iOS Reminders: Tips & Tricks (Transcript)

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2017, Casey Friday

You might think your Reminders app is only for simple items, but in this podcast, I’ll show you how I use it for some pretty complex stuff!



[0:00] Hello and welcome to episode 2 of hacking your productivity I’m Casey Friday and you can find me on the web at Casey Friday. You can also find my WordPress web development website at
Today’s episode is entitled iOS reminders tips and tricks.
IOS reminders is one of the stock apps that comes pre-installed on all iPhones when they’re purchased and it might seem like a super basic app but when used effectively it can be Fantastic Four productivity.
No I do know that there are other reminder apps and list apps such as Wunderlist and OneNote,
and a couple of other ones that I have an actually used yet I do use Wunderlist in OneNote as well as a couple other note-taking and list apps,
but this podcast will focus primarily on the things that iOS reminders does really well.

Basic Reminders

[0:53] So to start off let’s talk about basic usage normal reminders I normal reminder is something like remind me to take out the trash at 7 p.m.

[1:03] Or remind me to pay the Visa bill next Thursday.
Another option might be remind me to give Jessica my phone mount so these are simple things that you just want one reminder for,
and when you make that reminder you want to be reminded once and then it’s done and can be checked off the list and you don’t have to worry about anymore there’s nothing recurring here there’s nothing really special or Advanced about these but you can use these to remind you,
to pay someone back or something like that something that you just want a very simple checklist of things to be reminded of at a specific time.

[1:38] So
that’s a basic reminder the trash one is something that’s pretty useful if you forget to take the trash out then setting reminder to do it at 7 p.m. if you know the trash people are going to be there the next morning or that night,
depending if you live in apartment or at a house it can be very handy to have that available so that you remember things you would another rice remember.

Recurring Reminders

[1:59] If you want to delve a little bit deeper in we can go into recurring reminders so these are things that you want to do daily weekly or monthly but you might not remember every single time you’re supposed to do them.

[2:13] So you might accidentally do these a few days late if you didn’t have some sort of reminder system set up in the first place.
An example of this would be remind me to take out the trash every Tuesday through Saturday at 7 p.m.
So that one if you think about our previous example of just saying remind me to take out the trash at 7 p.m.
Show me specifically in my apartment complex the trash is collected,
on only specific days of the week so I only need to remember to take the trash out at 7 p.m. on specific days which is Tuesday through Saturday Sunday and Monday I don’t need to worry about it,
when I set up a reminder like this you really have two options number one you can either tell Siri on your iPhone to set up this reminder,
and that one sometimes has a little bit of trouble figuring out exactly what you’re saying and parsing it so the safest way is to go straight into the reminders app and type it in yourself and put the recurring,
information in there for what days you want and how often you want to be reminded but I will say that Siri is pretty good at these basic tasks so even though,
a couple of times you might not get the parsing that you want of your natural language it’s probably worth trying to use Siri because it does save quite a bit of time.

[3:26] So another example is remind me to backup my documents every Monday at 10 a.m.
now this is something that I do there are specific files and folders that I like to back up on a weekly basis,
and I have this reminder set up so remember to actually do it and it sounds somewhat ridiculous since it’s every Monday the beginning of the work week but it actually does really save me and help me because I wouldn’t remember otherwise and I probably go two or three weeks without backing up my documents properly,
if I didn’t use that.

[3:56] Another example of a recurring reminder is remind me to check the car tire pressure bi-weekly on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.

[4:05] So the basic structure here when you’re telling Siri about a reminder you can have all your descriptors like bi-weekly on Wednesday.
And then the at 11:30 a.m. tight end with Wednesday that’s going to be the first occurrence of this reminder.

[4:20] So you can either try to use Siri or you can go into your Reminders app and actually type in a reminder that says remind me to check the car pressure and then you can click on the little I that’s right next to your reminder after you set it up.

[4:35] Go into the details and then you can choose to be reminded on a starting Day At A starting time and the repeat options are.
Never every day every week every two weeks every month every year or a custom reminder so the custom reminders are great for things like the trash pickup that I just mentioned if you want to be reminded,
on specific days of the week at a certain time you can set that custom reminder up.

