Exploring iOS 5: Key Features and Enhancements in Reminders

Among the numerous updates introduced with iOS 5, the Reminders app has quickly become one of my most frequently used tools. This straightforward app supports iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users in managing their personal reminders and tasks, which are conveniently synchronized via iCloud. Here’s an overview of what this new feature brings to iOS and Mac OS users.

The Reminders app icon, which features a series of tasks each marked with a check, aptly symbolizes its functionality. The app is built around the concept of creating multiple lists, and it automatically generates a “completed” list to store all tasks you’ve finished but not removed.

Adding a new list is simple: just hit the edit button on the Lists screen. This action displays all your existing lists and provides the option to add more, either directly on your current device or via iCloud, which is preferable for seamless syncing. Clicking on a specific list, like “Work,” reveals all the tasks under that category.

Task creation is just as straightforward: enter the task’s name on the Lists screen, and then tap it to move to the Details page where you can set reminders.

The “Remind Me” button launches a dialog box where you can choose to be reminded at a certain time or place, or both. Selecting a time opens a standard date and time picker, while selecting a place shows options for Current Location, When I Leave, and When I Arrive. The Current Location option typically offers your current spot, a work address, and an option to choose a new address from your contacts.

However, the limitation to selecting locations only from saved contacts is a drawback for me. For instance, if I need a reminder to pick up laundry detergent when I visit the local Whole Foods Market, I must either add the store to my contacts or set the reminder when I am at the location. Additionally, reminders can be set to repeat at intervals ranging from daily to annually. The Details page also allows you to assign priority levels to tasks, add notes, or switch the task to a different list.

Reminders can be viewed by list or by date.

The date view features a calendar, and swiping through dates shows tasks due on those days. Similar to the Calendar app, a Today button is available to focus on the current day’s tasks.

While Reminders only supports portrait orientation on iPhone and iPod touch, the iPad version works in both portrait and landscape modes.

The iCloud syncing functionality is impressively quick. For instance, if I add a task on my iPad and then switch to my iPhone, the task appears right away. This synchronization extends to the Mac as well.

Interestingly, there is no dedicated Reminders app on the Mac, but the iCal app includes a Reminders section. Tasks added in iCal (version 5.0.1 or later) are instantly updated across all devices. iCal also allows users to create local or iCloud-based Reminders lists and offers a keyboard shortcut (Command-K) for quick task entry.

For those needing access from different computers, logging into iCloud.com with an Apple ID provides access to Reminders via the online calendar.

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Richard

Ryan is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing insightful and engaging content to Apple enthusiasts around the world. With a deep understanding of Apple products like the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook, Ryan offers readers a unique perspective on the latest news, updates, and trends. His articles are known for their clarity and depth, making complex topics accessible to all. When he’s not writing, Ryan enjoys exploring new tech and staying ahead of the curve in the ever-evolving world of Apple.