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    iPhone reminders: the one year later edition


    Almost a year ago, I wrote a post explaining how the reminder notification system on the iPhone and iPod Touch was flawed and how much it could be improved.  I was hoping that between then and now, the software updates would have made the devices’ calendar reminders into something more functional and user-friendly.  And my hopes were answered, as the reminder system is improved in one big way compared to the way it was one year ago. 

    For those of you who are not in the loop have not read last year’s post, the main issue I took with the reminders shown by the calendar app of Apple’s touch-based devices is that the reminder did not provide an instant way of accessing the event that produced said reminder for the purpose of augmenting the event.  I bring up the following example:

    What if a reminder comes up and I want to make a change to the event that produced the reminder?  I “slide to unlock,” am taken to the home screen, and before having a chance to touch the calendar app, I get distracted: you know, I get a phone call on another line, someone asks me a question, or the door bell rings?  Once I would be finished with whatever it was that distracted me, I might not remember that I actually needed to make a certain change to the particular event.  So if I had to make a change in my schedule to an event I set a reminder for but didn’t act on immediately, I had to remember to go back into the calendar manually and change it.

    The way to fix this would be fairly simple, and thankfully – Apple noticed (perhaps some Apple employees read my post from the prior year?).  Here is how a reminder is handled now: immediately after a reminder is brought up, unlocking the device would take the user straight to the calendar app.  This way, if I was distracted between the time the reminder pops up and the act of making my desired change to the event, once I return to the iPhone/iPod Touch – I would immediately be brought into the calendaring app – and thus immediately reminded where I left off.

    This should feed the very short attention spans of the internet generation.  Perhaps I fall into that category myself, so it might be of use to me.


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    Posted in iPhone

    15 comments to “iPhone reminders: the one year later edition”

    1. I'm glad that's changed. Now if only the reminder would auto-repeat until acknowledged. Right now if I miss the ring (or vibe) the one and only time it goes off for an appointment reminder, then I've missed it completely. It would be nice if it would keep alarming every minute or so until I acknowledge the reminder in some way.

    2. Nick, that's another great suggestion and feature request for Apple to implement.

      Taking a look at iPhone competition, one interesting thing about the Palm Pre is that it handles these things better than the iPhone: it has a "notification bar" at the bottom of the screen where notifications (reminders, messages, etc.) come in and stay there until you access them. It doesn't jump in your face and then forces you to make a decision about what to do with it right away (the way the iPhone does), but rather brings up the reminder first, then – after you decide to deal with it later – puts it into the notification bar. Perhaps Apple could learn from Palm on this one?

    3. I need the repeating alarm – every minute until acknowledged – and it needs to be done as a ringing alarm – I don't look at the phone often enough for a visual reminder to work. As someone who has had a brain injury, and resulting short term memory loss, this feature is a life savor. my Verizon phone did this, it is the only think I miss from them….

    4. Also default reminder times. Windows mobile has that so that you don't have to set the reminder time for each appointment. I've only owned my iphone for a little over a month now and I've missed appointments because I entered them on the phone expecting the default reminder time of 15 mins. Also apple should add a "Snooze for…" on the calendar reminder popup so that you can choose to remind you in 5 mins or in 5 min increments without having to unlock the phone and edit the event. I'm typing mad today about this issue because I've once again missed an appointment due to the lack of the first feature absolute crap I say. Windows Mobile isn't great in every feature either, but they have a better handle on some of the functions that apple is just now introducing (mms, copy paste, video recording) or doesn't offer yet (mentioned above, plus multiple video and audio format play back.) Both companies should really shed the egos and get together to make a well rounded device. Don't say go back to Windows Mobile, I still have my ATT Tilt with hacked OS on it…I don't use it because it's huge and slow.

    5. Aaron is so right. I hate that the default setting for the reminder is not changeable.

    6. Hopefully that will change soon!

    7. I have been searching long and hard for a phone to replace my beloved Treo 650. That was a great system! But since my company installed Microsoft Exchange a while ago, my treo is officially obsolete as it does not sync properly with Exchange. So, I am using a borrowed iphone 3G and trying to get used to it, but the biggest thing that bugs me about it is the calendar. I have read the posts here and agree with them all. I am looking for an app or a fix that will allow me to set reminders for appointments beyond the 2 day maximum. I need to set reminders for a month or more sometimes and I can't believe this phone can't do it. (the Treo could set a reminder for any amount of days or minutes or weeks.) Can anyone help me?

    8. Hey Warren,

      I feel your pain! The iPhone is such a great device in all its ways, but the calendar's lack of features and flexibility is sometimes astounding. If your company uses Exchange, I'd suggest the following: use the Exchange web interface to make your appointments, which then synchronize back to the built-in iPhone calendar. Does that make sense?

      Let's hope Apple will take care of these nagging issues with the calendar with a software update (sooner rather than later).

    9. I TOTALLY agree with the "remind me in more than 2 days" idea! My more-than-5-year-old HP iPaq (I still wonder why Apple didn't jump on HP's toes for taking on their "iDevice" branding?) was able to set reminders WEEKS in advance, let alone days! As someone who is mildly disabled I attend clinics 2 or 3 times a year that require certain pathology test to be done at least week in advance. On the iPhone I have to set separate events for the pathology test and the appointment, on the iPaq I could set the reminder for the appointment at 2 weeks which would automatically give me a week's notice for the pathology. I also agree with the "bug me till I acknowledge the reminder" idea! It works for the "alarm clock", why not iCal? Catch up Apple!

    10. Along with a “snooze” feature, I really wish it had a “remind 12 hours before” setting. I hate being woken up on Sunday morning because I have a meeting the next morning. By the time I fully wake up, I’ve already forgotten about the reminder.

    11. Completely agree, Christopher. Perhaps the Apple even tomorrow will address this!? I can't wait!!!

    12. After days of lurkin I got Remindum (http://itunes.com/apps/remindum) – it creates an event in google calendar, and the google calendar sends you an SMS/email notification at the time of the event. Luv the app.

    13. Interesting find!

      Will have to give it a go – although I wish they provided a free version it a trial.

    14. We made a loud and long alarm possible with an app called Calendar Alarm. The app syncs with the native Calendar and other calendars supported by the iPhone/iPod. And then sets local notifications for a long alarm with a sound of your choice. The only thing you have to do is start or activate the Calendar Alarm app, after you have set your appointments and alerts in your native Calendar.There are 12 sounds to choose between and the sounds rings for 10 or 30 seconds. In the upcoming version (september2010) a repeat/sleep will be added.

    15. Try http://www.ripeapps.com/reminders it does a great job

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