iOS 5: Reminders

Reminders, new in iOS 5(s aapl), is a very simplistic task management app that syncs automatically between devices with iCloud. While it isn’t particularly complex or involved, Reminders does use location-based information to remind you when you need to get something from the store while you’re actually near the store.

Setting up Reminders

Reminders is automatically installed when you upgrade to iOS 5. To set up iCloud syncing, simply go to iCloud Settings and make sure Reminders is set to ON. The syncing happens transparently; you don’t need to do a thing to get your reminders to sync between all your iOS and OS X devices.

Using Reminders

The first time you launch Reminders, you only have one list: Reminders. On the iPad, you can see both your lists and reminders in one window. On the iPhone, you will need to tap the  icon to view them. To add a new list, tap Edit, then Create New List.

To create a new reminder, select the list you want to add the reminder to, and press the + icon. Type in the name of the reminder, and tap return. If you tap the > icon to the right of the name, you can set due date and location.

Using location-aware Reminders

One of the neat features in Reminders is the ability to set a reminder based on where you are. You can tell it to remind you when you either get there or leave. So, you can have it remind you to “get gas” when you leave  home, or “meet with the Bobs” when you arrive at work. Unfortunately, I can’t see a way to set it to remind you to do something at a specific time at a specific location (i.e. remind me to reboot a server at 9 p.m. when I’m at work). In testing, the time-based reminder took precedence over the location. This is likely asking too much of the app. You will need to be specific on your locations, too. If I want to be reminded to grab milk when I go to Stop and Shop, I need to feed it that Stop and Shop’s address.

Overall, I’m happy with Reminders. I don’t deal with a lot of project-level data. My reminder needs are very basic: article deadlines I’m committed to, forms that need to be filled out by a date, and calls I need to make. Do you see yourself using Reminders very often?