[5:01] And then you can choose when to end the recurring option so if you only want to be reminded to do these things for say 2 weeks or 3 weeks then you can choose to end them on the date that’s two or three weeks after,
you’ve set this up you can also set the priority which I haven’t really found,
any way to add this into hacking my productivity it’s just sort of nice to have different priorities on each one and essentially you either have none or one two or three exclamation marks,
so the priority can be low medium or high or no priority and it’s not really important I would say.
But there probably are going to be some tie ends in future episodes where I find other things you can do based on the priority of your reminders,
another thing that you could use this for is having the due date each month for bills to be paid so something that is a problem with me is I forget to set up Auto draft on some of my bills and.
I check most of them,
before the end of the month but some of them I just don’t remember to look at them so if you have a list in your Reminders app of all of the bills yet to be paid you can have the due date for each bill each month can you can set that too,
remind you recurring on a monthly basis and in the info of the reminder you can set the URL for the payment Gateway so if it’s.
A health insurance bill you can set the URL for the health insurance website that you go to to make that payment and that makes it even easier because not only do you have a reminder reminding you to pay that bill but you have a direct link showing you exactly.

[6:38] Where you need to go to get that paid so recurring reminders are really great for things you want to be reminded on a,
specific recurring basis and that comes in really handy but if you want to get a little bit more advanced than that.

Location Based Reminders

[6:52] Then we get into location based reminders now these are some of my favorite reminders and I think I’m really only scratching the surface when it comes to the functionality that I can get out of these but one simple use would be remind me to feed the dog when I get home,
so you can say that to Siri as long as you have your home address stored and your contact information.
And you set yourself as you and your phone essentially so you need to go into the contacts and edit my contact card and put your home address in there and then your phone will now know where your home is you can do the same thing for work so if you have a work address.
You can add that in and it’ll make it easy to do location based reminders when you get to work when you’re leaving work and.
The nice thing about this is maybe you don’t know when you’re going to get home if you’re hanging out with friends and my go on for a couple hours but you need to be sure to feed the dog when you get home so if you set this location based reminder then it will go off right when you get home.
So another example is remind me to get my charger when I get in the car.

[7:55] This is something that will work based on if you have a Bluetooth connection in your car that you connect your phone to each time.
The recent Apple processors have a CO motion processor that’s supposed to be able to tell when you’re walking vs. biking versus running climbing stairs or in a car.
The main way that these reminders are utilized when you’re doing a reminder that’s location-based in your car is when it connects to your car is Bluetooth Network,
so if you have a Bluetooth audio setup in your car and you connect to that to play music as long as you just have your Bluetooth on on your phone,
then you’ll be able to get a reminder when you hop in the car,
to remind you to do something so if maybe you leave your laptop charger in there and you don’t actually need it tonight but you’re going to need it tomorrow then you can set a reminder for when you get in the car next,
to grab your laptop charger and something else you could do is set a reminder to get it when you are leaving work the next day so these are different ways that you can tie in these location based,
actions to your reminders.
Another Advanced use is a shopping list reminder and this is probably my favorite use of location based reminders so for shopping list I share,
the shopping list with my wife in Wunderlist and we have a list that we can add things together Wunderlist has a few more options when it comes to.
Digging deep into an actual list item and adding sub list to that and adding images and attachments and different things unfortunately Wunderlist was discontinued and it’s going to turn into Microsoft to do.

[9:33] However Microsoft to do has not implemented all of the features that Wunderlist has yet so it’s really pointless to use that application especially for me because they don’t have folders so I like having a shopping list folder.
In Wunderlist and inside that shopping list Fuller I have the different grocery stores that we go to with shopping list for each one.

[9:55] So these lists are shared with my wife and she can add anything she wants to it and then,
in the actual iOS Reminders app I will have,
a reminder that’s location-based that says check Target shopping list so the Target that we go to most often.
I will find that one in the location based settings of the reminder and I will set a radius for how close I have to be when I actually get to that Target to receive this reminder notification.

[10:26] And that’s a certain anything the minimum.
Radius that I have been able to set is 328 ft you might be able to do it a little bit differently if you’re using a Mac versus an iPhone but I think that’s the as small as you can go.

