Avocado: An App For Couples

I’m always fiddling with my reminder/calender/task manager utilities. Right now I’m entering all my tasks into three different apps–Astrid, Wunderlist, and Toodledo–in a kind of task throwdown to see which will replace Pocket Informant, an app that’s more of a chore to use than the chores it was meant to track.

One thing I’ve never been able to find is a simple, easy-to-use utility that allows my wife and me to have the same information (lists, appointments, and the like) on our phones, synchronized and updated instantly and with no fuss. Avocado fills that gap. (Available for iOS and web for free, Android is free on Google Play, $1 on Amazon. Unlimited lists and photo sharing available for $20 per annum.)

Avocado is communication for couples. It’s locked down to two users who share a life. It features a lot of standard text- and photo-based features, which are fun and effective, but mostly repeat things available in standard texting. I don’t tend to use the messaging since texting does the job just fine, but the texting is free, and may be of interest to people with limited or no texting plans. There are also options to send a “hug” (hug your phone), or “kiss” (kiss your phone) which are just slightly on the wrong side of the line between “cute” and “weird.” You can send “moods” and captioned photos, and it’s a nice way to stay in touch throughout the day.

But that’s not where its real strength lies. The ability to make and keep lists that are instantly updated for both users is Avocado’s real secret weapon. We use it to keep shopping lists for the different stores we use. Items can be added, annotated, altered, and checked off, and the other user sees the result instantly. You can swipe to “cross off” an item on a list, and then swipe again to restore it for the next shopping trip. (You can turn push notifications off if the constant updating gets too verbose.) There is no simpler way to maintain single lists for two people to use and modify. Trust me, I’ve tried.

It’s useful for shared tasks beyond just shopping lists. It’s a perfect app for keeping gift lists for Christmas, task lists for things to do around the house, and general to-dos which can be pushed to either user.

It also handles those small–but easily forgotten–agenda tasks that either person can do, like picking up the kids, getting prescriptions, or remembering appointments. Rather than adding an agenda item to a regular task manager and then sharing it, these shared tasks can be added to Avocado’s simple but effective calendar, with advance reminders that can be customized for either person.

You can even integrate some of Avocado’s features into your prayer lives, such as setting daily reminders to pray the Angelus at noon. Even if you’re not in the same place, pausing during a busy day to pray at the same time creates a connection that grounds both your faith and your marriage. Mobile devices don’t need to isolate us: they can also draw us closer to each other and to God.

A task and list manager tailored for the unique demands couples is kind of genius, particularly when it simplifies the functions of standard calendar and task apps. The basic app is free, with $20 a year for unlimited photos and lists.