Siri on the iPhone and iPad is an incredibly useful virtual assistant, often being able to reduce multi-step actions down to a single spoken command. One of these ways that Siri can help you to save some time is in creating reminders and managing reminder lists in the iOS Reminders app.
First of all, you need to create your list in the Reminders list manually. If you ask Siri to create a list, she will simply tell you that she cannot, and tell you to go into the app to do it. Fortunately, this is a very easy task to perform, and then once you have created the list, you can add and manage it directly via Siri. To create a new Reminders list, simply open the Reminders app, and then tap on the + at the top, next to New List. You can then tap to edit the title or select a colour for your list, and then tap done. That’s all there is to it to set up a new Reminders list. You can create as many lists as you’d like, each for their own purpose and which will hold their own set of reminders.
With multiple reminders lists, you may want to change the default reminder list. This is also easy to do. Go into the Settings app, then tap on Reminders, and then you can tap to select which list is the default one. The purpose of doing this is that when you have multiple reminders lists, if you don’t specify what list you want to add a reminder to, Siri will add to this default list automatically. It’s a time saver, but if not set up correctly, can be a nuisance.
Now that you have your list created, there are a couple of different kinds of reminders that you can set. The first is just a basic reminder, with no triggers associated with it. A list with this type of reminders could be a shopping list, or a Christmas wish list, or list of projects you want to accomplish around the house – basically, just things you want to remember, but not necessarily at any particular time. This works really well to create a shopping list that you can easily add to!
Here’s how you add a reminder to a list with Siri:
- Access Siri by pressing and holding the Home button (or corresponding button on a bluetooth headset, for example) on your iPhone or iPad until it chimes.
- To add to your default reminders list, casually ask Siri to “Remind me to…” do something (such as “remind me to buy milk”). If you want to add to a specific list, you can say something like “Add milk to my shopping list,” or “Add iPhone 6 to my Christmas wish list” to register the entry on that particular reminder list.
- When Siri repeats what was heard, you can tell her to make a correction if there is an error. If you forgot to say a particular list to add it to, you can say at this point “Move it to my Christmas wish list” or whatever. Otherwise, just confirm or cancel, or tap the text to make any modifications or corrections manually.
The next kind of reminder you can set it a time-based reminder. These reminders are the most common ones that people set, and the ones that I find most useful, as they ensure that I get things done when I intend to do them. This kind of reminder would be great to remind you to pay bills or go to a meeting on time – important things for which you don’t want to be late!
Here’s how you add a time-based reminder with Siri:
- Launch Siri by pressing and holding the Home button.
- This time, ask Siri to remind you to do something, at a certain time. Variation on this could be “Remind me at 8 PM to set Game of Thrones recording,” or “Remind me on Saturday at 9 AM to cut the grass,” or “Remind me in 20 minutes to check on the turkey in the oven.” As long as you attach some kind of measure of time to your reminder, Siri will set that to a schedule. Or course, you can also specify a particular reminders list in your request here as well, as explained above.
- When Siri repeats what was heard, just confirm confirm or cancel, or tap the text to make any modifications or corrections.
The third kind of reminder is a location-based reminder. By using one of these, your reminder will be triggered when you either arrive at or leave a predefined area, known as a geofence. With this kind of reminder, you can remind yourself to call your Mom as soon as you leave work! For location reminders to work the best, it is a good idea to populate your contact info with addresses of relevant places, such as your home, work, etc. Then, you can just reference these places as “home” or “work” without needing to go into anymore detail. Alternately, you could also specify the address around which you want to base your reminder.
Here’s how you add a location-based reminder with Siri:
- Launch Siri by pressing and holding the Home button.
- This time, ask Siri to remind you to do something when you leave somewhere or arrive somewhere. For example, “Remind me to call Mom when I leave work” or “Remind me to walk the dog when I get home.”
- When Siri repeats what was heard, just confirm or cancel, or tap the text to make any modifications or corrections.
Now that you know how to create these amazingly helpful reminders, why not use this power to share with others to help check things off your lists! You can do so easily by sharing your Reminders list through iCloud. Unfortunately, you need to configure the sharing via the desktop iCloud interface, as you can’t do this from within the Reminders app yet. (I would say that this is almost guaranteed to get changed in the forthcoming iOS 8!) However, once sharing is enabled, any changes you make to the shared list will be synced to all shared devices as they get updated.
Here’s how you share your Reminders list in iCloud:
- Log on to your iCloud account from a browser by going to www.icloud.com. Make sure you log on with the iCloud username and password that you have your iOS device syncing to!
- Click on the Reminders app on the website.
- On the Reminders lists on the left side of the screen, click on the sharing icon next to the list that you’d like to share. It looks like a standard WiFi icon, but angled.
- In the box that appears, type in the iCloud email address of who you would like to share with, which will send them an invitation to sync over to their iCloud Reminders app.
- On the receiver’s iPhone or iPad, they will get a notification where they can accept the sharing of the list.
With these various forms of reminders available to you, the iOS Reminders app is a powerful app to help you get things done. By utilizing Siri to add to these lists, it takes virtually no effort at all. Give it a try, and let me know how much more efficient you become!