iOS 14: how to customise the Reminders widget

I’m very much enjoying iOS 14 and wanted to start to share how to customise the Reminders widget.

Add the widget and then long press and tap ‘Edit Widget”.

I like to change this view to see how many items I’ve got due today. So I tap list and change.

You can change the list displayed to meet your own needs but personally I use TODAY because for me this seems most relevant to have on a widget you want to see most often.

Setting up Apple Reminders

Switching back to the MAC also had me thinking about the core apps I’m using to manage my day, I’ve now settled into a little routine using Apple Reminders. The iCloud sync seems solid now and using across iOS and macOS I’m starting to find the benefits of using Apple’s own apps. I keep it fairly simple in terms of creating lists and haven’t overwhelmed myself by dumping everything into it.

I have

  • INBOX, everything goes in here to start with if it’s an idea when I’m out or if it doesn’t belong to a list it also goes here
  • HOME, anything related to home (like putting out the bins) goes in here
  • WELLBEING, anything health related goes in here
  • FINANCES, money stuff goes in here
  • CREATIVE (as a group)
    • Podcast, anything related to podcasting
    • Writing, anything related to blog post ideas or admin on the site
    • Ambient Album, a little project to get me back into writing music
  • Travel, anything holiday related

I then have the widget on iOS Today view to show me what’s due, I don’t bother with this on my MAC.

Keeping it simple has really helped me just focus on a few things and not be overwhelmed by a complicated TO DO app.

Getting started with Apple Reminders

I’m going through some testing of to do apps (I know, not again!) and as I’m doing this I thought I’d share some thoughts on several of them, including Reminders.

When you pick up Reminders for the first time I’d recommend deleting any preloaded lists and starting with just one called INBOX. This will be where you brain dump everything. As you can see above I’ve also split out a couple of new projects as I thought of tasks, so a couple of creative projects. You can move more tasks later but my advice is when you pick up Reminders for the first time don’t worry too much about structure, just get everything off your mind and into the Inbox.

I’ve found the barrier to getting things done for me was worrying too much about creating a framework at the beginning instead of just keeping it simple.

Once you have everything in one place it’s really up to you if you want to organise them by categories such as home or work etc.

Finally giving up on Apple Reminders

I bet you’re sick of hearing me write about productivity apps, especially Reminders but fear not I’m done.

I’ve been trying a few different apps but still not settled but that’s a post for another day, back to Reminders.

I reinstalled the app on my iPhone and it was immediately broken.

Here’s my app badge telling me I have 6 reminders overdue.

Here’s the app.

As you can see it’s completely empty, this knocks your confidence in trusting the app, especially when it only gets updated maybe once a year if we’re lucky.

Zombie Apple Reminders

This is a good one, so I recently purged everything out of Reminders and it’s iCloud database. The weird thing is that slowly but surely they are coming back but only for things scheduled. I had several daily Reminders that remind me to take a break and get out for a walk, these were moved over to another system and deleted from iCloud. The problem is they keep coming back and I have no idea how to fix it.

You can see this in the above screenshot. So I have two of these deleted daily Reminders that have come back from nowhere. One of these is even coming from a list that doesn’t exist. Check out the My Lists area saying there is 1 Reminder in the system but Today is showing 2, argh.

So I currently have Zombie Reminders in iCloud coming back for me and kind of another confirmation that moving my data out of iCloud slowly in the background as I’m currently doing is a good idea.

Apple Reminders has stopped Reminding me (and some iCloud woes)

I’m trying not to add to the pile of people reporting iOS 13 bugs but I’ve got one that’s stopping me using stock apps. I’ve gone all in with Reminders but I’ve found it’s not consistently sending me notifications.

I’ll notice that I should have been reminded when I check the app and I have overdue items but the app didn’t tell me at the time.

I have no idea why it’s doing this but I’ve lost trust in it’s reliability.

I’ve also noticed that Reminders I have completed or deleted on my iMac don’t follow though completely to my iOS devices. This has me more worried about Reminders iCloud reliability. As someone still waiting for an update on my Apple Notes sync issues I currently have zero faith it’ll get resolved if I run into more sync issues.

Apple just don’t seem to have the staff they can dedicate to their core apps.

iOS 13 Reminders setup

If you follow me you’ll know I’ve had issues with the backend sync of the new Reminders app in iOS 13 since July. This led me back to third party solutions but in the last couple of days I’ve managed to fix the issue and I’m back using it. I thought I’d share my initial setup.

I’m keeping it pretty basic for now. A list for each area of focus in my life. There’s more to come here but I’m starting off slowly.

I’m using the ‘Today’ view to see what I have due. This is a mix of reminders with simply a due date and ones with the complete time also set. I’ve been wanting a free running today list for years and I have it now.

I go into Today and then either update the list of what I want done or adding new ones freely, something that I do most often.