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Time Tracking

Timely Review: Our Insights After Testing the App

Samson Kiarie
Last update on:
May 21, 2024
Published on:

If you constantly switch between web and desktop apps, tracking the time you spend on individual web pages or apps while completing tasks can be difficult. 

The Timely app aims to eliminate workflow disruptions caused by manual tracking through its Memory Tracker. The tracker doesn’t require your intervention to track desktop activity. It uses an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm to accurately track the time you spend on each web page and desktop app. 

In this Timely review, we'll reveal how the app captures employees' desktop activities throughout the day. We'll also cover the AI algorithm’s flaws and discuss other Timely features, such as the GPS location tracker as well as team management and project monitoring tools. 

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What is The Timely App?

 timely mobile app 
Timely’s user-friendly app enables desktop employees to optimize project and time management.

Timely is an intuitive app that offers an array of productivity functionalities, like time tracking, location tracking, team management, and project monitoring. The app’s standout feature is its Memory Tracker, which uses artificial intelligence to track the amount of time an employee spends on multiple tasks on Windows and macOS devices.

By adopting AI, Timely eliminates the need for employees to manually clock in and out as they complete tasks, which can be very time consuming. The Memory App’s AI functionality  workers to focus on the task at hand to increase productivity. 

The Timely app is especially helpful for employees who spend most of their work time in front of the computer. It suits freelancers, graphic designers, and other creative professionals who have to switch between many tasks during the day. Consultants, distributed teams, and remote project managers can also benefit from using Timely.

How Does The Timely App Track Time?

Timely has automatic and manual time trackers. The manual time tracker is available on Android and iOS mobile devices, whereas the automatic timer is available on Windows and macOS. For this article, we took the trackers for a spin to explore  how they work. Continue reading to see what we found out.

Manual Time Tracker

Timely’s mobile app enables employees to track time manually on their Android and iOS smartphones. The app has an intuitive user interface (UI) that presents a flat learning curve for all workers, including those who are less tech-savvy. Here is how you track time with Timely’s mobile app:

  1. Launch the mobile app and tap the plus (+) button on the “hours” tab.
  2. Select the project and task, choose a project tag, add a note, and toggle the “billable” button.
  3. Tap “start timer” to start tracking time. Once you complete a task, tap "stop timer" to stop tracking time.

Timely’s Android and iOS apps are a work in progress, so it's not surprising that they are flawed. We combed through the user reviews on Google Play and Apple’s App Store, and the most prevalent issue mentioned was glitchiness. Luckily for us, we didn’t experience any glitches during the testing.

The only problem we encountered was that memories sometimes failed to load, which prevented us from creating timesheets on our mobile device. The lack of an offline mode is another dealbreaker. Timely only works if you connect the device to the internet. For this reason, it's not an ideal app for employees that work in areas without  strong network coverage.

Automatic Time Tracking with The Memory Tracker 

timely memory tracker
Timely’s memory tracking tool works on Windows and Mac devices only. 

To use the Timely automatic time tracker, you must install the Memory Tracker app on a Windows or macOS computer. Installing and configuring the app is straightforward. Once you launch and log into the app, it starts tracking your desktop activity immediately. 

The good thing about this is that you don't have to clock in and out as you complete tasks. Timely takes away the hassle of tracking desktop activity and records time conveniently in the background as you go about your duties. 

The Memory Tracker tracks your desktop activity and lists them as  individual work events called memories. Each memory contains details of  the app or URL you worked in as well as its title, when it was visited, and how much time you spent working on the page. 

 timely memories
Timely captures every activity an employee performs on a desktop computer. 

Using AI, Timely groups memories of similar apps or web pages into draft time entries. For example, the app  will group all memories related to a web app into a single time entry. The draft time entries are listed on the memory timeline, awaiting employee sorting. 

The Memory Tracker has the ability to distinguish between different web apps and pages you visit on your web  browser. With this level of intelligence, the Memory Tracker can create draft entries for different web pages and apps, as well as  the number of times you visited them.

Timely’s Memory Tracker  also remembers everything you worked on when grouping the memories. Suppose you visit a web page ten times a day. The Memory App creates a single entry for that web page and it adds ten memories under the entry; each indicating when you opened and exited the web page.  

Disadvantages of Timely AI Algorithm

Like other AI tools, workers must train the Memory Tracker’s AI algorithm to their unique workflow. The more an employee uses the Memory Tracker, the more accurately it captures  memories. Timely doesn’t state how much training time the AI model needs to achieve 100% accuracy. 

