What’s going on with OmniFocus 4? (Beta tour)

  • 🎬 Video
  • ℹ️ Published 10 months ago

OmniFocus 4 has been in beta for quite a while. When will it be released? Will it be a worthwhile upgrade for you? In this video, I give you a tour of the current OmniFocus 4 beta and I share my thoughts on OmniFocus’s development.

00:00 Introduction
00:44 Context
03:49 Peter’s OmniFocus 4 wishlist
07:22 OmniFocus 4 beta tour (iPad)
20:31 OmniFocus 4 beta tour (iPhone)
25:14 Closing thoughts

Relevant links:



💬 Comments

How do you feel about the OmniFocus 4 beta?

Author — Peter Akkies


I have been using Omnifocus for over 10 years now. I don’t love it anymore and I agree with you on many points. The design is way too cluttered. Not enough space between projects, too many buttons, the inspector is not the best choice either. I miss the “scheduled for” date as well, I use a workaround with tags. What I like: The review (coffee) mode, the perspectives. And one idea: why not integrate the focus view with the OS focus mode? When set on “personal” just show personal projects. Would be awesome

Author — Thomas Janssen


I loathe how much friction there is with the UI in Omnifocus 3 and it doesn't seem like 4 is solving those issues. Things 3 has less options but it does navigate a whole lot better and stops me from fiddling with all those settings and helps actually get things done.

Author — Spaghetti


Have to agree with the general consensus here. I’ve spent the last couple of day trying out OF and several other alternatives, but I ended up staying with Things. I *WANT* to like OF but in general, it’s just way too fiddly. Using it feels like I’m killing flies with a cannon. I end up spending too much time trying to figure out how to use it. Speaking only for myself, I’m depending more and more on my Apple Watch. Small screen indeed, but it’s so convenient to have the watch nag me for things due and just be able to check them off on my wrist instead of opening up my phone or ipad when I’m out and about.

Author — Lance Gallup


Great video Peter! OmniFocus 3 and 4 looks very much as legacy software in 2022 (when compared to Things or Todoist). Users would spend more time getting the tasks into the system than doing them.

Author — Luiz Marinho


100% agree with you about intent dates and a “Today” perspective. Omnifocus feels like it’s clinging to a strict GTD methodology where those concepts don’t exist, and the world has moved on.

Author — Ian Betteridge


Thank you for a lovely insight.
The Omnifocus 4 beta - is very buggy. Crashes a few times a day
The aesthetics remains weak
It is kind of disgrace - 3 years later they have not made changes, the design is weak ! What were the developers actually doing?

Author — Bhavin Dave


As a Things user - that UI is making my head spin. I do wish, however, there was a way to replicate the review function from Omnifocus in Things

Author — Lucas and Oliver Dunsford


You and I are on the same page regarding Omnifocus. I started using Omnifocus since the first version, but I also haven't touched it in a long time because of Things and its beautiful interface. I love the power of Omnifocus, but it just doesn't feel good to use day to day. I constantly make the choice to forgo that additional power for the pleasant flow of Things. Like you, I *want* to go back to Omnifocus and wish they would learn some lessons around the UX. Such a crazy thing that they don't seem to see what many people do. Looking at this beta, it's just not enough to bring me back. I was hoping they would just throw everything out UI/UX-wise and start fresh so they could come with some brand new paradigms, but that's not happening. Maybe what this is really about is that it's just never escaped it's OmniOutliner cage. If that's the case, it never will and it's time to stop looking back.

Author — Ted Hogan


Omnifocus 3 was released in sep 2018. Things 3 was released in may 18, 2017, and still running strong... that tells a lot about a great design.

Don't own an  Watch? 😯 Peter, when you get one, your life will feel "improve" in a huge way! It would be kind of when you change from Omni to Things 😉 (by the way, Using Things 3 there is also a delightful experience 💙)

Author — SrBrits


Peter, I think you bring up a good point re: the interface in OF4 not approaching the cleanliness or usability of Things 3, designed back in 2017. That does bring up another point however which is this: what is going on with CC’s development of Things 4? In my opinion, Things 4 itself has now fallen behind the feature set of Apple’s own Reminders app in iOS 15 and iOS 16 (especially in iOS 16). What are your thoughts on this?

Author — Scott Spiro


Task sharing that was on the OF3 roadmap, will it even make the OF4 update..

Just moved back from Things 3.0 to OF3.

Killer features of OF for me
Defer dates
Review function
Ability to add photos/doc scans into a task

Author — Dan


OF3 on iOS and iPadOS are downgrades from OF2 because of the wasted screen space and the destruction of Forecast. I use OF3 on Mac, but still use OF2 on iDevices.

Author — Scott Delinger


I would like to point out, in contrary what Peter is saying, Omni does not consider OF4 in it’s current state a beta. They are introducing new features, ideas, designs, to hear feedback about them. Some decisions they will keep, others may be replaced. Right now they are focusing more on the features (to reach a feature freeze milestone soon), rather than on the design and usability which are scheduled later. Concerning the inspector, Ken Case has mentioned on the slack channel that they have toyed with the idea of getting rid of it all together, but decided to keep it in the end. But the goal is that every detail of a task should be able to be edited in the inline inspector without having to open the inspector. Finally, I would like to point out that this testflight keeps compatibility with of3 on the mac and the iphone, and no new features will be added, that could affect the database and this backwards compatibility. As OF4 is written in swiftui, once the ipad version is released, the mac version well follow quickly i guess and then they can add features that require an update of the database.

Author — Claude Deblaere


Thanks for this video, I love going from Things to OmniFocus and viceversa 😅

Author — Guido Lanzafame


It would be great it there is the posssibility to add notes and draw with the pen on iPad

Author — flender


OK, Omni focus 4 looks like a very old piece of software. Almost a polished version of the old Mac apps with the inspector.

Author — Anthony Craig


Is it worth buying the Omnifocus 3 enterprise although it may be outdated in anytime in the future?

Author — Anthony Craig


Seems like they took away the huge search bar that you suggested. Does look cleaner

Author — Podnuh


It’s like a DEVONthink for tasks. It’s gotten slightly better but it’s still convoluted. I’ve bought every upgrade from v1 hoping it’ll start to really click for me, but I think I’m done. Good video though.

Author — Gutter Rat