How to create location-based reminders on iPhone

Apple’s iPhones can make sure you’ll remember to get things done when you are in the right place at the right time.

Apple, iPhone, iOS, how to, reminders, location
IDG/Leif Johnson

Apple’s iPhones can make sure you’ll remember to get things done when you are in the right place at the right time.

Why would you use location-based alerts?

With a little preparatory work, you can use this feature to help you get lots of different things done. Some examples:

  • Remind me to pick up milk when I leave the office.
  • Remind me to drop into the doctor’s to pick up my prescription.
  • Remind me to call Mum when I leave the gym.

If you use the Find My Friend app, you can even set a reminder that tells you to call your chum once they return to their home.

Setting up your iPhone for location-based alerts

To make location-based reminders more effective, you should open your Contacts app and create new contacts (or edit existing ones) with additional information. By this I mean you may want to create and name address items such as Office, Gym, Doctor. Here’s how to do this:

  • Open Contacts.
  • Find a card with the contact name and address you need, open it, and tap Edit or tap the Plus button to create a new card.
  • Enter the name (office, gym, doctor, etc) in the company field on the card, and ensure you also enter accurate address and contact information.
  • You may also want to tap the ‘Add Field’ item and place the name (office, gym, doctor, etc.) in the ‘Nickname’ field you’ll be offered there.
  • You should make sure you have accurate address details inside the contacts card for those people — family, friends, colleagues — who you may sometimes need to use within location-based reminders.

You can then check the system understands this information: Open Maps, and in the search field, type the name you plan to use (office, gym).

You should see the item you’ve created appear at the top of the contextual list you see when entering a search for that name.

Congratulations, you’re now set-up to create contextually-sensitive location-based alerts.

How to create location-based reminders

Now that you’ve set your Contacts data up correctly, you should be able to ask Siri to set location-based reminders for you. You could ask Siri to remind you to call Mum when you get home, or feed the animals, or any other task you might wish to define.

You can also create these reminders manually:

  • Open Reminders and create a new item.
  • Tap the information ‘I’ button to the right of the item when in the alert.
  • You can now set date, time, priority, take notes, and use the Remind me at a location.
  • Toggle the Remind me at a location toggle to on, and you will be asked to choose a location or enter an address.
  • You can then choose to receive the reminder ‘When I Arrive’ or ‘When I Leave’ that location.
  • Once you decide which event triggers the alert, you can also set the size of the area used to define the alarm, as explained below:

How to use the radius function

When you create a location-based reminder, you’ll be asked to set a radius for that event.

This radius defines the distance from the target point you need to be before the alarm is triggered.

Once that radius is set for a particular Reminder, you’ll receive the alert when you enter or leave that place, depending on what kind of reminder you’ve set.

To change or check the radius, just tap and drag the black dot that appears on the map and you’ll see a blue circle appear — this sets the radius from the location that will trigger the alarm. 

What about car-based alarms?

If your iPhone syncs with your vehicle using CarPlay, you can choose to create Reminders that work when you get into or get out of your car. The reminder is triggered when the Bluetooth connection to your car is disconnected as you leave your car or when it's connected as you get inside the vehicle.

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Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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