Casual Observations on iOS 13 Reminders

I installed the Gold Master of iOS 13 as soon as it became available a couple weeks ago, and one of my most anticipated updates to test was the redesigned Reminders app.

The first thing worth noting is that as soon as I applied the update to my iPhone, my iCloud account was updated to take advantage of the new Reminders data, and it completely broke syncing to my Mac. I’m not the only one who noticed this gap in Reminders syncing, which will be continue to be broken until the MacOS Catalina update drops.

I wanted to collect some thoughts on some other aspects of this app that I’ve noticed over the past few weeks.

Repeating tasks 

Something that I wanted to try to automate in Reminders was periodic tasks like vacuum every 3 days, mop the bathroom every 2 weeks, or swap out a fuel filter every year.

First, it really helps to place all of these repeating tasks into its own list, since as soon as you check off a task, it will spawn a copy of that task with the new due date.

There is no option to repeat a task X days or weeks after completion of that task, which is a real shame. I’d love the option to ignore something for a day or two and then get a reminder for 3 days after I complete that task.

Aside from that, there are a lot of custom options like, every X days/months/weeks, every other Tuesday, every 14th, or every last day of the month, for example.

One more curious thing about repeating tasks is, let’s say you have a task repeat every 5 days, and you don’t complete the task until 2 days after it’s due. There will be a new task waiting for you 3 days later. If you ignore the task past the next due date, it doesn’t create a duplicate task, it just keeps the current one, and keeps the regular repeated schedule. 


One of the new features in Reminders is the ability to indent tasks into another one as a subtask. Subtasks are treated as individual tasks, so if you create a grocery list task with 5 subtasks, it will be treated as 6 tasks in the total count.

This also means that if you attach a due date to the main task, it will show up in the Today and Scheduled lists, but the subtasks will not. So if you wanted to have them all show up in that view, you’d have to apply a due date to all the subtasks as well. I really hope they change that.

If you mark a main task as completely, it will automatically mark all subtasks as completed. Same goes for deleting that main task, it will delete all subtasks as well. However, if you complete all the subtasks it doesn’t automatically complete the main one. Weird.

The default view of subtasks underneath a main task is an expanded view, which you can collapse by tapping on the little triangle on the right, but when you go back to the app after a while, it’s expanded again. Hardly worth it if you have to look at them all at once, anyway.

List groups

Lists can now be grouped as well, but again, once you leave the app for a while and go back to it, the group is expanded again. I wish it remembered its state or at least allowed you to set a default view as always collapsed/expanded for subtasks and groups.


Badges for reminders only show up on the app when they’re overdue, so if you have a task that you mark as due on a day, but not a time, it will not trigger a badge count until the next day. It will trigger a badge if it is past the time it was due, if you set one. Again, I was hoping that the notification badge would be indicative of everything due on that day, like, here are 5 things you need to do today, not just here’s what’s overdue.

Today View

This will display all the apps with a due date of that current day, and also overdue items. It also shows nearby tasks if you applied a location-based reminder, but oddly enough it doesn’t show up on the number count next to Today.


One of the reasons I switched a lot of task management back to Reminders is the convenience of asking Siri to remind me to grab something when I get to work, or leave home, or get in the car. So great.

Here’s hoping

I’m really hoping Apple irons out some of the kinks in their app, but even if they don’t (and I’m not holding my breath) it’s still a pretty great update overall.

By Jake

Reader, writer, designer, creative director. He does web work, print work, and dream work. Heavy advocate of self-care. Updates his blog much less often that he should.

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