Is the iOS reminders app incredibly hard to work with or am I just missing something?

iOS & iPadOS

Is it just me or is the reminders app incredibly frustrating to work with? Example: a reminder pops up on the screen so I double tap it, expecting it would open that reminder in the app, just like if you double tap on a calendar appointment and it opens that appointment. Nope. Instead, it just opens a big list of previous reminders, the one I actually double tapped on nowhere to be found without scrolling up or down. Next example: if I dismiss a reminder, that should mean I don’t need it anymore, yet when I look at the list in the app, they all have a check box next to them that apparently you also have to go in and manually select to indicate that you are done. Furthermore, what is the difference between checking something as done and just deleting the reminder? Another one: why are there all these different lists in the app? The app isn’t called Lists — it’s called reminders. How it should work is, I said a reminder. That reminder pops up. I dismiss the reminder and that’s that. Anyway, this was mostly a rant LOL but if you do have suggestions for a dead simple 3rd party reminders app that is VO compatible and works as described I’d be open to hearing your ideas. Thanks for listening



Submitted by Jenna Pepper on Sunday, September 26, 2021

Club AppleVis Member

It sounds like your app might be set to show completed reminders. Once you're in a reminders list, tap the "more" button at the top right and select "hide completed". That should clean it up a fair bit. This can be changed on a per-list basis within each list. The app's worked wonders for me on iOS 14.8 so far.

Submitted by Justin Philips on Sunday, September 26, 2021

Actually, the reminder will show up on the lock screen till the check box is cleared. So, any must-get done task gets a reminder. If you don't want this, there are many apps like google calendar where they are just lists of items.

Submitted by Yvonnezed on Monday, September 27, 2021

Well, reminders is a task tracker. You can complete a task from a notification, but not just by dismissing it.

The two options I can think of for this would be either to create a separate calendar for reminders and use that, or possibly an app like Due, although you have to pay for that one.

Submitted by Jenna Pepper on Monday, September 27, 2021

Club AppleVis Member

I didn't quite understand the full scope of your question on my first comment. Sorry about that.

Yes, the reminders app is separate from the calendar. It gives you lists and tasks. Tapping a notification will bring you to the relevant list within the app. Once you complete that task, you mark it as such in there. If you have the list set to hide completed tasks, it'll disappear. To answer your question: there isn't a much of a difference between deleting a task and marking it as completed for a typical user.

Think of the app like a shopping list. Someone reminds you about something you need to buy. Once you buy it, you cross it off. You can set conditions like date, time, and location. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes extremely useful. It's even better if you use the widget which shows your default list. I have two lists: to-do and recurring. To-do is my default list. I add stuff I need to do in there, and once I complete it, I mark it as done. I have the list set to hide completed tasks. Inside Recurring, I put things in there that I have to do regularly. I'm talking stuff like weekly cleanings and other small tasks that I do on a regular schedule. The calendar app is an agenda that lets me know what's coming up that day. The Reminders app is a friend nagging me to get something done.

Submitted by gailisaiah on Tuesday, September 28, 2021

But if you say a monthly reminder is completed, it's gone and you won't get the reminder next month. My example: I have a reminder to give my guide dog his heartworm and flea meds on the first of every month. I don't do anything with it and I get the notification reminder on the first of the next month.

Submitted by Jenna Pepper on Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Club AppleVis Member

In reply to by gailisaiah

You've set it to recur monthly. That's normal.

Submitted by Seanoevil on Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Hi Luke,
Reminders is a great App, and will work exactly as you want it to if you just learn how.

Right in this thread, Jenna has written an excellent guide to the reminders App, which I commend to anyone interested in this useful App.

Luke, With regards to your specific concerns:
When a reminder notification is received, do not double tap on it unless you specifically want to open the reminders app.
If you are finished with the reminder, you can mark it as completed right from the lock screen. Do this by activating the Preview Mode )single finger tap and hold or single finger triple tap or 3D Press on older phones, and possibly countless other ways I don't even know about.)
Then, from right there on the lock screen, you are presented with buttons to Mark Reminder as Completed, or to Be Reminded aAgain at a later stage. Double Tap on the Mark as Completed Button and Job Done.
So in summary, after a reminder has been created, and a reminder notification triggered, you can mark it as completed from the lock screen and as per your comment above, that is that .

With regards to recurring reminders, these are a great feature which I use regularly.
When a recurring reminder is set, I have one that occurs fortnightly, the due date for that reminder is set for the next planned occurrence.
Once that reminder notification has been triggered, marking that reminder as complete seemingly does two things. One it marks that iteration of the reminder as complete and activates the next iteration of the reminder. From within the reminders App, you will see the same reminder, but now with an updated Due Date. So cool.

And don't even get me started on Location Based Reminders, Shared Reminders, Shopping List Reminders,...
Hope this helps.


Submitted by Luke on Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Thanks for all the helpful replies and for going easy on me since some of my gripes seem to point back to user error, not the app itself LOL. It seems like the app is behaving as designed but maybe I’m looking for slightly different functionality. In my mind, when a reminder pops up and I dismiss it, that should be synonymous with indicating I don’t need it anymore, or at least not that occurrence of it in the case of recurring reminders. Also, when I go into the reminders app and try to manually check an item as done, I couldn’t find a way to do that with voiceover. I flicked through all the available rotor options but I did not see a ”mark as done” option unless I somehow missed it. Per the advice of one user here, I will try doing this via the context menu from the lock screen.
Thanks again everyone

Submitted by Yvonnezed on Thursday, September 30, 2021

Sorry, it wasn't meant as sarcasm. I had to rush out the door just as I started writing that and didn't take the time to write something longer. I should have waited until I got home, 😬

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Thursday, September 30, 2021

Hello Jenna. Although I am also a heavy user of the Reminders app, I hadn't implemented the widget or hiding completed items. thanks for the primmer on this app. Appreciate you.