I'm done with the "new" Clear; I'm out

This might be an unpopular opinion, but I’ve lost interest in the “new” Clear.

I absolutely loved the original Clear precisely because of everything it wasn’t. It was stripped down to the essence of list keeping, and it was all I wanted or needed.

I’m okay with selectable fonts, icons, themes, and even (togglable) sounds because they don’t infringe on simplicity, but the addition of icons means – to me – that the original pursuit of minimalist perfection has seemingly been abandoned, and it’s likely only the start.

While the Clear team iterates through beta releases trying to determine which new (gaming) reward to invent or quote pack to add, Apple continues to add useful features to Notes and Reminders that make them – for me – a more attractive alternative. And they’re available on all of my iOS devices.

Again, this is my opinion, I don’t need or want to convince anyone, and I wish the entire team all the luck in the world. But I’m not down with the direction the app is headed down, so I’m out.

Quite committed to its minimal simple foundation. But we can’t pursue minimalist perfection without the app making any money and the cosmetics shop is an honest attempt to secure the app a future.

You might not care for the icons, themes, etc. but as you note they are easy to ignore if you don’t care.

Home level icons, I am honestly surprised they bug you to this level! But if it’s more like a ‘canary in the coal mine’ thing, I would not worry deeply. I love the simple core of the app and have been fighting pretty fiercely to defend it since the very original version’s development. There is a lot of restraint in the core design of the new Clear in that sense.


Matthew, as someone who was originally drawn to Clear for its simple and minimalist design, I’d be interested to hear how your core experience with Clear is any different than it was when you first used it. It’s still list-based. The basic gestures of adding, moving, and removing items are the same. You can largely set the app up to look like the original Clear (same theme, same app icon, same sounds), with only some minor visual differences.

If you want to ignore themes, app icons, sounds, in-app purchases, etc., you can do that and nothing about the app is different or less simple. The addition of these things is optional and is only being added for those users who want to customize the app and support its developers. The app itself remains free.

I’m fine with you having an opinion, even if it is (as you say it could be) unpopular. But this isn’t about your opinion. You loved that the original Clear was, “stripped down to the essence of list keeping, and it was all [you] wanted or needed.” It still is for anyone who only wants to open the app and maintain lists. The things that you don’t like about Clear can be completely and easily avoided.

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Have to admit, I don’t see the issue, either. If you use the Heatmap (classic) theme, along with Helvetica font, it looks almost exactly the same! I quite like the icons in the “Personalize” section (if that’s what’s being referred to). They look nice, and a big improvement over the emoji that had been there. I get that in the olden days, there were no icons whatsoever, but I think a few look nice.


Just my humble opinion, but I think these look great! A huge improvement over the emojis making the whole app feel a little more polished and fun!

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In addition to why write this at all (it doesn’t even theoretically benefit anyone or help make the app better), you’re misremembering the original app. Customization up the wazoo. The new app is substantially the same with everything upgraded for the modern OS and sensibilities.


Well I guess he felt like the home level icons were the first sign of this jumping the minimalist shark.

For anyone curious why we decided to add them, it’s mostly to dispel that micro second of needing to read before tapping where you want to go on this level.

As another example, in the original Clear, I actually fought against even incorporating list titles into lists. My thinking was ‘you should know what list you’re in from its contents.’

But over the years my take has changed – that moment you need to scan and read the text to place yourself, is not cozy. Not to mention plenty of cases where you might have an empty list etc. and no context to go off of.

So in this framing I can get it being perceived as a compromise on minimalism. But I just want to note that Clear’s minimalism was never an ultra pure, spartan type of minimalism, we have always been shooting for a cozy sweet spot in that zone. It can get subjective on that balance.

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I love the new icons. I found it confusing previously the list level looking the same as the home level. It took me a few seconds sometimes to reorientate myself. This confusion and frustration is completely gone now. I knew this would be coming before release as the home level looked rather spartan and I think wouldn’t give a good first impression either.