Nov 1, 2011

Reminders on iOS 5: A To-do Alternative?

Reminders on iOS 5 are pretty nice.  They sync along with your calendar to iCloud if you do that sort of thing.  (I sync my calendar to the "Google cloud" so I don't use iCloud for mail, calendar, or contacts.) The most compelling thing about Reminders though is that they can be location based, allowing you to set a reminder to alert you when you leave a location or arrive at a location. For example, you could set a reminder to "Buy milk" that alerts you when you leave work.

Do reminders take the place of a to-do app?  I would definitely say that it depends.  It doesn't replace my system of using the dual powerhouses of Appigo Todo and Toodledo as I wrote in To Doing: To Do Lists on the iPhone and iPad.  There are several reasons for this:
  1. As I mentioned above, I don't sync to iCloud for calendar, which is required to get the benefit of entering reminders in your browser.  Toodledo gives me that without needing to use iCloud for calendar.
  2. Both Todo and Toodledo  have extra features like contexts, tags, and notes.  I use all of these but they aren't crucial.
  3. Most importantly and crucial for me, Todo and Toodledo have repeats, which I rely on heavily for tasks that have to occur on a regular basis.  Think, "Take out the trash" (a weekly task) or "Replace the home air filter" (a quarterly task).
The third reason is the real deal-killer for me. Reminders don't do this and I have to have it.  However, if you just need a very basic to-do app without any fancy features (besides the very fancy location-based notifications), Reminders is probably a good to-do app option.

This isn't to say I don't use Reminders.  I use them rarely and only when I need to be reminded based on arriving or leaving a location.  I was hesitant to use them for this because I saw that the location icon stayed on, making me think that the GPS was on, draining the battery as fast as it could. It turns out that Apple to a smarter approach to this, one that doesn't drain the battery quickly, as this article and this article point out.


  1. This is a great post. Thank you. Reason #3 is the very reason I am going to hold onto my Appigo Todo app. Once Reminders gets integrated into OS X Mountain Lion this summer, maybe we will see the "repeat" functionality on Reminders.

  2. Thanks, Marty. With the latest Appigo Todo, I guess you noticed that you can do location-based alerts like Reminders does. I confess that, though this seems to be a helpful thing, I still haven't used it. I don't often need that sort of thing.


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