MacMost Now 745: Using Reminders in OS X

The new Reminders app lets you create quick little notifications to remind you to do things at specific times, locations, or just to add to your to-do list. The reminders sync with iCloud to your other Macs and iOS devices.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 745: Using Reminders in OS X.

Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's take a look at using Reminders in Mountain Lion.

Now, the new Reminders app in Mountain Lion comes from two different places. First, we had kind of reminders and to do list items in iCal in previous versions of OS 10. Second, we had a Reminders app in IOS that synced up with iCloud. So Reminders replaces the first thing, the to do list in iCal, and it's an exact functional duplicate of what's in IOS. The great thing, of course, is using iCloud it syncs between your Mac now and your IOS devices. So you can add reminders in either one and get them in both places.

So using the Reminders app, which you should find in your dock, but you can also use Launch Pad and other ways to launch it. It's a pretty simple looking app that looks a lot like Reminders in IOS. You can add items to it easily. But before you even get to adding item, I think you should look at the accounts that you are going to use for Reminders.

When you run Accounts it is actually going to go to System Preferences and take you to your Mail, Contacts & Calendars section, which is kind of all of your accounts for all of your on-line services kind of thing. If you select a specific account, say iCloud, then you will see all the different services that are there including Calendars & Reminders. It still puts the two of them together as one system. You have to have that turned on for you to be able to create Reminders in iCloud.

Now if you didn't have that turned on and didn't have any other services here then any reminders that you create would just be on your Mac. They would not be networked. They would not sync with any other device. So it still allows you to use the Reminders app say if the only device that you have is a Mac but by turning it on here and creating the Reminders in iCloud, you then can sync it with other Macs that use the same iCloud account and also all your IOS devices that use the iCloud account. So that is really the way it is meant to be use.

Now you can actually go and use other services that have Calendar events on them as the reminders syncing service so you could use potentially say Yahoo or something and have those things link across and use the device that also has Yahoo reminders functionality. But I have only tested it myself using iCloud and when you do it that way this is all just instantly iCloud. Anything that I create, any reminder that I create, will be iCloud. Not just on my Mac but in the cloud. If I had a second service also here then I would see two lists. One with the iCloud reminders on it and another with lists of reminders on another service. I can select which list I want and that's what the reminder will be added to and that's what it would sync with.

So, to create a reminder you can do it by hitting the plus button and just typing something. All that does is really create a check list item. It's something you can look at here in your list and check off and it's completed.

If you want to create a reminder that actually reminds you at a certain time you can do that by using natural language. So I can say something like "Call my mom", and say "at 4:00 p.m." You can see it translated the 4:00 p.m. to actual time and stuck it underneath there and I can actually get info on this and then see that it is going to remind me at that exact time. Here I can actually set different things. Like to repeat at certain times. I can also set priorities for it and notes. If this isn't enough information here I can actually add something. So meet somebody at lunch I can then put a note in with the location of the place I am supposed to meet them at lunch.

Another type of reminder you can add, I can hit the plus button or just click in here and start typing, is a location based reminder. So I can say "pick up milk when I leave work." If I click here I can set it to do it at a location (I have to allow Mountain Lion to access my locations for reminders) and then I could type a location here. Now it helps if I have an address book of contacts that's filled out with addresses. Then I could actually specify an address like work and say when I'm leaving or arriving at work or home, school; you can put in all sorts of different locations in here and it will recognize them and give you a list of them from your contacts.

Now, of course, that's not going to work as well on a Mac as say on an iPhone because you actually have to have the Mac on. So having your MacBook with you, and leaving work with the MacBook closed and in your briefcase, it's not going to reminder you.

But remember it syncs with iCloud. So if you have an iPhone as well you can create this reminder on your Mac, and even have it be a stationary Mac, like an iMac that you leave at work, and when you leave work your iPhone will remind you because it is going to sync the reminder across devices.

Now after you have completed events you check them off and they go into completed. You can unselect them and they go back into the original list they were in before. Once they are in completed, or anywhere, you can actually select it, I just clicked on it a second time there, and you can see it is selected, instead of the cursor being in it, and hit delete and it will go away and be permanently removed.

Another cool feature of this is the Calendar thing here. I can actually go and look at reminders for specific dates, and through the calendar like that. I can add a new list as well with the plus button at the bottom here and create new lists and then go between the lists pretty easily.

I can also shrink the window down to a small size like that without this stuff on the left and I can search reminders for specific things which would be useful after time and I have lots of different things. Maybe I met somebody for lunch and I put their phone number in a note and now I want to find that phone number.

Reminders, of course, is also going to use Notification Center. So you want to make sure you go into your System Preferences, into Notification Center, and look at your Reminder settings. Then you can set how you want to get these reminders. As Banners, as Alerts, playing a sound, all sorts of things like that. You can go back to Episode 743 for all sorts of details using the Notification Center.

So here is your look at using Reminders. I hope you found this useful. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 7 Responses to “MacMost Now 745: Using Reminders in OS X”

    Murray A
    7 years ago

    I had removed reminders from my dock as I thought it was just a stagnant app that I had to bring up each time to check. Had no idea of the power behind it in the other applications. Thank you!

    7 years ago

    Where is the reminders app? Do you get it from the app store or is it already on my system when I download mountain lion?

      7 years ago

      It is something you get when you install Mountain Lion.

    7 years ago

    Hi Gary,
    Thanks for all your great episodes on Apple. Just one quick question – would reminders work appropriately as a task/to do manager like Things/Wunderlist etc.?
    All the best, Kolja

      7 years ago

      That all depends on what you want from a task/to do manager. For some it will work fine, for others they will want other features. For some people a simple text document works fine. Try it and determine if it fits your needs.

    Stephen Cromie
    7 years ago

    Thanks very much. Any idea how to import tasks from Todo into Reminders?

      7 years ago

      Depends on your situation. It might happen automatically when you upgrade. But I wouldn’t count on it. You probably have to re-enter them manually. I’d save them all out since there are no to-do items in Calendar in MLion, so there is not “from” to go “to” Reminders.

Comments Closed.