You Should Be Using: Location-Based Reminders on Your Smartphone
You Should Be Using is a new weekly series of app tips and tricks aimed at helping students work smarter.
To-do and reminder apps make getting things done a lot easier, despite the distractions our smartphones often cause. One of the most common ways this is accomplished is by setting time-based reminders for our tasks. If you need to pay your cell phone bill by a certain date, you set one so your service doesn’t get cut off.
But how many times have you walked out of a store forgetting something? Time-based reminders help us in many situations, but there are times when we need our reminders to work around us instead of the other way around.
That’s where location-based reminders come in handy. They add a little intelligence to the old “remind me at 10am” way of things by reminding you of a task once you arrive at a specific location. So if you’ve forgotten to get toilet paper at the store again, setting a reminder to hit you the next time you’re there will ensure you don’t forget.
The options for location-based reminders, however, are limited. Your iPhone or Android phone likely has a built-in app that allows for location-based reminders, but it’s not a feature you’re likely to find in third-party to-do apps, such as Any.DO or Wunderlist.
Apple’s Reminders app has never been a stand-out app for the to-do crowd, but the updated version in iOS 7 adds a new feature to the app’s location reminders. You can now add a radius for the notification, instead of having to be at a specific location to get the reminder.
So if you’re having trouble remembering to stop at a specific shop, you can set a reminder to hit you when you’re in the area. And as usual, you can set it to notify you when you’re arriving or leaving the area — one of the best features about the built-in Reminders app.
You can also use Siri to set quick notifications for Reminders. Both services are a little buggy on iOS 7 at the moment, though, so be sure not to terminate the app in multitasking or your reminders may not go off as intended.
If Reminders isn’t doing it for you, premium app Checkmark may be a great replacement. It sets up both time and location-based reminders in simple “when” and “where” categories, with different sub-categories for setting up reminders when you pass by work, school, or the store.
Its interface makes adding reminders much easier than Apple’s Reminders app, but does cost a whopping $9.99. But if you live and die on getting things done when they need to be done, having the right reminders will end up saving you plenty of time and money over time.
Google’s built-in personal assistant, Google Now (also available for iPhone), has one of the best location-based reminder features on any platform. Reminders in Google Now are not the easiest to manage, but for adding quick location-based reminders, it does the job.
Getting into the Google Now interface, saying Google, telling it your task, and confirming the location can all be done in a matter of seconds. From there, it’s a load off your mind and you can go back to concentrating on more important things and let the service remind you once you’re at the specified location.
If you’re not a fan of Google Now or are using a phone running an older version of Android, you can use free app Geobells or super app Tasker to quickly set location-based reminders. And for those of you running Android 4.0 — just shy of the 4.1 update needed to run Google Now — you can use Google Keep to set reminders, both in-app and online. In fact, that might make it even more convenient than Google Now for some.
Location Reminder is a simple, yet sweet app for setting location-based reminders on a Windows Phone. Much like the iPhone’s Reminders app, it allows you to set a radius and can be set for when you “go in” or “go out.” The app lacks plenty of features — including landmarks in search — but if you’re in love with Windows Phone’s reliable performance, it’s worth the sacrifice.