Reminders Power Tips
October 19, 2011 3:28 AM   Subscribe

iOS 5 Reminders - Give me your power-user super-tips!

After years of devotion to Things for my todo list, I think I might be ready to make the jump to Reminders. Please give me examples of your most creative and generalizable location based reminders. What other adjustments are needed for running a low-key GTD system within Reminders?
posted by roofus to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
(If you use geographic-based reminders, you will soon be in the market for one of these.)
posted by nickrussell at 3:33 AM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, Reminders location-based reminders will drain the battery because it has to leave the GPS on constantly to know where you are with regard to the location of the reminder. So it will suck down the battery like a GPS app running in the background throughout the life of the reminder.

I also found the "when I leave my home" alarm to go off about 1km away from my house. Sadly I don't live on a large estate. What makes this bad is I need to make a decision which freeway to get on before the reminder reminds me about the task.

The other weakness is you have to have the location in your address book. In the current version you can't just find the Post Office or Walgreens on the map and use it as a reminder. No, you have to have them in your address book as a contact.

Maybe with future revisions, the app will be more useful, but I've gone back to time/day/plain old lists as my reminders for now.
posted by birdherder at 4:07 AM on October 19, 2011

I'd like to see location based events extended to other triggers, apart from reminders. I was thinking of the possibilities of linking the IOS reminders app with something like ifttt. Possibilities may include:

- Visiting a particular offic, adds a calendar event to act as a diary entry
- Send the tweet "Our art event has started" when you arrive at the gallery
- Post to Facebook "We just got home from holiday" sent as soon as you turn your phone on in the airport
- Backup all the days photos to dropbox when you arrive at home

I'm sure a billion more creative combos could be imagined
posted by 0bvious at 4:11 AM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Battery life has been fine for me since turning on location based reminders. My understanding is that it waits for a drop/rise in cell power or the detection of a new wifi signal to flip on the GPS portion of things.
What WAS killing my battery life was automatic detection of time zones, for whatever reason.
posted by Benjy at 5:48 AM on October 19, 2011

I don't use it much and can't imagine it being anything like a complete GTD system unless you're using an exchange server (the only way I've found that it can sync with a desktop somewhere). The desktop syncing is critical for me because I really do need it to have my todo list literally shoved in my face in order to force me to do stuff I'm procrastinating. Something about watching those unpleasant tasks pile up keeps me moving forward.

I love the idea of location based reminders, and if it sticks around in iOS I suspect they'll dramatically improve it. The drain is definitely worse when I'm out moving around, killing probably 15% of my battery in an hour long walk. Not cool.

Right now I find the whole reminder app itself pretty clunky and useless, on top of the battery drain problems. It's AWESOME with Siri's help, though. I spend a lot of time traveling by foot or bike and that's when a lot of my thinking happens. Being able to tell her to jog my memory at a time I know I'll be somewhere (my office, car, at home, etc) is great but relies on having a somewhat predictable schedule with at least a few reliably fixed time/space points.

I used to set alarms to do the same thing, as it was the quickest interface, but not having any text associated with it occasionally left me wondering why I'd set that alarm. Way better to do a "Siri, remind me to read Bob's presentation this afternoon."

You might also check out Omni Focus, which now uses the geofencing API and is eleventy billion times more powerful than Reminders. No Siri integration, though, so less good if you're on a 4S.
posted by pjaust at 6:10 AM on October 19, 2011

I love the Things app, and Reminders looks cool too, but it is very much more limited. For instance, repeating tasks can't have the same OCD granularity as in Reminders. I'm sticking with Things except when I tell Siri to remind me of something as a one-off event. This combination works really well for me.
posted by thatone at 8:44 AM on October 19, 2011

Just wanted to clarify some misconceptions about the geo fence. Your phone actually does not need it's GPS turned on for the functionality to work. The geofence is much more likely triggered by using triangulation based off cell towers. This is something on already, so it would not cause any extra battery drain to enable this.
posted by ShootTheMoon at 11:13 AM on October 19, 2011

Without using the GPS (or having Siri), I don't think Reminders is any more useful than creating an event with an alert in the Calendar app.
posted by monospace at 12:09 PM on October 19, 2011

Even as simple as Things is (I used it for a couple of years, moved on), I can't imagine this replacing it. In other words, if you actually needed Things in the past, reminders isn't it.

I use reminders for little tasks that come up that I want to note and be reminded of, but not put in my system. It's handy.
posted by justgary at 2:40 PM on October 19, 2011

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