Apple Reminders (2021) in iPadOS 15 (Public Beta)


PROS

  • Free
  • Minimalist
  • Hourly reminders
  • Collaborate on lists
  • Detailed subtasks

CONS

  • Can’t attach files
  • No recycle bin
  • One URL per task

8/10

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Apple Reminders is a free, simple, to-do, Get Things Done app from Apple that comes preinstalled on your device. Before looking for a planning app, why not try this one first.

Creating A New Reminder

At the bottom left corner (of the bigger column), there is plus icon for adding a New Reminder to a selected list. You can then name it and the top of your keyboard has icons to:

  • Pick a Date & Time and repeating schedule.
  • Add a location
  • Add a tag
  • Flag it
  • Add a photo from your camera, Photo Library or Scan Document.

The inspection icon lets you add more details to your reminder. You can add Notes and a URL. Your reminders can be based on:

  • Dates
  • Location
  • Messages 

Date-Based Reminders

You can set a deadline date and time for your task. We hope to be able to set start dates too. Your reminder can be set to repeat:

  • Never
  • Hourly
  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Fortnightly
  • Monthly
  • Every 3 months
  • Every 6 months
  • Yearly
  • Custom
    • Frequency:
      • Hourly
      • Daily
      • Weekly on specific days
      • Monthly on a specific date or day (first Sunday/ third Wednesday)
      • Yearly on specific months and days of the month.
    • Every sets the number of days/weeks, etc between your repeats. So it could be every 2 weeks, every 5 months.

Finally, you then decide when the repeat should end under End Repeat:

  • Repeat Forever
  • End Repeat Date. We are still waiting for the option to end the repeat after a certain number of cycles.

Natural Language Support

In Apple Reminders you can use time phrases like tomorrow, next month, next week to set the dates for your tasks. Reminders also recognises phrases like every day, every week and every month and when it misses something, you can make tiny adjustments. Natural language helps us work faster and in iPadOS 15, we can now use slightly more advanced phrases when creating our reminders:

  • Every other weekend/day/month/etc
  • Every second Sunday of the month

Location-Based Reminders

When you tap Location, you can enter an address or pick a saved one from your device, e.g, home, university, work and mom’s place. You can then decide whether you receive a notification on Arriving or when Leaving that address. There’s also an option to get a reminder when you are Getting in Car or Getting out of Car

Messaging-Based Reminders

You can set reminders for when you are messaging someone in Messages. Choose Person from your Contacts

What Else Can You Add To Your Reminders?

You can flag important tasks that require your immediate attention. Apple Reminders adds it to your Flagged smart list at the top of the left sidebar. You can set priorities for your tasks: None, Low, Medium and High. Exclamation marks on the title indicate the task’s priority level. You can move your reminder to different lists, under List.

You can create sub-tasks and add details to them in Apple Reminders. Therefore, your subtasks can be as detailed as your main task. Some projects need breaking down into smaller chunks.

You can add images to your tasks by taking a photo, scanning documents or from your Photo Library. We managed to add 13 photos before we got tired. What are the chances you will need more than that? Long-pressing on your images gives you options to:

  • Copy
  • Share
  • Make them Large/Small Thumbnails
  • Delete

You can create reminders from other apps: App Store, WhatsApp, Messages, Apple Notes, etc.

Creating Lists

You can Add List on the bottom right corner of the sidebar and name it. The app then gives you options to choose the colour and icon (from sixty options). If the icons don’t work for you, you can use emojis instead. You can even use them for your list names. Tap Done to create the list when you’re happy with your options.  

Creating Smart Lists

To create a custom smart list, tap the Make into Smart List option to pick the filters for: 

  • Tags: pick the tags you want included in your smart list.
  • Date:
    • Any
    • Specified Range: From & To specific dates.
    • Relative Range: In the Next/ Past couple of Hour(s), Week(s), Month(s) or Year(s).
  • Time: Any, Morning, Afternoon, Evening and Night.
  • Location: Specific, which works like it does for your to-dos in the app. 
  • Flag: Flagged
  • Priority: Any, Low, Medium and High.

Three-Dots Icon

The three-dots icon on the top right corner of the list has options to: 

  • Change Name & Appearance 
  • Share List to collaborate or Manage Shared List if you’re already collaborating. Share Options let you decide who can add people to your shared lists. You can choose Anyone can add people or Only you can add people. You can also let some people Allow inviting other people while disabling others. 
  • Select Reminders (multiple) to:
    • Reschedule or add a date
    • Move them to a different list
    • Delete
    • Three-dots icon to Assign, Mark as Completed, Add Tag or Flag them.
  • Sort by:
    • Manual
    • Deadline: Earliest/Latest First
    • Creation Date: Oldest/Newest First
    • Priority: Highest/Lowest First
    • Title: Ascending/Descending
  • Show/Hide completed
  • Print: you can make any number of Copies, pick a Paper Size (A3, A4, B5, JIS B5, Legal, Letter or Tabloid) for your ‘printouts’ and their Orientation (Portrait or Landscape). To export a PDF, zoom in on the preview. 
  • Delete List  

As you complete your tasks, they disappear from your list, which declutters it. When you choose to see your completed tasks, you can Clear to permanently delete them from the app. Let’s hope Apple can add a recycle bin so we can recover deleted items if we want to.

 Organisation

Smart Lists

Apple Reminders, like most planning apps, has only one screen that doubles as your workspace and homepage; a true definition of minimalism. Starting from the top left corner, you have your Smart Lists showing the number of tasks you have to do:

  • Today 
  • Scheduled
  • All (regardless of their deadlines)
  • Flagged
  • Assigned

All shows all the tasks in the app, which gives you a rough idea of how many items you need to do. Flagged are those to-do tasks that require your immediate attention. Scheduled shows all the reminders on your app that have a date, no matter when it is. Your Today shows the reminders scheduled for today.

You can Edit to decide what smart lists show on your sidebar. Tick the lists you want on your sidebar and untick the ones you don’t want. This also allows you to rearrange your lists.

Custom Smart Lists

Your custom smart lists are added to your normal lists on the sidebar. The only way to tell them apart from other lists is that they have a settings icon on their thumbnails. That doesn’t make for a functional smart list, especially a custom one. Apple should either create a new section for custom smart lists or add them to the other smart lists on the sidebar. Smart lists must be easily accessible for users to get the most out of them. 

My Lists

Under My Lists, you can organise your tasks as Groups or Lists. A Group is a collection of lists. You can have groups for work and personal life. A list is a group of tasks/reminders. A list can either be in a group or exist independently. Tasks can have sub-tasks

  • Groups
    • Lists
      • Tasks
        • Sub-tasks

Tags

Your tags are all listed on the sidebar, under your lists. You can toggle them if you don’t want to see them. Apple Reminders lets you can pick combinations of (or single) tags; a convenient way to browse through your tasks in the app. 

Apple Reminders is a powerful GTD app that syncs across your devices if you like the Apple ecosystem. It is functional for most basic planning. You should give it a try before trying out third-party GTD apps.

Any thoughts? Do tell, do tell!