Share the shopping list with AnyList

AnyList is a new iOS app from Purple Cover, Inc. It’s available now as a free iPhone-centric app from the App Store, and is optimized for the iPhone 5. It’s also currently featured in Apple’s New and Noteworthy section on the App Store front page.

AnyList is a shopping list app. Users can create multiple lists and add items to them using an autocomplete search function, custom “starter” and “favorite” lists or simply adding custom items. There is a wide variety of common grocery shopping items built into the app, and if these are used, items are categorized by type — custom items are put into the “Other” category by default, but it’s possible to change this if necessary. iOS 6 users may also import list items from the iOS or OS X Mountain Lion reminders app or the iCloud website. This facility also means that list items can effectively be added using Siri.

Once a list has been created, it can then be used as a simple and effective replacement for a paper shopping list while at the store. Tapping items while viewing a list automatically crosses them off, and it’s possible to filter the display to only show items that have not yet been acquired.

This isn’t all that AnyList offers, however. Users may automatically generate shopping lists by browsing recipes on the Internet. These may be retrieved simply by searching within the app, and are drawn from a wide variety of sources. Featured and popular recipes are presented to give aspiring chefs ideas, and those with a particular idea in mind can even get suggestions based on a proposed main ingredient — though there is not the facility to search for vegetarian or vegan options in this particular part of the app. Those who have favorite recipe publishers may also search by provider. Recipes may be saved for future reference and ingredients added to the shopping list simply by tapping on them. It is a simple and elegant solution that works extremely well.

On top of this useful facility, AnyList also offers users the ability to share shopping lists with their contacts via email or text message, though not via social networks. Shared lists sync changes between all users immediately — network connectivity permitting, of course — meaning that, theoretically, this has the potential to be a very useful app for families or shared households who like to split grocery shopping duties between them.

AnyList is a very well put together app. It is slick, well-designed and highly intuitive to use, and a number of nice little touches make it visually appealing despite its simplicity. The fact that when tapping on items in a recipe they “fall” into the user’s shopping list rather than simply ticking themselves off is attractive, for example, as is the fact that “completed” list items get scratched off with what looks like a red marker pen rather than a simple strikethrough effect. It could perhaps be improved with clearer social functionality and/or Twitter/Facebook support, but as it stands it is one of the better shopping list apps out there, and as a free app it puts a lot of paid offerings to shame.

AnyList is not currently listed in any App Store leaderboards. Check back shortly to follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.