[10:39] Put the really neat thing about this is that you can choose how wide that radius is.
So for instance the Costco that we go to normally we don’t usually take the exit for it so I wouldn’t normally receive,
a notification driving by that Costco if I had it set at 328 ft,
as the radius to trigger the reminder however I can increase that radius and make it go all the way to the highway that passes at Costco and then when I drive by it I will receive that reminder so this is really nice because this is.
Sort of another life Hackett I hope you save gas when you’re driving.
If you’re out and about your visiting a friend or running another errand and you can add a stop to your trip to pick up something that you wouldn’t have otherwise remembered and it would be another trip with more gas wasted in the vehicle or electricity if you have an electric car.

[11:30] Then this is something that comes in really handy and allows you to manually set,
whatever location you want so I have four of them right now for four different stores that I go to and the way I manage it is when I go to that store and actually purchase everything that’s on my shopping list and Wunderlist I will actually check the reminder as completed,
so then when I drive by that location again I won’t receive a reminder for example to check the Target shopping list if I’ve already purchased everything that’s on that list.

[11:59] And then if I want to add that back maybe I have some more things that I have added to the Target shopping list in Wunderlist I will go into my iOS reminders and I will hit the.
View completed,
button which shows you all of the tasks in that list that you have completed and then uncheck that Target location based reminder so that the next time I’m driving by it’ll pop up again and give me the option to be reminded about my shopping list.

[12:26] So this is something that you can set for different places that you will sometimes need things from but maybe not every time so whether it’s a shopping list or maybe it’s just a place that you like to go.
Perhaps you take your library books back and forth and your car after you check them out maybe you set up a reminder to drop your books off at the library or go pick up your books at the library if you have,
any available books or anything that needs to be dropped off this is just something that you can set up and using his location based reminders it really starts to feel like what I initially thought the smartphone Revolution was going to be with sort of these magic automation rules.

[13:03] Another example of this is you can do something like pick up Whataburger when I’m leaving Topgolf this is an example so you’re going to go to top golf with some friends.
And maybe you’re going to go at about 7 p.m. and you don’t know how late you’re going to stay maybe you’re going to stay until 10 p.m. maybe going to stay till 11:30.
You can set a location based reminder that uses Topgolf as the actual location that you’re doing the geolocation on,
and your iPhone will notify you when you leave that area that you have a reminder so you can set,
location-based reminders based on either arriving or leaving,
two different conditions that you can use so when you’re in the settings and you’re changing the radius for how big of a Zone you want to be reminded in when you drive by these places you also have the option to click when I arrive or when I leave,
and the really nice thing about this is that you don’t have to be constrained to your home and work locations when you’re setting a reminder like this,
maybe you’re going to meet up someone at bowling alley and you want to remember to go pick up some milk from the store when you leave.
You can set a reminder and you can manually set the location trigger to be the bowling alley that you’re staying at,
and the iOS Reminders app will allow you to start typing in address it’ll search Apple Maps just like if you were in the maps application,
and you can choose the bowling alley that you’ll be bowling at and then set your radius probably make it as small as possible so once you get in your car and start driving away,
your phone will beep and or your watch will beep if you have an Apple Watch and you’ll get a notification that says stop by the store and pick up some milk.

[14:40] So these geolocation reminders are definitely one of my favorite I really.
Have I quite a few recurring reminders probably more than a deal location reminders but these are just really great.
For reminding you of things based on a location or going to be at this is something that I wouldn’t have thought was possible before but it definitely is,
so these are two options that you have using location based reminders to either set something that’s going to trigger every single time,
your drive by a place or you can just set it to do it once and then another thing that you can do when you have these location based reminders is you can set a time,
and a location-based trigger so maybe you want to say pick up the milk when I leave the bowling alley tonight or by 7 p.m.
Then if you just add the time if you had a day and a time which is today and 7 p.m. and when you’re leaving the bowling alley maybe you set it to 10 p.m. cuz you don’t know if you’ll be staying later than that,
if you set a time then the location based reminder will either go off at the time that you’ve set or when you leave the location whichever one happens first so that’s just really nice because then you can guarantee that even if things go longer than you thought they would,
you’re still going to get a reminder that you need to do something,
so maybe you’ll set a reminder that something absolutely has to be done tonight and you don’t end up leaving the place you thought you would be leaving at the time you thought you would be leaving then you can call someone else to,
do the task that needs to be done whether it’s getting something from the store or picking someone up these location based reminders make it really easy to do fancy things like that.