You may encounter instances during the first few days or weeks of using Timely when the Memory Tracker miscategorizes your memories. Sadly, memory miscategorizations can lead to significant timesheet errors which make it difficult to track actual labor expenses and lead to unfair employee compensation.

Creating Timesheets With Timely Memories

Timely’s Memory Tracker eliminates the need for constant manual recording. While it does log your task activity down to the second, it doesn’t create timesheets automatically. Instead, the Tracker presents you with a log of draft timecards, which you must sort manually to create a timesheet. 

Timely claims that creating timesheets requires a simple drag-and-drop of memories. This makes the whole process sound so simple, which is contrary to reality. In truth, Timely creates a jumbled log of activities an employee accomplished during the day. The memory timeline is also comprised of private and work-related activities.

Sorting through memories to create accurate timesheets can be time-consuming, especially if the list is long. You have to filter out non-work-related memories and then determine which work-related memory falls under which project. Timely adds up the time off all  memories to calculate the time spent on each project. 

Idle Time Detection

There will be times when you will need to step away from the computer to conduct a business meeting or take a client phone call.  This is where Timely’s idle detection tool comes in handy.

The tool detects when you’re away from the computer and prompts you to create an entry for the offline hours. The app will continue to create memories for offline hours reported, enabling you to factor the meeting time into your timesheets.  

However, if you don’t create an offline time entry, idle time tracking will kick in after 15 minutes. Idle Time tracking is also activated when you set the computer to “sleep” mode or close your laptop.  

The app disregards any entry made during the period of inactivity and simply shows a gap in the memory timeline. Tracking idle time ensures that your company only compensates employees for actual hours worked. 

Timely GPS Location Tracker

timely location tracker 
The Timely App shows when an employee arrived at and left a specific address. 

The Timely App has a GPS location time tracking feature for Android and iOS. The feature isn’t built into the app’s infrastructure, so it’s not enabled by default. Employees have to install and activate the Location Tracker to record the time they spend in different locations. 

Timely’s location tracker is simple. Employees don't need to start the time clock to start tracking location. As long as they have toggled the “enable tracking” button, the tracker will automatically record the time they spend at specific locations. 

The app creates a memory with the GPS coordinates of the address and the time the employee arrived at and left the location. This is beneficial to business owners who need to verify where their field sales reps or technicians have been during the day.

Timely’s location tracking does have some caveats. First, it only records the GPS coordinates and time if the employee spends ten minutes or more at a location. The app doesn’t let you adjust the idle time. As a result, you'll miss out on valuable billable minutes if an employee spends less than ten minutes at a location. 

Second, the app only shows the GPS coordinates of the location but doesn’t show you the route an employee took. This is a huge downfall if you want to enforce a driving route policy. In the event an employee takes a longer route for scenic purposes, there’s no way to catch them.

Is The Timely App Safe?

Yes, using the Timely app is safe. Employees should have no concerns about their privacy when using it. While it does track desktop activities, only the employee can see their memory timeline. The employee also decides what information goes public and what stays private.

Managers and business owners only have access to the activities the employee adds to their timesheet. Timely has also adopted a strict anti-surveillance policy to shield employees from intrusive monitoring.  Employees can also delete memories they feel are too sensitive.  

If you’re still hesitant to use Timely due to its Memory App, you can disable its ability to track your activity by following the steps below: 

  • Open the Memory app and click the “settings” icon on the top right. 
  • If you want to turn off the Memory app temporarily, click “pause” and select an option to pause the app for 15, 30 or 60 minutes. Alternatively, you can also pause it “until tomorrow.”
  • If you want to turn it off permanently, click “sign out” or “quit”. 

Other Helpful Timely Features

In addition to time tracking features, Timely also offers other productivity features. Some of the Timely features that enable small business owners to streamline team and project management include: 

Project and Task Management 

timely project management‍
Timely works for small businesses looking to streamline project tracking. 

Timely enables business owners to track various aspects of their projects. Project progress can be tracked against a predefined time or money budget. The app updates managers on how much of the budget has been spent and how much remains.  

You also get instant notifications when employees reach or exceed the budget threshold. These insights enable you to make adjustments to project plans to stay within the budget limit. This practice goes a long way towards ensuring each project stays on course for profitability. 

