Like an Elephant, Reminders Never Forgets

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode # 267

I remember my father saying, “the older you get, the more you forget,” when he forgot about something. He sometimes used a little calendar/notebook, but he often forgot to use it.

I’m no spring chicken. I’ve been doing what I do for the better part of three decades. I’m sad to say dad was probably right. As the years have passed, I’ve learned to use my Apple technology to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

Why Reminders Rocks…

There are several reasons the Reminders app on macOS, iOS, and watchOS is the near-perfect assistant to my ever more forgetful wetware. The biggest one is that it’s completely pervasive. Whenever I need to remember something, Reminders is a click (or tap) away, on my Mac, iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch, one of which is always close at hand (especially the watch).

And it’s not just that Reminders is available on multiple devices, it also synchronizes among those devices. So, no matter which device I pick up, it’s got all of my latest reminders, regardless of which device I used to create them.

But wait! There’s much more!

More Slick Reminders Tricks

In addition to being ubiquitous, the Reminders app has several additional slick tricks up its sleeve. For example, it offers options to:

  • Remind you on a specific day and time.
  • Repeat a reminder every day, week, month, or year.
  • Remind you when you arrive at (or are close by) any location such as your home or office (requires a device with Internet access).
  • Assign priorities (Low, Medium, High, or None) to reminders.
  • Attach notes of any length to reminders.

And Siri Makes Reminders Even Better

And, if that’s not enough, Reminders and Siri go together better than peanut butter and jelly. I rarely type a reminder. Instead, I just ask Siri.

Here are just a few of the things I say to add a reminder to my default list in Reminders:

  • Remind me to call Bryan when I get home.
  • Remind me to call my sister when I get home.
Siri confirms that I want to call my sister (mobile) when I get home.
Siri confirms that I want to call my sister (mobile) when I get home.
  • Remind me to see if the huge check from _redacted_ has cleared tomorrow morning at 9.
  • Remind me to pick up wood glue and 400 grit sandpaper at Home Depot.
  • Remind me to get milk and eggs at HEB.

The beautiful part is that I rarely have to type a word in order to remember something. If I can say it, Siri will add it to Reminders.

Now, here’s something really cool: I’ve been testing a new Series 3 Apple Watch, which has its own cellular radio, so it works beautifully with both Siri and Reminders, even if my iPhone is elsewhere! So, now I can leave my iPhone behind to walk the dog or go for a jog (ha!); I merely summon Siri on my Apple Watch to create (and sync) reminders, regardless of whether my iPhone is nearby.

That’s so cool!

11 thoughts on “Like an Elephant, Reminders Never Forgets

  • Now if we could convince Apple to give us a time interval choice for the “Remind Me Later” option on OS X I’d be a happy camper. (Forgive me if this is an option I’ve missed.) For instance, click to use the default reminder time but Option+Click to bring up a menu or dialog box to set a certain amount of minutes.

  • Aaaw… I hate to hear that.

    When you restore your iPhone, try NOT restoring it from backup at first. Instead, restore it to factory fresh without restoring your stuff. Now try Reminders for a day or two. If it’s still screwed up, I don’t know what else to suggest. Maybe a visit to the Genius bar?

    On the other hand, if Reminders works properly after restoring to factory fresh settings, you should then try restoring it from your backup.

    If that breaks Reminders again, it’s a good bet that something in your backup is the culprit.

    I hope that helps.

  • Well, at 12 noon today my reminder to do something at 6:20 PM tonight went off, so deleting and reinstalling the app didn’t help. I will try wiping and reinstalling my iPhone when I can. I do have an iPad, but don’t use it for reminders…

    Old UNIX Guy

  • You don’t have to prove it. I believe you. But… I suspect you’ve got something weird going on that’s not happening to most users. The app or a cache could be corrupted, or something else could be messed up on your iPhone and causing it.

    Do you have any other iDevices – a different iPhone or iPad? I’d be curious to know if it affected them, too.

    I hate to say it because it’s a pain, but if it were me, I’d try deleting and reinstalling Reminders (you can do that, you know). And, if that didn’t fix it, I’d try erasing and restoring my iPhone.

    The thing is, Reminders has been SUPER reliable for me and I haven’t heard complaints like yours before. So I believe you’re having the issue, but I suspect it’s specific to your iPhone and not a defect in Reminders.

    I hope that helps.

  • And I don’t know what it is about your website that periodically changes ordinary words like “video camera” into links like it just did with my previous post, but I sure hope you can track it down and fix it…

    Old UNIX Guy

  • Hi Bob,

    Once earlier this week I actually watched it happen. I guess I need to just set up a video camera so that I can prove it. It doesn’t happen 100% of the time … more like 33 – 50% I’d say.

    And it’s pretty @#%^& annoying when the Reminder it decides to change the time of is for giving a loved one their medicine!

    Old UNIX Guy

  • Hi Old UNIX Guy.

    I’m afraid I disagree strongly. I use Reminders on many devices many times a day and have never (that I can remember) had it change the time of an event. And, I’ve never heard of that happening to anyone else before.

    I still nominate iTunes for the abysmal software quality award (…and iTunes Must Die is still a free download at


  • Hi Bob,

    There are a couple of features that Reminders is lacking that makes it almost unusable for me:

    When I set a reminder for a specific time, Reminders should not arbitrarily change it to something else of its’ choosing! Reminders does this to me about half the time … I’ve learned to go back and check 5 minutes after setting a reminder to verify that this hasn’t happened.
    When I set a reminder for a specific time for one event, Reminders should not decide to swap that with the time of a entirely different event!

    This is on an iPhone 5s running iOS 11.2.6, BTW.

    Reminders is a poster child for the abysmal software quality at Apple since Craig Federighi took over from Betrand Serlet…

    Old UNIX Guy

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