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Third Party Upgrades to Apple Reminders – MacStories



Apple has long prided itself to being a company carefully weaving hardware, software and services together to offer a comprehensive user experience. Because of this, all Apple product purchasers benefit from the embedded apps and services that come with these products. And on the two most popular sellers, iPhone and iPad, one of the included programs is reminders.

The kernel is reminders a simple list and making an app that can be surprisingly powerful thanks to features like repeated tasks, placement-based reminders, collaborative lists, and note support. Many times over the years Reminders have been my primary task management and served me quite well. It may not be as capable as alternatives as things, but the app is still an attractive tool for those who need light, and that appreciate the ease with Apple's built-in ecosystem.

Unlike most Apple's other iOS apps, Reminders are built on a framework available to third-party developers. Although developers can not build programs that integrate directly with your messages or note databases, reminders are another story. The underlying system powering reminders are calendar based, which means that it is not associated with a single first-party app. Just as amazing and the time page gives access to your existing iCloud calendars, developers can similarly build entire reminders for your reminder by using your existing collection lists and at-dos. Two such programs, Reminder and GoodTask, act as the best third-party reminders on the App Store.

Each app takes a different approach to improving reminders, focusing on contemporary design, while the other offers power usage features and flexibility; Both, however, retain some of the benefits of staying in the Apple ecosystem while improving at the app for reminders from the first party.

Reminder

Developer Mark DiFranco has built a reminder client that appears far more natural for iOS than Apple's actual native option does. While Reminders' design looks still outdated after being unchanged for many years, Reminder takes a page from one of Apple's latest designs by modeling itself for the home app. As in the home, the interface is composed of a grid of different tiles, which in remembrance case represents your different dosage. This tile structure is accompanied by the use of iOS 11's bold, bold headlines, and it's even a "For You" section, as in many modern Apple apps. Overall, the design is a drastic departure from Reminders in every way, but not from the IOS itself.

The reminder tab contains three main ways to show your two-dose. The Lists tab is the place for editing, creating, or viewing individual lists. Here's also one of Reminder's hidden power features: Under the Details screen for a list, you'll see options for setting default time and location alerts for all future tasks added to this list. So, for example, you can get all future tasks automatically to receive "This Evening" on time, or to always notify you when you reach a particular location. The chances are low that you want each to do in a list to have the same alerts, but if most of your tasks receive the same configurations, default alerts may be a useful time-saving measure. Personally, most new tasks I make are getting due dates from 18:00 today, which means I want to get to them by the end of the working day. Reminder allows me to save time setting that alert individually, so even when I have to delay the notification for later, I still configure due to time far less than before.

For you and reminders tabs join Lists as alternative ways to see your tasks. The former is like the scheduled list in Apple's reminders, and provides an overview of all tasks currently in place. Unlike reminders, but where you can not separate tasks from different lists in Scheduled View, Reminder for you keeps the color markers identifying each list, which gives both visual taste and practical benefit. Finally, the Reminders tab contains all your tasks, whether they are timely or not, and also provide a quick way to add new tasks to existing lists.

There are three other reminder features I would like to highlight.

First, the app contains a dark mode that looks particularly beautiful on OLED screens. It is rare to find a dark mode option in a task manager, not to mention one that utilizes an OLED's ability to display real black, but both Reminder and GoodTask include one.

Next, notifications are especially powerful in Reminder because of the way they can be customized to include the actions you value the most. You can include a variety of snooze options ranging from 5 minutes to 4 hours, or even pushing a task for tomorrow, weekend or next week. Snooze actions connect to them to complete or edit a task, providing a healthy selection of options for use in your custom alerts.

Finally, one of my favorite smaller features is how easy Reminder allows to add due dates, alert notifications, and notes to your tasks. Regardless of whether you create a new task or change an existing, Reminder reads what looks like an expanded keypad where you want to see buttons to quickly edit the three types of metadata. The app does not start you on your own screen to change metadata, such as Reminders, and consequently the feeling works much faster and less cumbersome in Reminder.

GoodTask

Where Reminder is a design-focused Reminder Modernization, GoodTask prioritises task management power management features that help the app stand up with heavyweight options like OmniFocus and Todoist.

It starts with Smart Lists, a feature that allows you to customize your view based on factors such as a mission's assigned list, data status, text in it, and more. Smart lists let you not only customize what tasks you see, they also allow you to specify how the tasks are presented. Each Smart List can have its own sorting options, view type, calendar inclusion or not, and also a custom icon and color. If you have many tasks to handle and need fine-grained controls to organize tasks, Smart Lists can be an important tool.

GoodTask also does not include one, but two of my favorite methods to create new tasks. Firstly, it accepts natural language input to specify metadata as due date, assigned list and priority. The requirements for the syntax can be seen from Settings ⇾ New task ⇾ Text excerpt, where you can make customized extracts that are best for you. As good as natural language input, though, the job search function I love even more is called quick action. These are buttons you can customize to quickly, easy to set up metadata without having to break menus or even write special syntax. After you set up, Quick Actions provides a grid on the task manager screen, offering one-touch access to date, list, and other modification types. I have quick actions that change a due date of payment anywhere from 1 to 7 days, another that removes the due date, and also those who immediately assign tasks to specific lists. Date and list are the two parameters I usually adjust with my two-dose, and GoodTask's quick actions offer the most effective way to do it if I make a task or edit one.

As I mentioned in passing, GoodTask supports calendar integration to keep you informed about what your day's agenda looks like and the app also lets you add tags to tasks for even greater flexibility. Features like smart lists and quick actions are just the top of the glacier in customization, as almost all aspects of the app can be set up to match your exact preferences, including the messages, even stronger than those found in Reminder. A small, recently added feature I love is something called List Memos, which mainly allows you to set a message that will appear at the top of a list at any time. Most people will never use it, but I've found it a great addition to saving important reference materials or even just inspirational quotes you want to be close to.

Finally, I must mention that GoodTask is an incredibly good iOS citizen. It's always one of the first apps to adopt new APIs and technologies from Apple, like Siri shortcuts and drag and drop. After the recent introduction of Apple Watch Series 4, the GoodTask watchOS app was updated rapidly with support for the new Infograph complications, and users who picked up a third generation iPad Pro recently found that GoodTask had first support for the new displays. First-party applications usually hold the advantage of implementing new OS features fastest, but GoodTask keeps right in line with Apple that way.


It's been over five years since Apple's reminders last so meaningful change, and then it was only thanks to iOS 7 introducing a system-developed redesign. The app desperately needs a note review, but every june's WWDC comes and goes without a sign of such modernization ever coming.

If the reminder stagnation weighs on you, but you will not go through trouble to move tasks to a brand new database, or you just want to dive your toes to an app option without fully committing, but Reminder and GoodTask are great alternatives to to do it. They are well-known examples of what can be done to improve and revitalize reminders, and bring Apple's aging list and make the app to modern times, each in their own way.


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