Location-based reminders (using Apple Reminders)

Sometimes you want to be reminded of something when you get to a particular place. For example, the next time you’re at a certain store, you’d like to be reminded to buy a certain product.

Some task managers let you set location-based reminders. But if you’re using Things 3, you might be disappointed to find out that Things does not support location-based reminders or notifications.

Fortunately, we can easily work around this problem with an app that you’ve already got installed—Apple Reminders. Let’s get to it.

Lesson transcript:
[00:00:00] Sometimes you'd like to be reminded of something when you get to a particular place. For example, you're going to a store and you'd like to be reminded, when you get to the store, to buy a certain product. But if you're using Things 3, you may be disappointed to find that Things 3 does not support location-based reminders or notifications. Fortunately, we can get around this using the help of an app that you've already got installed. So let's get to it. 

[00:00:25] First things first. It is possible to add a reminder to a todo in Things 3. So if I create a new todo in Things 3 and I give it a title, I can then go and set a reminder by clicking the "when" button over here and then clicking add reminder. 

[00:00:43] So let's talk about what I'd like to remind myself of first. Today I'm going to the local bouldering gym. (Bouldering is a form of rock climbing.) And lately I've had some sore fingers. If you have gone climbing before, or if you know about climbing, you'll know that you really gotta be careful with your fingers because you put a lot of pressure on them when you go rock climbing. So I would like to remind myself when I get to my local boulder gym, to climb using a different technique today, a technique that's not as harsh on my fingers—to protect my fingers a little bit. This technique is called open-handed climbing. 

[00:01:16] So I would like to say climb open handed and I would like to be reminded of this when I get to the climbing gym. Now, what I could do in Things 3 is again, click the when button—click the when button—and click add a reminder. And let's say I could set the reminder for 3 p.m. like this. It's done. Except, what if I show up at the climbing gym at 2:45 and I put away my phone and I climb for a while? The reminder will come at 3:00, but by the time I see the reminder, I'll be done climbing and I won't have been reminded of this. So sometimes you want to be reminded of something at a certain place, and you don't yet know what time you're gonna be at that place. 

[00:01:53] So how are we going to solve this problem? We're actually going to not use Things 3 at all. Normally I would say use Things 3 for everything. Make it your central source of truth. Your one repository of things you need to do, things you want to be reminded of. But because Things 3 does not support location-based reminders, we're going to make an exception today. The exception is that we are going to use the Apple Reminders app. 

[00:02:18] Now, the Apple Reminders app has been overhauled in iOS 13 and in the latest version of macOS. And it now looks like this. If you haven't looked at it in a while you may be pleasantly surprised, it's still nowhere near the task manager at Things 3 is—it doesn't support projects, you know, but I recommend that you use it only for these location-based reminders. 

[00:02:37] Now, before we do this, just want to make sure of two things. First of all, I'm showing you this on the Mac, but you'll probably not have your Mac with you when you need to be reminded of something. Maybe you will, but more likely you'll have your phone with you. So I'm showing this on the Mac, but make sure that in iCloud settings you've turned on the synchronization so that this reminder that we're going to add with the location-based notification is also going to be set showing on your phone. 

[00:03:04] Second of all, you've got to make sure that Reminders has access—has your permission to your location information. Otherwise, it won't know when to remind you, when to send you that notification. And again, you'll want to set that up both on the Mac and on the iPhone. So I'm going to show you how to set that up on the Mac. I'll go to System Preferences and I'll go to Security and Privacy over here and then under Location Services, I'm going to scroll down and just make sure that there is a checkmark here in front of Reminders, meaning Reminders can access my location. 

[00:03:37] Now, you may have to click the lock, enter your password. And then you'll be able to check that box. Just make sure that that's checked. Now let's head back to the Reminders app. Going to hit command N to create a new reminder. I'm going to say climb open-handed and then I'm going to add a location like climbing gym. It's called The Lab, which in Dutch is Het Lab. So that's this one over here. So I'll just click that. Now it says when I'm arriving there, it will remind me of this. 

[00:04:04] That's it. If I now click the little information icon over here, it'll show me the location of the climbing gym and that if I get near it, it'll send me this reminder. So again, make sure that this syncs with your phone or just enter it on your phone to begin with and that Reminders has access to your location information. And that's all there is to it. We're not actually using Things 3, so I suggest that you use Things 3 for all the other things you've been going on. But make an exception if you want to add these location-based reminders. Just put those things into Apple Reminders.

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