iOS 13 makes the Reminders app a great task manager [Video]

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Reminders app on iOS 13 On iPhone X
The Reminders app finally looks and acts like a grownup task manager.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

As we draw nearer to the official release of iOS 13, things are starting to take their final form – as rocky as that may seem at times. One of the more stable, and more useful updates is to the Reminders app on iPhone and iPad.

Reminders was introduced back in iOS 5, and aside from losing some texture in iOS 7,the app has mostly been unchanged. In iOS 13, Apple is finally modernizing and improving on their task and to-do app to make it more functional and more competitive against many third party task managers.

The Reminders app gets an updated look.

From a visual standpoint, Reminders is now split into 2 primary sections. At the top, you get 4 tiles for quick task groupings. The Today tile is pretty self explanatory – showing tasks due today. Scheduled shows a list of all tasks with scheduled dates, a carry-over from the older iOS reminders app. The “all” tab shows every task or reminder, across all lists, and the new flagged tile allows you to mark reminders for follow up without assigning a set due date and get to those priority tasks quickly.

Below the new quick tiles are all your various lists. Each list can be grouped (or categorized), and can be assigned an icon and color for a more aesthetic look and feel. Groups can be collapsed or minimized, helping you focus on the lists and reminders that are most important in your current context.

A more powerful, more useful reminders App

Inside each list are your various reminders. Reminders work mostly the same as in previous version, with some minor changes. Reminders can now have URLs, notes, or photos more easily attached. These features existed before, but were less accessible, often requiring Siri or elaborate workflows to access. From a notification standpoint, reminders can be triggered based on time, location, and new in iOS 13 – when messaging a contact. This means when you open messages, a notification will prompt you with the contents of the reminder.

Another new option with iOS 13 is the addition of subtasks. Within any task, you can create subtasks, or you can create a collection of reminders, and use a quick swipe from the left to indent them into subtasks. This makes Reminders much more powerful and a more compelling option for people looking for a more advanced, more elaborate task management system.

Big under-the-hood changes

Outside of those features, most of the reminders experience is the same as it has been. It integrates seamlessly with Siri, allowing you to quickly create time and location based reminders. It also is stored and synced with iCloud, across all of your iOS and macOS devices.

Much like the change to the notes app a few years ago, reminders requires a full upgrade with iOS 13. This adds back end support for a bunch of new features, making your reminders in iOS 13 incompatible with the previous version of iOS and macOS.

When you upgrade your device to iOS 13, you’ll be prompted to update your reminders. It’s worth making sure your primary devices are all also upgraded.

All said, Reminders in iOS 13 is a solid, much needed update to Apple’s own task manager. It’s the perfect balance of simplicity and functionality that we’ve come to expect from Apple.