Timely also allows you to assign specific tags to each project. Tags are organizational tools that enable managers to track the granular details of what employees work on within a project’s phases or tasks. They also come in handy when generating reports to determine hours logged on each project. 

 timely project tags
Timely allows managers to add project tags for effective tracking. 

The only minor issue with the Timely project module is that it doesn’t allow you to add client contact information beyond their names. You can't import client information from a customer relationship management (CRM) app.

Timely Team Management

The timely team management module lets you add employees and categorize them by department or project to enhance collaboration. Its stand-out features are the individual and team capacity management tools. 

By default, Timely sets the employee work limit capacity  40 hours — you can adjust the limit to your company's needs. When you assign a task to a worker, the app checks how many work hours remain in their weekly limit. If a task exceeds the employee's available hours, Timely won’t let you assign it to the employee. 

This ensures proper distribution of workload, which prevents you from overworking anyone in your workforce. Limiting workload hours enhances your team’s productivity and significantly reduces employee turnover rates. 

 timely capacity management 
Timely restricts you from  assigning tasks that exceed an employee’s capacity.

Timely App Invoicing

Creating invoices with Timely is super easy. You select the project with unbilled time, set the date range, and click "Create." Timely pulls information from the project’s data to create an invoice for the selected date range. 

 timely app invoices
Timely’s invoicing module doesn't allow invoice customization.

Sadly, Timely invoices aren’t client-ready. They don’t include key details such as client contact information or an itemized list of entries. Even worse, the invoices aren’t customizable – you cannot add your company’s logo or branding. 

What Pricing Plans Does Timely Offer?

Timely’s pricing is steep compared to other automatic time trackers. The software company doesn’t have a free version but it offers a 14-day free trial. There are three paid plans. The price varies based on the available features; the more the features in a plan, the higher its price. Here’s a detailed Timely pricing guide: 

timely pricing plans table

Along with the paid plans, Timely offers an add-on called Tasks. You can add Tasks to any subscription for $5 per user each month. 

The Starter Plan lets you connect Timely with other time trackers and productivity apps. These apps include Harvest, Asana, Trello, Todoist, and Toggl. You’ll need a Premium or Unlimited subscription to setup ClickUp, Azure AD, QuickBooks Online, and integrations. Thankfully, automation tools like Zapier and API integrations are available on all plans. 

Timeero: A Smart Timely App Alternative

Despite its many benefits, Timely has several downfalls. Its Memory Tracker can incorrectly classify memories  due to AI's unreliability. Plus, it subjects employees to a time-consuming timesheet creation process. Although the GPS location tracker records the time employees spend at a location it doesn’t show the route they took to get there. 

If you're looking for a time tracking software that side steps Timely App’s flaws, try Timeero. The app tracks time, location, and records mileage. It recreates an employee's travel route and uses breadcrumb technology to help you trace every step of their journey. 

You can read our detailed Timeero review to learn more. But if you’re short on time, we’ve highlighted Timeero’s top features below. 

Automatic Time Tracking

timeero timesheets
Timeero creates employee timesheets and lists them under the “pending” tab as they await the manager's approval. 

Timeero's automatic time tracker is designed with accuracy and compliance in mind. It transforms tedious and erroneous manual time tracking processes into a seamless and accurate workflow. The app accurately tracks time against the project the employee selects for accurate wage determination.  

It has features to enforce break compliance. For example, if an employee starts a 30-minute break, they can't end it early. Another arrow in Timeero's quiver is the overtime feature. The app detects when an employee exceeds the regular work hours and can quickly determine the overtime or double-time hours. 

Additionally, Timeero saves you time by eliminating the need to calculate employee pay manually. It computes employee reimbursement based on the predefined pay rate and hours worked. At the end of the pay period, you'll only need to generate and forward payroll reports to the accounting department for faster and more accurate reimbursement. 

Curb Time Theft With Geofencing and Facial Recognition

Timeero offers geofencing and facial recognition features to prevent time theft. You can set virtual boundaries around your job sites to control how employees clock in and out. With the geofence tool, employees must be within the job site to clock in or out. This prevents off-site punching, ensuring your company compensates employees for actual work hours.

Timeero also supports facial recognition on iPad. It takes photos of employees as they clock in and compares them to their respective profiles. In case of a mismatch employees are still allowed to clock in. However,  the time entry is flagged and managers are notified, prompting them to look into the case. 

