How to Use Reminders on the iPad mini

You can find lots of good To-Do list apps for your iPad mini in the App Store; if you don’t believe us, try searching for To-Do list, and you’ll find more than 100 offerings for the iPad. Many of them are free, but others sell at prices up to $30 or $40. Most of these third-party reminder apps have nothing to worry about from the Reminders app.

Although some people may love it, you should know your numerous other options if you desire features that aren’t available from Reminders.

What you get for free is Reminders, a simple To-Do list app for making and organizing lists, with optional “reminders” available for items in your lists.

Tap the Reminders icon on your Home screen.

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Reminders on the right side of the screen belong to a list called Next Actions as indicated by it being highlighted in a lighter shade of blue on the left side of the screen.

How to work with lists in the iPad mini Reminders app

To create a new list, tap Add List in the lower-left corner of the screen, type a name for the list on the virtual keyboard, and then tap Done. You can have as many or as few lists as you like.

To manage the lists you create, tap the Edit button at the bottom of the list. When you do, the left side of the screen goes into Edit mode.

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Here’s a quick rundown of how it works (after you tap the Edit button):

  • *Delete a list: Tap the red minus sign for the list. The list’s name slides to the left and reveals a red Delete button.

    You can also delete a list without first tapping the Edit button by swiping it from right to left. The red Delete button appears next to the list’s name; tap it to delete the list or tap anywhere else to cancel and not delete it.

  • *Reorder (move up or down) lists: Press and hold your finger on the three horizontal lines (shown in the margin) to the right of a list’s name in Edit mode, and then drag the name up or down.

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    When the list’s name is where you want it to be, lift your finger. Note that the number of items in the list is overlaid on the three horizontal lines. (It’s a 9 in the margin because it came from the Next Actions list.)

When you’re finished deleting and reordering, tap Done.

How to set up reminders

Reminders is a simple app, and the steps for managing reminders are equally simple. Here’s how to remind yourself of something with the Reminders app:

  1. To create a new reminder, tap the first blank item in the Reminder list.

    The virtual keyboard appears.

  2. Type a title for the new reminder.

    You can dictate your reminder instead of typing it.

    The item appears in the current Reminders list.

    At this point, your reminder is bare-bones; its date, repeat, and priority options have not been activated.

  3. To activate any (or all) options, tap the reminder and then tap the little i-in-a-circle.

    The Details overlay is revealed.

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    Your options include the following:

    • Tap Remind Me On A Day if you want to specify a day and time for this reminder.

      If you have an iPad mini with 3G or 4G, you can also set a location-based reminder. Just tap the At a Location switch to enable it, specify the location, and then choose When I Arrive, or When I Leave.

      Location-based reminders will suck your iPad battery dry faster than almost anything else. Remember to mark location-based reminders as completed by tapping their check boxes when you finish them or you’ll be reminded of something you’ve already done every time you pass that location and drain your iPad battery unnecessarily.

      If you set a location-based reminder with an iPhone, iPad with 3G or 4G or iPad mini with cellular, or with the Reminders app in OS X Mountain Lion or Mavericks, the reminder syncs with your Wi-Fi–only iPad, but without the location information. In fact, you won’t even see the At a Location switch if your iPad mini is a Wi-Fi–only model.

    • After you set a reminder, you’ll notice that a Repeat button appears that wasn’t there before. Tap it if you wish to set a second reminder for a different day or time.

    • To specify a priority for this reminder, tap Priority. Select None, Low, Medium, or High.

    • If you want this reminder to appear in a list other than the one it currently appears upon, tap List. Tap the list you want to move this reminder to.

    • If you have anything else to add you can type it into the Notes field.

  4. Tap the Done button in the upper-right corner after you’ve set all your options.

Choose the list you want your new reminder to appear on before you create it.

How to view and check off reminders on an iPad mini

After you create reminders, the app helps you see what you have and haven’t done and offers a few other tools that are good to know about:

  • Check off reminders. You probably noticed that every reminder you create includes a hollow circle to its left. Tap the circle to indicate that a task has been completed. When you do, the words Hide (or Show) Completed appear at the bottom of the list. Tap these words to hide or show tasks you’ve completed in this list.

  • Search reminders. To search for a word or phrase in all your reminders, completed or not, tap the Search field at the upper left, type your word or phrase, and then tap the Search key. Or swipe down from the middle of any Home screen to search for it with Spotlight.

  • Keep reminders on your Mac or PC. You can create reminders on your Mac or PC with To Do items in iCal (Lion) or Reminders (Mountain Lion or Mavericks) or Tasks in Outlook. And if you’re using iCloud, your reminders will always be up to date on all your devices.

That’s about it. The Reminders app isn’t a bad effort. If it lacks a feature or two that you desire, check out the myriad third-party To-Do list apps in the App Store.