On (Not) Finding the Perfect Pomodoro App

I would like a pomodoro timer app with the following features:

  • Runs on both iOS and watchOS (macOS a plus but not necessary).
  • Timers sync between platforms in real time. I can start a timer on my phone and pause it on my watch, or vice-versa.
  • Some minimal tracking of how many sessions I do a day
  • Bonus if I can easily tag my sessions without creating tasks
  • watchOS complications that update in real time. (Ideally includes large wide complications as well as small round ones.)

The best I’ve been able to do is Focus which is a $39.99 a year subscription. I wouldn’t mind the subscription if it was a really polished app, but there are many little things about it that don’t work as they should. Hard to detail all of them, but one example is that if you pause a timer you still get alerts at the time it would have finished if you hadn’t paused it.

Here’s the thing though, even with its faults Focus seems to be the only one that really checks off all the boxes (except for tagging vs. tasks). I must have installed and deleted about 30 apps at this point - because every time Focus doesn’t work quite right I find myself trying another one. watchOS support is really the weak link, very few apps have it, and those who do mostly do it poorly. Only a very few even try to sync your timers across apps. Others lack complications. Some have complications but no way to pause or skip sessions from the watch, etc.

Who would have thought that this would be so hard to do right?

PS: If this free app had apple watch complications and the ability to set the number of sessions before a long break, it would be close to perfect. Unfortunately, I really need the watch complications…

OK. I think I found the app I was looking for: TomatoFlex. It runs on iOS and watchOS. Timers sync between the two. It has simple, but effective and nicely presented tracking. And the watchOS complications update in real time. No tagging, but that’s OK, since I have everything else I was looking for without having to pay a subscription. And strangely the developers seem much more responsive and active than the subscription app.