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Checkmark 2 for iPhone is a slick reminders app

Checkmark 2 by SnowmanI have a mind like a sieve. Checkmark 2 plugs the holes.

The developers at Snowman have released Checkmark 2 (US$2.99 launch price; regular $5.99), a major update to its predecessor, Checkmark. This handy reminders app looks great, improves on old features and adds some new stuff. After a week of use I've promoted Checkmark 2 to my iPhone's home screen. Here's my look at Checkmark 2.

New Look

Checkmark has been redesigned to feel at home on iOS 7. Minimal icons have replaced the old ones, and the iOS 7 keyboard is in place as is the date selector. Overall, that "heaviness" is gone and the app looks more in line with iOS 7.1's design aesthetic. It's funny how a redesign can make an app feel "lighter," and that's the case with Checkmark 2.

I did find one instance where I was wishing to go back to the previous version. The "date selection wheel," for lack of a better term, is smaller in this version and therefore a little harder to use. Not a deal breaker, of course.

Scheduling reminders

Checkmark 2 lets you schedule a reminder by date or location. This update adds lists to the mix, which is great for to-dos, shopping lists and what have you. Depending on how you use it, its almost like Checkmark 2 has a project manager built-in. First, a look at where and when.

Where

By far, my favorite function is to schedule a reminder to pop up as I approach or depart a certain area. Checkmark 2 makes this easy by letting you pre-load favorite locations. To begin, tap Where and then hit the "+" in the upper right-hand corner. Enter the name of your new spot ("post office") and then tap Next.

From there you've got three options: identify your location from a map, import an address or, easiest of all, simply grab your current location. Adding from the map is fun. The map pops up (normal or satellite view are available) with a text field. You can either enter the name or address, or simply drop a pin if you're super confident.

There's an option to expand or contract a location's geofence, too. It starts at 100 meters (good for something specific like a house) and expands all the way out to 30km. I used a radius of 200 meters to define the complex of athletic fields where my kids play soccer in the spring.

Once you've found it, tap done and assign a representative icon as the final step (I was wishing for a ballet slipper to use for my daughter's dance studio -- hint, hint -- but the comedy/tragedy masks worked just as well). There are 36 icons to choose from, so you'll likely find something to work. Including The One Who Knocks. Once things are set up, it's a breeze. Just tap the desired location, make a new task and you're good.

I'm pleased to report that Checkmark 2 has solved a big issue for me. Typically, a calendar or other reminder app will sound an alarm as an event starts or is about to start. That's all fine and good, but I've been wanting a second prompt to sound as an event is about to conclude. For example: I drop my daughter at dance for 4:00 and need to pick her up at 5:00. Checkmark 2 will let me schedule an alarm for up to an hour after the start of an event. Super! I'd like to be able to do this at two- or three-hour intervals, too. Maybe after an update. Still, that's a huge help.

Here's another trick. For fun I set up "cascading reminders." I had to drive to the post office, the grocery store and the bank. So, I told Checkmark 2 to remind me to hit the grocery store as I left the post office, and the bank as I left the grocery store. Fun! That way I don't have to pull out my "Errands" list and see what's next.

Checkmark 2 also lets you group similar locations. For example, you can put the drug store, grocery store and post office into a single collection called "Errands."

When

This is simple and requires no setup. To create a reminder for a certain time, simply tap the "+", give it a title and a date. You can also add some notes and set repeating options. By default, your repeat options are daily, weekly, monthly or bi-weekly. A custom schedule is also available.

List

Lists view is a new addition. Rather than being an endless strip of bullet points that scrolls forever, Checkmark 2 lets you create headings to keep things sorted. You can also re-arrange the lot at will. It feels more purposeful than tacked-on, which is nice. I've been using it for grocery lists.

Overall this is a really nice update. iCloud sync is in place (only an iPhone version exists for now) and there are several notification sounds to choose from. Once you've got your places set up -- which, I do admit take some time -- Checkmark 2 is a pleasure to use.

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