Be Your Own Assistant with This iPhone App!

Like many average working Americans, you likely do not have someone at your beck and call to handle all your tasks, make your doctor appointments, and remind you to pick up milk on the way home. While having a personal assistant may sound appealing, it is a luxury that’s out of reach for many. However, thanks to advances in technology, everyone can now enjoy the benefits of a personal assistant right on their phones. With iPhone’s Reminder app on iOS 13 or later, you can keep yourself organized and more efficient all on your own!  

Using the Reminders app 

The Reminders app has really paved the way for people to work and live more efficiently. With the Reminders app, you can create tasks (reminders), subtasks, and even attachments. You can set alerts based on date, time, and location. You can even share or assign tasks to someone else. 

Using the Reminders app is quite easy. Simply open the app, tap the screen, and type in a reminder. You can click the toolbar and customize your task even further. If that’s too time consuming for you, you can simply speak to Siri and ask her to set reminders for you. For example, “Hey, Siri. Remind me to call eSquared, Monday, at 10:00 am”. Once that time comes, your phone will alert you with an alarm and notifications. You can also add detailed notes or web addresses related to the reminder, by using the NOTE or URL field. Below are a few other nifty features.  

Add a location 

If you would like to receive location-based reminders, you will need to turn on your Location Services in the Settings, under Privacy.  

Adding a location to your reminders is helpful for when you want to be reminded of a task or ‘to-do’ when arriving or leaving a set location. For instance, if you set the reminder to alert you once you leave your office, you won’t forget to pick up dinner on the way home.  

To use the location feature, tap the location icon to assign a notification. You can customize your own location or select from one of the options provided. 

Flag as important 

To mark a reminder as important, you can “flag” it by tapping the flag icon. Your reminder will now appear on the Flagged smart list on the app’s main screen. 

Attach an image 

Don’t want to forget a specific product, brand, or item? Take a photo and attach it to your reminder. Simply tap the camera icon inside the app to add an attachment or take a new image.

Create subtasks 

The feature of subtasks is especially neat. For every reminder that you create you can add subtasks. If you create a task to go grocery shopping, you can include a list of the items you need to purchase. 

To create a subtask, you can simply tap and hold to drag it onto another task. That task will now become a subtask of the one you dropped it in.  

You can also swipe right on an existing task and Indent. The reminder becomes a subtask of the one above it. A third way to create a subtask is to tap a task and click the edit icon (the “i” inside of a circle). Select, “Subtasks”, then, “Add Reminder”, then type your subtask(s). 

Search & find 

Apple has conveniently created a search bar which can be found on the app’s main screen. Need to find a task quick? Simply use the search bar! Type in details, location, titles, or any information pertaining to the task you’re looking for. Reminders that match will appear. You can also search using Dictation by tapping the microphone icon. 

Smart reminders 

Apple certainly loves to create intuitive technology. The Reminders app will start to remember (see what I did there?) your tasking style. This way it can make creating tasks easier with suggested dates, times, and locations based on similar tasks you’ve created in the past. 


Organizing Reminders 

Being your own assistant can be tough. To ensure you are keeping yourself organized, create separate lists or categories for your tasks (a.k.a. reminders). Categorize reminders for work, personal, or school. If you really want to impress yourself, customize your lists by color! 

Creating lists 

Open your app and in the bottom right-hand corner, select, “Add List”. Next, you will be prompted to title the list and select a color (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, or brown) and icon. Then you will tap “Done” in the upper right-hand corner.  

Now that you have created your list, you will find it on the app’s main screen. To edit or customize further, simply select your list. Once inside, click the More icon (3 dots inside a circle). You will find selections to change the Name & Appearance of your list, Share the List, Select Reminders, Sort, and more. 

Share a list 

Want to share a list with coworkers, family, or friends? First, you must make sure that you and whoever you plan to share with has iOS 13 or later.  

Second, select the list you want to share and click the More icon (3 dots inside a circle), in the upper right-hand corner. Select, “Share List,” then, “Add person…”. 

You will be prompted to type in a name or click the plus sign (+) to choose from your contacts. Once your contact(s) accepts your list invitation, they will have access to add, delete, and mark tasks complete.  

Once you have shared a list, you can assign tasks to those people. 

Assigning to-dos 

If you need to assign a reminder (to-do) to someone at work or within your family and friends’ group, you can! Remind your coworker to email that presentation, remind your kids to clean their rooms after school, or remind your friends to pick up specific items for an event. 

First, you’ll need to share your Reminder list (directions above). Once your contact(s) accepts you can tap the person icon to assign a reminder to those contacts. Never forget who is supposed to bring lunch to the meeting again (and never forget everyone’s orders if you’re bringing lunch). 

This is a neat feature if you need to split up duties amongst your groups. You can easily reassign or remove assignments by tapping the assignee’s icon/image and select “Reassign” or “Remove Assignment.” 

If someone has assigned you a reminder, it will appear in the smart list labeled, “Assigned to Me” on the app’s main screen. 

Add a reminder from another app 

Didn’t have time to finish reading the eSquared article about, iPhone’s ‘Secret’ Menu before your next meeting? No worries! You can set yourself a reminder to read it at a later time. You can set a reminder or shortcut while within other apps such as Safari. 

While on the eSquared article in the Safari app, ask Siri, “Remind me about this later.” Siri will automatically create a reminder with a link leading you right back to the app or webpage you were using.  

If you prefer not to use Siri, you can also select the Share icon (square with an arrow pointing upwards) and select “Reminders”, or insert the article link into a reminder. Later, when you receive the notification for your reminder, you can simply tap the link to go directly to the app you were using.  

Get a reminder while messaging someone 

You’re at work reading eSquared’s article about, iPhone’s ‘Secret’ Menu and think, “I need to share this with John next time I talk to him”. 

You still have 5 more hours of work left, so the odds of forgetting are likely, but not with the Reminders app! To do this you will need to create a new reminder. Next to that reminder, select the Edit icon (the “i” inside of a circle). This will bring you to the “Details” page. You should see the option, “When Messaging”. Simply tap this option to turn it on. 

You will see a list of contacts to choose from. You can also use the search bar to quickly find the contact you’d like. Now, this contact is attached to your reminder. You will see their photo and name under the reminder. 

The next time you text John, the reminder alert will pop up. Remember, reminder notifications will obey the display and do-not-disturb rules you set for them. Depending on your settings, if your phone is in do-not-disturb, you may not receive alerts.  

Ready to be your own assistant? 

It’s no secret that applications are changing the way we live and work. We rely on them to wake us up, keep us on schedule, navigate us while traveling, communicate, and more! The iOS 13 update (and later updates) has really changed the game for many apps, especially the Reminders app. With all these features, who needs a personal assistant when you have one right in your hand? Now go out and conquer life without fear of forgetting a thing!