Segmented Tracking 

 timeero segmented tracking
Timeero records when an employee arrives at or leaves a specific address. 

Timeero’s Segmented tracking offers more advanced capabilities than Timely’s location tracker.  Like Timely, Timeero shows when an employee arrived at or left a specific address, but Timeero has some notable advantages over Timely, which include: 

  • Idle time is flexible: By default, Timeero’s segmented tracking idle interval is 5 minutes, but you can adjust it to ensure no employee location is missed. 
  • Driving vs. working time: Segmented tracking automatically computes employee driving versus working time. Understanding these two metrics can help tweak processes to improve employee productivity. 
  • Distance between locations: Segmented tracking also shows the distance between addresses. This metric and our suggested mileage tool can help you save on fuel costs. The tool compares the actual path between addresses with the suggested route, and tells you how many miles you could have saved.

Real-Time GPS Location Tracker

Timeero’s location tracker is built-in, meaning you don’t need to install any add-on to capture employee location. Unlike Timely, Timeero captures extra details to streamline field employee management. These details include:

  • Real-time location: You can see the real-time location of all clocked-in employees. It also enhances the scheduling and dispatching of field employees for urgent tasks. For example, you can dispatch a field technician to a job site based on their proximity to a customer’s location. 
  • Turn-by-turn route: Timeero’s route map and route replay features show the employee's turn-by-turn route, making it easier to verify whether they followed the assigned route. Breadcrumbs: Timeero uses breadcrumbs technology to track employees every step of the way. It enables you to confirm where an employee was during the day by opening the route and clicking "show breadcrumbs." You’ll see many dots imprinted on the employee route. Click any of the dots to see details of where the employee was at a certain point in time and how fast they were driving.

timeero route map
Timeero provides breadcrumbs to help you track field employee movement. 

Easy to Use Mobile Apps

timeero time-tracking app
Timeero’s Android and iPhone apps are easy to use. 

You don’t have to invest in expensive gadgets to track time. Timeero’s mobile apps work flawlessly on  Android and iOS smartphones. All your employees have to do is install the mobile app from the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store. Using the mobile app is a walk in the park for all employees, including the non-tech-savvy workers. 

Reliable Offline Mode 

Don’t worry if you have field employees in areas with poor network coverage. Timeero’s mobile apps work just fine without an internet connection, thanks to its robust offline mode. Timeero continues to track time, location, and mileage and stores the data locally on the employee's device. Once the employee reconnects the device to the internet, the app syncs the data to the cloud. 

Other Notable Timeero Features

Timeero’s capabilities transcend GPS time tracking. The provider offers other helpful features for companies with field employees, including:

  • Employee scheduling software
  • Real-time location tracking
  • Mileage tracking
  • California break tracking
  • Commuter mileage
  • Time-off tracking

Verdict: Is The Timely App Reliable?

Timely's idea to use an AI algorithm is excellent. There's no denying that a hands-off time tracking approach saves employees from the hassle of manually starting and stopping a timeclock. The tracker also captures activity down to the second and shields employees from invasive surveillance.

However, the implementation of the AI model isn't perfect, which is why some flaws still linger. For example, AI requires training and results can be unreliable at first.

Another issue with relying on AI is that sorting through memories can be tedious and error-prone. 

Hopefully, Timely will patch up these errors in the future. As it stands, the Timely app is  good for employees who spend most of their time in front of the computer screen. Sadly, its GPS location tracking is half-baked. This coupled with the lack of a mileage tracker means that Timely isn’t apt for tracking field employees. 

If your company has a mixed structure—field and office-based employees—and wants a single software solution to track time, access  real-time location, and record mileage, Timeero ticks these boxes. 

Start a 14-day free trial with Timeero today — no credit card is required. While you're at it, book a free consultation with our excellent customer support to learn how to customize Timeero to your company’s needs.

Timely App Review FAQs

How Does Timely's Automatic Time Tracking Feature Work?

Timely’s automatic time tracker captures the amount of time an employee spends on a web page or desktop app and lists them as memories. Employees can drag and drop memories under respective tasks or projects to create timesheets. 

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Samson Kiarie

Samson is a mathematician turned content marketer specializing in SaaS and Tech content. He focuses on the practical aspects of software systems while keeping abreast of the industry’s cutting-edge principles to create informative and engaging content. When he’s not writing, Samson spends time playing or watching soccer.

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