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.

About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • victor

    This is very interesting. We’ve been using Toodledoo for something like this, but to be honest, it’s a hassle to remember to check the app. I think we’ll have to give this a try.

    But does Trader Joe’s not have good peanuts or something?

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com Thomas L. McDonald

    TJ’s has the best freakin’ peanuts on the planet. I’m a total peanut addict, and their roasted unsalted is the best. I’ve done taste tests. I’ve done the science. This is FACT!!!

  • Elizabeth McDonald

    Victor,
    I promise the ONLY time peanuts are deleted from the Trader Joe’s list is when I’ve just been there and (for fear of Tom suffering from withdrawal) have just purchased 5 or 6 pounds of them at once. Yes, the cashier noted that they “must be a favorite!” But really, we should save ourselves the effort and just leave peanuts on the TJs list at all times. ;)

    As Tom mentioned, Avocado was very helpful in coordinating Christmas shopping — to note ideas we had for gifts for the kids or family, to track which we’d bought already, and to share ideas with each other.

    For grocery shopping, it’s handy to have separate lists for things we buy at Trader Joe’s, BJ’s, or any other grocery store. This way if we’re out in the area, we’ll remember what we needed from that store (either because they have the best price, a specific item, etc.).

  • victor

    Wow! High praise and the spousal layup/slam dunk endorsement! We’re definitely going to have to give this a try, then. The app, I mean. But also the peanuts. TJ’s has the BEST honey-wheat pretzel stick braids, too (the ones with the Bavarian mountain-climber on the bag): they’re just so light and yeasty, with just the right amount of sweetness in the honey glaze which shines so brilliantly upon the many facets of the pretzel’s intertwined surface… Yum! So it’s good to know that their snacking expertise extends towards the classics, too. Despite the name, their Pirate’s Booty (cheese puffs) were also really good. I don’t know if they make that anymore, though. We had to stop buying it because I would eat the whole bag at once. It was like crack. But don’t call it “Pirate’s Crack” though because that sounds even more wrong.

  • http://avocado.io Jenna from Avocado

    Hi Thomas – Thanks for the thoughtful write-up of our little project, Avocado. Please do reach out and let us know how we can help or things we could do to improve! Very happy to hear that we are making things even a little bit easier for couples, though! Thanks again!

  • Maggie

    I think they still have it. My mom buys it for my siblings and whoosh, it’s gone. What’s also tasty is their cheese/corn/green salsa(chili?) tamales in the refrigerated section. They’re pricy but soooo moist. They’re also vegetarian, so good on a friday when everyone’s tired.

  • Elizabeth McDonald

    And I forgot (until we used it again this evening for our BJs list) that it is also set up with a cute sense of humor. Not too cutesy but light hearted. You can take your own pictures (or use something from the Web) to illustrate your “mood” at the time. And when you swipe to take something off your to-do or shopping list, you get a little message like “Way to go” or “Way to get things done!.”

    It manages to stay just on the right balance (I think) since it’s geared to be a couple-based and basically personal manager, not a stuffy business one. (There’s plenty of those for other uses).

  • Pete

    Jenna,

    Are there plans for a Windows Phone version? If not, please consider it. Thanks!

  • Doc

    My wife, the organizer, uses Cozi Calendar. We have a big family: two adult children, four small ones, so we have soccer games, music lessons, etc. One of our adult kids is out of state so she stays in the loop. For this comment, I found the video here from the Cozi people: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEJQIwNnDlA It has a grocery list function that I used once but then forgot about. The video talked about using the list function for other things such as contact lists and so forth. The calendars are color coordinated by family member. There are iPhone and Android apps. It can link with Outlook. It seems more useful than Avocado for people in our situation.

    The other plug for families is Easy Envelope Budget Aid. Step 1: Take Dave Ramsey’s course. Step 2: Download EEBA. You will be well on your way to Financial Peace. It does the budget organizing without carrying around the 20 envelopes.

  • http://theweeksreview.blogspot.com Dale Weeks

    At the risk of sounding like an Apple fanboy, my wife and I already share calendars, lists and reminders with our iPhones and iPads and it’s a wonderful thing. Just saying.

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com Thomas L. McDonald

    What do you use?

  • Patrick Murphy

    My wife and I both have iPhones. We use iCloud to synchronize our calendars. No additional apps needed.
    http://support.apple.com/kb/PH2690

  • http://www.godandthemachine.com Thomas L. McDonald

    Okay, if you share an Apple ID, then I can see that.

  • Patrick Murphy

    We have different Apple IDs. I’m not an Apple power user, but we have shared our calendars with each other, although I don’t remember exactly what steps I took to do it. If either of us enters an event, it shows up on the other person’s iPhone.

  • Martha

    I now feel like a complete Stone Age dinosaur before the discovery of fire :-)

    When I need to make a list, I grab a pencil and scribble it down on a piece of paper. Multiple apps to keep track of what needs doing? Thog am confuzzled!

  • Kristen inDallas

    Yes I still have an old school phone that barely texts as well. It is very useful as a projectile when someone forgets to pick up the milk, but Thomas’s way sounds a bit more civilized…

  • http://avocado.io Jenna from Avocado

    Hi Pete –

    right now, our team is too small and our feature list is too long to work on a windows client. We do have a public API at avocado.io/guacamole and have 3 external developers tinkering with it, but as of yet haven’t seen anything worth sharing. If you know of anyone that has extra time, you could ask them very very nicely? :)

    Thanks!

  • http://www.wesyncapp.com Giovanni Dienstmann

    Avocado is really a nicely made app!

    Another app that has come out this January to the App Store is WeSync (http://bit.ly/Xq667E), which aims to help couples communicate better and understand each other better. It’s free for limited time.

    I am one of the developers of WeSync and I`d love to hear your feedback on it. We have some relationship counsellors as contributors to the development of the app’s concept, and we’re excited with the prospect of giving our users a very unique and useful tool.

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