I still miss Legacy Clear

Hey @phillryu. You asked me to give some feedback after using New Clear for a couple of weeks. It’s been several months now. I’m back here to rant and kinda say goodbye.

I’ve used New Clear a good amount of time now, and I think I will start looking for another app (or apps) to replace Clear.

Here are the reasons:

  1. I still sorely miss the tactile, origami-like animations of Original Clear. Animations that track 1-to-1 with your fingers. I wrote more about this in an early post and I still feel the same way. I appreciate the tweaks that make New Clear’s animations less springy, but that is just one tiny aspect of the animations.

  2. The list titles in New Clear look too much like list items. I can’t tell at a glance where I am in the app. I miss the black, centred list title in smaller font from Original Clear.

  3. The list item numbers are not usable in New Clear. They are too tiny. They are like an asterisk indicating a footnote. I keep forgetting they are there. I miss the ability to glance at list item numbers easily.

  4. Most of Legacy Clear’s gestures are gone. I still find myself swiping around out of habit and getting frustrated that the gestures are gone from New Clear. Gestures like clearing text by swiping left above the keyboard; pulling down to create the next item; edge swipes to move between lists; etc. I used every one of Legacy Clear’s gestures. Not having them after a decade of muscle memory has done my head in.

  5. The lack of iCloud sync is anxiety inducing. I know that my lists are backed up as part of the iPhone backup process. But if I ever set up a new iPhone I will always set up from scratch and never from a backup; I’ve been stung too many times with iPhone bugs getting migrated to new iPhones when restored from a backup. The thought that I will lose my lists if my iPhone died makes me hesitate to store anything important in New Clear. As a result I have started saving anything important to other apps/platforms, and my Clear app is starting to look rather empty.

There are a few other minor gripes but I can’t think of them now. The above reasons frustrate me the most. There are some really great things about New Clear (haptics, invisible back button, archive, and some of the cosmetics), but overall my transition from Legacy Clear to New Clear has been kinda traumatic. So many things I loved about Legacy Clear disappeared and there is no way to get them back.

If New Clear gets updated in the future to bring back some of the Legacy Clear features I mentioned, I might come back to visit.

It’s been awesome using Clear for the past decade. I think my time with it has come to an end. I’ll be removing Clear from my dock, and at some point it’ll probably fall off my Home Screen too.

Thanks guys. All the best with Clear 2.x!


Thanks for giving it a serious try and chance and sharing this feedback.

I don’t think your entire wishlist will be checked off as we go in simply restoring how it was before! But there is a decent chance if you revisit Clear in 6 months or a year, that it will cross back over this threshold for you, through some combination of addressing a number of these in some way and some other unexpected improvements.

For example we are going to attempt to tackle sync (will see how long that takes). And gesture personalization from the beta will return at some point, which may enable bringing back some of these old gestures optionally.

I apologize about the trauma. I don’t think that word is too extreme here for the 2.0 transition, it was a LOT of change overnight, and while I think it’s some net steps forward, it included some steps back. But there will be some movement on both sides over the year. (Filling in some missing things + some good new things too.)

Hopefully we do our job and later on it tempts you back and is much more satisfying for you.


Yes, the gestures are the most important parts for me I am missing.

The edge to edge swipe between lists was much more easier and smoother to use as it is now. Really too bad.

In addition I miss an overall list count badge (option).

The list item numbers are really too small. Not usable.


I just want to give a shout-out to @phillyru for fielding all the comments like this. I’ve also been using Clear for at least a decade. I loved Clear 1, and I absolutely love Clear 2. It’s hilarious to me that this person has been using Clear 2 for the past few months, building up their list of inconsequential complaints, in preparation to say their little goodbye. I too have extremely minor complaints with the app that are probably imperceptible to most people, but this app suits 99.9% of my needs while none of the other apps on my phone even come close to that number. Also, it’s absolutely embarrassing that this person claims that this experience has been traumatic for them. That is just beyond absurd.
So hats off to @phillyru and the rest of your team for dealing with these comments and all of the others like it.


I appreciate it, but I also do think it’s fair to call it at the least a mildly traumatic transition of some kind for some of the most hardcore Clear listers.

The people who might describe it this way have probably been using Clear for over a decade almost like their second brain (as I do myself!), and during all this time with almost zero change to the app. So if it just updated overnight and caught you by total surprise and rearranging the furniture etc… and there are always some who prefer things to stay the same more than others, etc. I get it.

I also want to say there are probably people who feel the g-forces of Clear swinging towards more actively experimenting and such with the 2.0 and its early updates so far, and are anticipating and anxious about even more of that over time.

Do not worry. We should have fully entered the editing, refining and polishing stage by later this year and the new Clear should eventually stabilize into an extremely focused and pristine place.

I feel Clear needs some of both modes to thrive and we can’t perfectly blend the two, and the experimental side innately means some mistakes to abandon or pivot from and such, but should be able to make it happen over time.


Just wanted to say thank you to OP @something – I’m been meaning to write a post like this, and didn’t want to offend, so never got around to it. You’ve pretty much taken the words right out of my mouth, including all the various points as to why the new Clear feels ‘different’.

Huge respect to @phillryu for finally resurrecting the app (and answering posts like this), and I hope a lot of people do enjoy it. I’ve given it a really good chance, but it’s not for me in its current state. The original really had the magic where everything about it felt intuitive and native, and, crucially, so so simple. The new version, far less so – in fact there’s many little details and interactions that feel out of place, poor UI and UX, or just bloated.

Hopefully there will be improvements in this area in the future, and I’ll be sure to check back in periodically.


