The default Reminders app on Apple devices can be a very useful tool. When your Reminders app is connected to iCloud, your Reminders stay in sync across all your devices and are updated automatically.
Out of the box, the Reminders app has a single list called Reminders. You can add additional lists to help keep you organized. I’ve added a ‘Books to Read’ list and, often, I create a list for a client project to make sure the details are covered.
The settings for the Reminders app are straight-forward. Go to Settings | Reminders and you’re presented with two topics: how far back to sync your Reminders and the Default list. You can choose to sync Reminders from 2 weeks back to 6 months back or all Reminders. The Default list is where new Reminders are created when not entered into a specific list. If you use Siri to create a Reminder, for example, it will be set up in the list you choose as the Default.
When you first open the Reminders app, you’ll see the Default list of entries. The iPhone has an accordion paradigm (tap a list name and it expands to show the entries). The iPad shows the Lists on the left side and the selected list’s entries on the right side.
Reminders can be timeless, meaning that they are simply in the list as a reminder to do something. You can assign a specific date and time to a reminder so you are prompted to act. Reminders can also be location-based, reminding you when you leave from or arrive at a specific place. I use that function to alert me to a do something when I arrive at a customer site and when I need to do something when I leave work.
Your reminders can be displayed in a list or you can chose to show only those reminders with a specific due date and time. On the iPad, it’s the ‘Scheduled’ list; on the iPhone, swipe down on the list names with two fingers and tap the clock icon.
To get the most out of your Reminders function, go to the Notification Center in Settings to set up how you want to be prompted by the app. You have choices of how and where the Reminder is displayed and if you want to hear a sound from your device.
When you enter a new item in the Reminders app, you can tap the info icon to the right to add details about that entry such as the due date, location attributes, notes, priority and which list it’s on. You can add a Reminder and edit the details at a later time.
Siri adds Reminders really well: I can say “Remind me to test the firewall at 10 this morning” and it’s quickly added to my iPhone list. And because my Reminders are synchronized across all my devices, the new entry is in my to-do list when I get to my office.
I know people who use the Calendar app or Notes app to remind them to do things. While that can certainly work, the Reminders app is easier to add a quick entry, offers time and location-based reminders and gives you the ability to review your completed tasks as you mark things done.
If you are not using reminders on your iDevice, give it a try. It’s easy, free and can help you remember those things that can easily slip through the cracks in our busy lives.