When Apple created Reminders, all of a sudden developers of to-do lists had some serious competition. Not only did it offer location based reminders, but it’s no easy task to compete with a free app that comes pre-installed on every new iPhone. Reminders from Apple is far from perfect, leaving the door open for a more feature-rich app that helped tackle lists. One such entry into the space is Checkmark from Snowman. Will it replace Reminders on your homescreen and will it’s feature set find ourselves looking at a new contender for the best to do list app for iPhone? Read on for our full Checkmark for iPhone review to find out.
There are different types of to do lists. For work, I might put together a list of upcoming reviews, or how-to guides. These are often handled best by a traditional to-do list app. Then there are the types of lists that go where you go. Reminders from Apple did just that. Your iPhone is aware of your location and this application allowed you to set reminders for when you either leave or arrive at said location. In order to effectively set reminders, you need to have them in your contacts, be at the location or have the address on hand. This made it fairly difficult to start using what could have been a great feature. No matter how good something is, if it’s not executed with ease, it won’t get used. Enter Checkmark.
Using a similar system, Checkmark takes location based reminders to a whole new level. First off, you don’t need to have them in our contact list to set up reminder. Select the + location icon and you have a number of options.
Add from map: Here’s where Checkmark leaves Reminders in the dust. I often find myself needing a reminder to pick something up when I go to Target, Ace Hardware or another retail store. With Checkmark, I can select ‘Add from map’ and then type the name of the store. It will start to populate a list of stores nearby. Tap on the store and it’s added. I can add any of the included icons (shopping cart applies here) and then add my reminder to “pick up coffee” or “don’t forget cat litter”. Truth be told, not a trip to Target goes by where I don’t pick up one or both. When I arrive at the store, my location based reminder will be waiting for me.
Add your current position: Home. House icon. Done. Now I can easily set tasks or reminders for when I either leave or arrive at home. You can also use this for work or ways to set up different locations that might not be in your contacts. One thing which was troublesome was my inability to customize the name of location. For example, I used current position, but wanted to name it Starbucks. In the end, I used Add from Map, but there should be a way to customize the name of a current position.
Import from contacts: Find a friend or family member, then set up that reminder to give him the Iron Maiden CD which has been sitting in your glove compartment for the past month. I used the ‘People’ icon and now Vinny shows up on my Where homescreen in Checkmark.
Once you set up any combination of the above, you can start adding reminders as you would any standard to list. The reminders can be customized with ‘Notes’ . You can also set a timer for the amount of time after you arrive to be notified, because who wants to be reminded about taking out the garbage as soon as they arrive home.
All the reminders I set up resulted in a notification on my iPhone, as advertised. Although I was in the process of testing a reminders app, I had actually forgotten a few of the tasks I set for reminders, so the app paid dividends immediately. If you do not act upon the task and check it off, the app will repeatedly notify you and notify you and notify you and…you get the picture. This makes it less useful when creating tasks for when I arrive at home, as it continuously reminded me about “finishing my Checkmark review”.
From within the Where section, the top right menu icon compiles a list of all of your location based reminders. This forms a more traditional list, save for one flaw which I’ll address next.
In addition to Where, you can set a task based on time or ‘When’, which falls in the category of more traditional to-do list apps. You can create a ‘Title’, relative notes and time when you would like to be reminded. When you check off a task, it will get moved the ‘Done’ tab. There is no place to see all of your location based and time based reminders. It’s one or the other, making it feel more like two separate apps, instead of one that is managing my complete list.
If you are looking for a straight-up to-do list, this might not be the app for you, as there are others that do the job with greater elegance or efficiency. This app will cause you to re-think how you either use or could use reminders. While I’ll still use Clear for quick and easy lists for work, Checkmark works better for me outside of the home when I go to Target, Ace or my friend’s house. The repeated notifications for ‘when I arrive at home’ make this app unusable for me for home related tasks. If you’ve been frustrated with Apple’s Reminders app, but see the benefit of location based reminders, you should consider Checkmark.