Ifttt Reminders

[16:16] If location based reminders were not Advanced enough for you that we can take this to a whole new level which is if this then that,
if you search the app store for IFTTT that is the if this then that application that you can run your iPhone this is a really powerful automation application that allows you to change together,
different events so frankston’s I have a search going on a subreddit that shows PC parts and I set the search query.
As the if this condition and if this then that and then the that condition so if it searches this and find something new in the subreddit,
then the resulting action is that it will create a new item in my iOS Reminders app,
so this is really handy because if you don’t want to actually search a news feed or a product feed or read it feed you can set this up to automatically add.
Items to your,
Reddit sub list or search sub list that you have in your iOS reminders app and then you can browse your Reminders app as opposed to browsing something else that is a little bit more difficult so this is great for doing filtered searches if you want to really drill down and find something exact.
Can you can use this sort of hack,
and get a list made just for you and your iOS Reminders app that is based on a search somewhere else know if you go to,
iOS underscore reminders you will see just about all of the iOS reminders that are popular on.

[17:49] If this then that website so one of the interesting ones is if there’s rain predicted for tomorrow receive an iOS notification to bring an umbrella.
So this is great because,
maybe you leave really quickly in the morning for work and you don’t have a lot of time to prep and sort of do research about what’s going on in the day if it’s going to rain tomorrow you can have a reminder added,
that you can set for you know maybe 30 minutes before you normally leave for work that says remember to bring an umbrella another option is,
you can create an event when you add a new reminder on your iPhone,
so if you wanted to set a reminder and then you also want to see that in your calendar and you don’t have,
an application that shows reminders and your calendar then you can use this IFTTT Recipe to create a calendar event that something that.
I like even more than that is that you can create a calendar event that’s created once you’ve completed and iOS reminders task so for me I don’t do a lot of journaling but I really wish that I would,
but since I don’t do a lot of journaling something that would be really handy is if every time I completed a task and iOS reminders and action was created.

[19:03] On my calendar so there’s an actual event that shows what the item is and when I finish that item,
that would be really handy for me because I’m using Fantastical calendar all the time so if I could have the actions that I have completed showing up in my calendar.
It would be a great visual representation for me of what I did during the day how much work I got done and how long each thing took after its previous task.
So there are quite a few different recipes and if this then that.
The different things you can do like automatically create reminders on your iPhone for your starred emails so if you have the Gmail app on your iPhone and you start an email.
Sometimes you start those emails and you don’t go back and look at them this will actually create a reminder.
In your iOS Reminders app every time you start an email so you’ll be sure to get the reminder and take action on that email so you can remove the star.

[19:57] One of the other recipes you can find on if this then that is if there’s going to be an overnight freeze,
add a reminder to cover your plants so this is great if you have me to vegetable garden or just any sort of plants that you don’t want to die and you’re not sure when the weather is going to be freezing overnight.
You just connect the weather underground service with your reminders service and make a simple if this then that recipe.

[20:19] To connect the two and give yourself a reminder when you need to cover the plants have a great thing is any of these if this then that recipes that you can see on their website already,
you don’t have to actually create those they’ve already made them and all you have to do is allow the services like weather underground or Gmail or Google Calendar you just have to allow those services to talk to each other,
and I want you install these recipes you will have your automation going beautifully another thing you can do is set up an if this then that reminder that says if it gets.
Too cold remind me to bring a jacket so if you’re going to be going out and you want to have.

[20:56] If this then that monitor the forecast for the evening using Weather Underground then all you have to do is add this recipe.
To your if this then that application and you will receive an apple reminder to bring a jacket if it’s going to be too cold in the evening when you’re going out,

Outro (Contact Me)

[21:12] so how do you use reminders do you have any other hacks that you use when you’re setting up reminders for yourself are there any specific ways to use this at I’ve thought of that you’re using that are really helpful and your life.
Definitely let me know and be sure to subscribe for updates on the next podcast I’ll be discussing how to use homekit and Philips Hue,
for some really awesome light Automation and your home thanks for listening and I’ll catch you in the next one.

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