently held 2018 World Cup displaying a player kicking a soccer ball
  • Xmas, a depiction of a reindeer pulling a sleigh over a blanket of snow in the nighttime


Notifications are what make TickTick useful when you’re away from the app. Mobile and desktop versions have slightly different options selections due to the difference between operating systems.

The mobile settings menu has a few options: the previously mentioned daily notification, the ringtone for reminders, the aforementioned annoying alert, a toggle switch to allow or disallow vibration when reminding, a toggle switch to allow or disallow pop-ups that come from the bottom of your screen that are more rich than OS notifications, the completion sound, a toggle for app haptics, and setting the default notifications for shared lists. There is also a “Reminders Not Working?” reset switch in case your reminders aren’t working.

The desktop settings menu has only three options: the choice between OS notifications and custom TickTick client notifications, a toggle switch for having a ringtone, and the completion sound, of which you have five choices.

Date and Time

The date and time settings are there in case you need to switch around some settings during initial setup, when changing regions, or something of the sort.

The mobile settings menu allows you to change the week’s start day (with the choices being Sunday, Monday, or Saturday), whether or not you want to show week numbers, when week 1 is, having reminders display a countdown to the date or a due date, and whether or not to localize to the current time zone.

The desktop settings menu is once again, less comprehensive than the mobile settings menu, with only the choice to choose between 12 and 24 hour clocks, what day of the week to start the week on, showing week numbers, and time zone localization.

Other Useful Settings

There are some other useful settings that can enhance your experience but aren’t super integral or are a small tip that doesn’t warrant creating another category for describing it.

  • Task defaults: Setting a task default can help save time by having a default time and date set for tasks if there is no timestamp specified in the task. I have my default date set to “Today” and my time set to 6:00 PM, so any task I create without specifying a time will remind me at that time.
  • Smart list: On the sidebar, by default, there will be a “Today”, “Inbox”, and on certain platforms, a “Next 7 Days” and “Calendar”. You can toggle these off or add other ones by toggling them in the Smart List section of the settings menu. The options are all tasks, today, tomorrow, next 7 days, calendar, assigned to me, completed, trash, and summary.
  • The referral system: TickTick has a referral system that is similar to most other companies’ referral systems- having your friend sign up under your link will grant you some reward, in this case, a month of premium after your friend has signed up for premium.
  • Importing and integration: If you like having an interconnected life with integrations between multiple services, such as the Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, IFTTT or Zapier, TickTick has support for those. Also, if you’re coming in from Todoist, it’s easy to import your tasks from there into TickTick instead or typing them out manually.


If needed for a group project or some form of communication, TickTick has collaboration built inside of it, allowing lists to be shared with other people. This can be achieved by going to a pre-existing list and selecting “Collaborate” or “Share” depending on platform and sending inviting someone via email or via a link. Mobile users also have the option to allow TickTick to use their contacts to search for people.

Setting the permissions for an invited team member.

After inviting someone, even if they haven’t accepted, you have the choice of setting their permissions within the list, with the three options being similar to Google Docs’- the ability to edit, comment on, or just view the list. Once someone accepts your list invite, you will be able to assign them tasks. Note that this will still notify everybody in the list- even if the task doesn’t have an assignee.

Changing who the task is assigned to.

These lists can further be separated into sections for better organization, if needed. Section divisions have the same appearance of the date divisions in the inbox and cannot be customized or otherwise changed aside from name. Aside from collaboration, these lists function exactly the same as solo lists- the only differentiating characteristic is the ability to have multiple people and have tasks assigned to them.

Widgets for Desktop and Mobile

Widgets have been around for a while for many operating systems, mainly Android and older versions of Windows, and recently iOS. TickTick, from my knowledge, has widgets for Android, iOS, and Windows. Android has had the largest support for widgets for quite a few many years, and TickTick as such has the most nuanced widgets on that platform. Widgets on iOS, while more recent, are also great and functional. The Windows widget is also great for any desktop users, although there are only two.

Nice work on the iOS 14 widget guys! : ticktick
Two of TickTick’s iOS widgets.
One of TickTick’s Android widgets.
TickTick’s Windows list widget.

TickTick on Android has 10 different widgets:

  • A 1×1 badge icon of the app
  • A compact 3×3 list of tasks
  • A 5×5 calendar that displays the tasks for the month
  • A non-compact 5×5 list of tasks with more detail than the compact one
  • A 4×1 pomodoro timer
  • The standard 5×3 list of tasks
  • A 1×1 shortcut button
  • A 5×5 timeline reminiscent of Google Calendar’s UI (premium only)
  • A 5×3 today’s habits list
  • A 5×3 list of tasks for the week

TickTick on iOS has 9 different widgets:

  • A 2×2 task list
  • A 4×2 task list
  • A 4×4 task list
  • A 2×2 today’s habits list
  • A 2×4 today’s habits list
  • A 4×4 today’s habits list
  • A 2×4 monthly calendar view (premium only)
  • A 4×4 monthly calendar view (premium only)
  • A 2×4 daily view with calendar and task list

TickTick on Windows only has two different widgets:

  • A list view
  • A calendar view

I personally use the standard 5×3 on my Pixel 3a and no widget on my iPhone or Windows PC. I found the compact one a little too featureless for my liking, and the 5×5 too big to fit my homescreen.

Premium: Is It Worth It?

The TickTick premium purchase page.

A TickTick Premium subscription costs $2.79 a month, or $27.99 a year (buying 12 months would cost $33.48, effectively saving $5.49 if purchasing by year) for a plethora of features. Although I’m not sure if they can be compared, Todoist’s lowest premium tier is $4 a month, or $36 a year. Some of the features gained by purchasing a subscription include:

  • A monthly calendar view
  • A timeline calendar view
  • The ability to subscribe to calendars
  • Calendar widgets
  • Setting duration for tasks
  • Custom smart lists
  • Unlimited use of “plan your day”
  • reminder for checkbox tasks
  • estimated duration for tasks (integration with pomodoro)
  • Pomodoro widget
  • Historical statistics
  • Quick ball (Android only)
  • More themes
  • White noise for pomodoro timer
  • More lists, tasks, and checkbox items (299, 999, and 199 each respectively)
  • Up to 5 reminders per task
  • Up to 99 attachments per day
  • Group sharing with 29 members
  • List activies
  • Task activies
  • Unlimited habits

Personally, I wouldn’t use most of the premium features of TickTick aside from possibly the themes or calendar views, so I am staying on the free tier, although I have before purchased one month to test the waters and support the developers. I can’t speak for whether or not it’s a good deal, but I’m sure there’s someone out there that can for you. More detail is available on the website, or inside the mobile app.

Final Verdict

When I came looking for a task app to organize myself and my homework needs in 2019, I really didn’t expect to get the complexity that TickTick provides. I’ve been using it near-religiously since then and can’t really see myself living without it. At least I’d be an absolute wreck without the convenience that I’ve experienced. Hopefully my review has given you plentiful information so you can make a decision on whether or not you want to try it out. Maybe I didn’t convince you, and that’s alright. I hope you enjoyed my post- this is, by a large margin, the longest post I’ve written on here yet, and rightfully so. Peace out, everyone!