Primer on iPhone Alarms and Reminders

One of the nice things about the iPhone is that it comes with several built-in apps that serve a variety of reminding functions.  However it’s good to know what the differences in function are since they all have different strengths and weaknesses.

iPhone timer

  • Timer
    • Simplest interface (especially if you use Siri – just say “set timer for 10 minutes” and it will start counting)
    • Very limited on features, including that you have to remember what you set the timer for!  But good for parking meters, timing food, etc.
  • Alarms
    • Pros:
      • Simple interface – easy to set quickly
      • Alarms can be labeled to tell you what they’re reminding you to do
      • Alarms sound even if phone is muted with the ring/silent switch
        • Use this if you want to get an auditory alarm no matter what, e.g., if you have to wake up at a certain time, or if you want to make sure you’re alerted and the sound won’t be a problem.
    • Cons
      • Alarms will sound even if phone is muted (bad for meetings, theater, etc.)
      • The Siri default setting is AM, so if you create a new alarm with Siri and you want it to be PM, you much specify that or edit it to PM once it’s created.
  • Reminders
    • Pros:
      • Checklist style
      • Can be set to show on lock screen until actively dismissed (set as an “Alerts” style alert in Notifications)
      • Can be categorized and prioritized
      • Can be set for time or place notifications
      • Time notifications can be set to repeat at desired intervals (e.g, daily, weekly, etc)
      • Easy to set with Siri, eg., “Remind me at 8pm to do the laundry,” or “Remind me when I get home to take my vitamins.”
    • Cons:
      • Multiple features/menus make setting potentially more involved (compared, for example, to Alarms)
      • Alarms do not sound if phone is muted (though they vibrate once)
  • Calendar
    • Pros:
      • Placed on Calendar (for easy reference if you refer to Calendar a lot or have coordinated Calendars, etc.)
      • Repeatable
      • Can set up to 2 alerts at different intervals up to and including the event time
    • Cons:
      • Alarms do not sound if phone is muted but vibrate and otherwise function like reminder alerts.

That’s my rundown.  If there’s something important I missed, you can add a comment, or let me know on the Google Group (see About) and I’ll add it!

[Photo credit: Author]

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Did I Shampoo or Not?

Shampoo MohawkEver forget whether you just shampooed in the shower while you were distracted by pondering the meaning of life?  Here’s a simple solution:  rub your hair.  If it squeaks, it’s clean!  For short hair rubbing seems to work best.  If your hair is longer, you can pinch a small gathering and slide your fingers along the length of it.

[Photo: Ted Johnson – License]

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Using Car Keys as Reminders

Car keysIt’s good to remember where your car keys are:

  • Have an unambiguous, designated spot for car keys.  Often a place near the exit door is good, like a hook, or a specific container on a table that’s only used for the keys.

But they can also be used as a reminder themselves:

  • If you want to be sure to take something with you, put your car keys with that item and you won’t be able to leave without it!  Especially useful if you’re at someone else’s place.

[Photo credit: Author]

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