Not sure what the threshold will be for you all but I think it will be objectively / by consensus improving by some real leaps through the year as we target some of the biggest current issues.

Should be submitting 2.2.2 later today which collapses the binary size from 565MB to 77MB, so that’s one big clean fix on the bloat side!


Thank you, Phil. App size is much more better now.
Please further now the edge to edge swipe between lists. Big thanks!


I have been a heavy clear user for over a decade, and while I agree that the immediate switch from legacy to new would have been mildly traumatic if I hadn’t searched out and signed up for the beta (I did so because something, I can’t remember what, sort of broke in how I was using legacy clear).

but I want to say that so much of what I’ve been seeing folks say was nice and intuitive about legacy clear are features that I never knew existed and did not, in fact, discover by intuition. in fact, I’d apparently accumulated all sorts of rewards in legacy clear, but never knew it, never knew about some of the personalization options, because I was so into my lists and it was not intuitive to back out, that I never went out beyond the “my lists” page once I was in. I didn’t know any of that was there. it is embarrassing to say now. though what I was using worked for me (so well!).

I think it is worth considering that what we come to consider intuitive is actually learned behavior and can be relearned, even though that is frustrating. and we don’t all want to put in that effort, which is a valid choice! but for example, I’ve been a Mac user for over two decades. I don’t think they are inherently better than PCs, but when I have to use a PC for work, it has shifted over the years so much from how it operated when I last heavily used one that it can be hard for me to find anything. But when I update a Mac OS, I’m up and running quickly. I can figure out the PC things, but it takes a moment of thought that I’m not used to expending. what I’m saying is that I think it is much less intuition and more training/habit

for me, and I know I’m only speaking for myself, learning the new clear along with everyone here has been fun. there are several of the new things that I don’t use, so I just ignore those and focus on what works for me. but being curious and being able to take the time to retrain myself means that I’m actually more satisfied with clear than ever (especially with that size reduction!)


Honestly intuitive or not, at the end of the day, Clear could just use a LOT more guidelines and instructions. They don’t have to be in your face at all times, but just more detailed reference materials existing for users to access at all. (I literally would still be wondering how to do subtasks months later if it hadn’t been mentioned on the forum. What’s happening with the majority of Clear users who aren’t on the forum?) And then after that it will be easier to really say what was no big deal to learn/relearn; but when users don’t often even know a feature or gesture exists in the first place…

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Yeah the onboarding as it is needs work, it was classically a last minute thing. (Because it’s difficult to invest in onboarding before the design/silhouette finalizes.)

We are going to start doing a second pass there soon.

I remember Clear dividing ‘design twitter’ on its original release, it was quite polarized between people who might call it the most intuitive app ever and others who saw it as the least intuitive app they’ve ever tried.

I would describe Clear’s gestures and such as being tuned a bit towards ‘hard to forget once you pick it up’, as in we try to bake in some intuitive reasoning why certain gestures are paired with actions. Like you might never try to pinch to insert something because no other app supports it, but once you try it in Clear you will probably not forget it, as one of the better examples of that.

But it means we were willing to trade away some of the ‘instantly obvious how it works’ side for this more longterm fluency.

I think this is the right fit for an app like Clear that can for many over time, become almost like a second brain/memory storage. But it means we have a steeper initial learning curve to clear, and a lot to gain by doing it better!

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I think a simple official Youtube channel for Clear app showing various short videos (no need for any voiceover… just simple text annotations) on how to perform a gesture for specific tasks in app and visually show new users quick tips would help.


I got an adjustable overhead shot iPhone mount thing to help shoot some simple demo videos. Thinking I will try shooting a set after a quick pass at our current onboarding/first run experience.

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sounds good!

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Hey @phillryu. I think a big part of what made Legacy Clear so distinctive was how opinionated it was.

I don’t know what the design process was like for Legacy Clear, but I doubt you had a forum like this where users sent in their demands/requests. I’m not saying that you should ignore user feedback or requests. Rather, an opinionated design made via first-principles might better stand the test of time as something truly original and beautiful. You can then validate that design based on user feedback, instead of the other way around.

I hope you and the team never let your vision and designs get drowned out by what us users want. We will always want more and as the designers, you and the team need to know when to say no (e.g. some customisation is great, but too much can kill the user experience). If New Clear needs to go in a new direction, I say go for it. Legacy Clear was original and beautiful; it stood the test of time with users (like myself) over the past decade. Now it’s time to make New Clear :slightly_smiling_face:

PS - Thanks for your earlier reply. Turns out I can’t quite say goodbye to Clear! I don’t use it the same way I did over the past decade, but it’s still amazing for whipping up quick, semi-permanent lists. New Clear has lost many of its hooks on me, but some remain and I can see myself as a lite Clear user for the foreseeable future :laughing:

PPS - Please just don’t ever add AI to Clear… :rofl:


I appreciate it!

That said I can’t shake the feeling that with Clear especially, it felt more like discovering something, than fabricating it. But I know what it felt like… And I think we can home even more in on it over time with this new foundation and more of an editing eye this summer.

The quality of ideas, feedback, criticism especially on these forums is on the whole, great. Generally thoughtful and really thinking more zoomed out about what’s best for Clear etc. I do think we have something special there.

With AI for now we have no interest, because anything it’s suggesting or doing with my lists would feel like intrusive thoughts. And there’s something about that murky kind of un-human black box that you can’t internalize as a simple model that feels incompatible and uncozy too. That kind of dynamic feels very anti-Clear!

On the other hand I don’t have a problem with the idea of an actually high functioning Siri assistant being able to do some things for me in my apps when directed. Curious what Apple will announce there this WWDC.