Moving from Things 3 to Apple Reminders (or not)

For the record I’ve been a long time Things lover, however I can’t help but ignore that Reminders has flourished over the past few years.

So last week I decided to give Appel Reminders another go, and today is the first day that I can honestly say I’ve not opened Things, and I’m not sure I won’t flip flop again back to Things.

What I love about things

  • The overall design and consideration, it is beautiful and a joy to use for the most part
  • Keyboard navigation is second to none
  • Email to things for task entry
  • iPhone widget has high levels of density (5 items v Reminders 3 for the small size)

What I don’t love about things

  • No ability to show without fussing about a single list of things that are due today, and also due in the next few days or weeks. You can fiddle about with multiple windows, but that is a pain, come on! (reminder does this)
  • Inbox, I don’t see the need for inbox, it just annoys me that I have to switch to another folder to see these tasks only to then give them a date and move them elsewhere. Give me the option to add new tasks via import or other sources to today and I”ll figure it out (reminders does this)
  • Don’t tell me I have new tasks and ask me to click ok to make the prompt go away, this is over the top and just annoying. Let me turn this useless notification off (reminders does this)
  • For most of my tasks, I’d like reminders by default, so I need to create a task, set a due date, then set a reminder, one extra step that shouldn’t be required (reminders does this)
  • No Siri support on MacOS at all

What I love about reminders

  • Siri “Remind me about this” works for many apps across iOS and MacOS, from Outlook through Safari, this is a killer feature, understand this is likely an Apple feature lock in
  • Integrated, always available and simple
  • Shared task lists with family and others
  • Siri support on MacOS
  • Natural lanugage processing for dates when entering
  • A far more reliable Siri experience

What I don’t like about Reminders

  • Overall UX design is nowhere near as wonderful, it is not a delight to use, but many features are
  • It gets a bit ugler when you add tasks with attachments or URLs, would be nice to hide these in the task view
  • Keyboard navigation isn’t quite the same as Things, but good enough with Siri improvements

I’m not complaining about my investment, however it is long time for the next generation of Things 3 given it’s first release was in 2017, some 6 years ago. I also appreciate that Cultured Code has maintained the product along the way with various improvements when trackpad support was added to iPad and Shortcuts came out.

It’s going to be hard to justify the upgrade cost from Things 3 > 4 if this is ever a thing, obviously depends on the capabilities and wonderment, but US$80………

But for me the key thing is today I was in Outlook on my Mac, I asked Siri to remind me about this message in 2 weeks, and it did, a new reminder item with a link to the email message…….


Please talk to me more about your usage of this. I’ve been intrigued for a while but wondered how people use it. So you’re sat at your desk and you have an email open and you say “Hey Siri, remind me about this”, and [this is the bit I’m unclear on] does Siri create a reminder for it? How does it know which list to add it to? (I have an “inbox” list in my Reminders, I’m guessing you don’t!)

I can see how that’s quicker than dragging and dropping, or using a sharesheet, or whatever. Or writing an actual task (which is what I do, though partly because I like the actual mechanics of adding a task).

I use this feature every day. It’s one of the reasons I moved back to Reminders.

I have my work list as the default, so I don’t need to specify a list. I use this most in email and say, e.g., “Remind me about this tomorrow,” then it asks me a subject and adds to Reminders with a link. It saves a lot of clicks!

This as well as shared tasks and location-based Reminders convinced me to drop OmniFocus, as it simply doesn’t have those features (location in OF requires opening the app, which is useless for me). I use “Remind me when I get home” and “…get to work” all the time.


Like others I also use this feature. Here are two screen shots showing Siri activated to remind me about an email from Apple Mail and the result in Reminders:

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OmniFocus allows the user to import reminders into the OmniFocus inbox. I can say “hey siri, remind to buy milk”. When I open OmniFocus, it will automatically start transferring reminders into OmniFocus. Then it erases it from Apple Reminders.

As an alternative, you can tell OmniFocus to import tasks from a specific Apple Reminders list.


Use whatever works, but I think some of your gripes about Things have reasonably friction-free workarounds.

There is a Deadlines view. Just type Deadlines and hit enter.

There is a preference to have Quick Entry save to Today by default. You can also just paste tasks into the Today view.

Also a minor annoyance for me. I think it goes away after you interact with (move, complete, etc.) a task in Today, though.

How does Reminders know when to set your reminder? Do all reminders default to the same date/time?

I think that’s an Apple-imposed limitation. :frowning:


I made the switch from Things to Reminders, after several months of a side-route involving a short-lived job that required me to use Windows. I went back to Things a couple of weeks ago. The UX clumsiness of Reminders on the Mac drove me away. Too much clicking and mousing.


I don’t think there is a more keyboard-friendly todo app than Things 3. It’s their secret weapon. Being able to do everything from my keyboard makes it so much faster and easier to use than the competition.


Adding to that, if @SteveMac is also into keyboard shortcuts, hitting ⌘+S on the Quick Entry window will also allow to save to today or set any start date with natural language parsing.

If you want to move it to the Next list or just add it to an Area or Project, just need to hit ⌘+⇧+M to move it to any list.

Tags can also be added there, by hitting ⌘+⇧+T. So the inbox can be left just to the items you don’t now at the moment where you’ll file them.

I actually like this to happen so I can differentiate the tasks that were added from schedule and those who were carried from yesterday (this is a huge sign that this task may not be as important or crucial as thought).

To add a reminder just need to add a time to the date in the When field (the ⌘+⇧+S shortcut). So if I want to get a reminder to check on this page tomorrow by 09:00, then:

  1. Hit ⌃+⌥+space to open Quick Entry;
  2. Hit ⌘+⇧+S to move focus to the When field;
  3. Type tom9 and it will autosuggest tomorrow and add a reminder for 09:00.

Its natural language parsing is really great. Too bad it will only work with English input.

BTW, all those keyboard shortcuts work on iPad as well (heck, they even work on iPhone if you happen to have an external keyboard paired to it).


I currently use Reminders and Things in combination. Reminders is for my grocery and shopping list, and for anything that’s location-based. I don’t use location-based reminders often, and they’re typically one-offs, e.g., “When I get home, remind me to do x thing that just popped into my head.” Everything else goes in Things.

I still use Siri for task entry as tasks occur to me when I’m not at a keyboard and my phone’s not handy. I have it set so that the inbox is my default list, and I have Things set to automatically import inbox items from Reminders, then delete them.

Out of curiosity, I tried that with a task I entered from Mail by selecting a message and asking Siri to remind me about it. For whatever weird reason, tasks created that way don’t import into Things, even though they’re in the Reminders inbox. I’ve no idea why. Fortunately, I almost never use that method for entering tasks, anyway.


I had the same doubt, and then found out that these links created by Siri in Reminders are not simple URL metadata, but .webloc attachments.

As per this page from Things support, these reminders are hidden to avoid data loss on import.

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Ah, that makes sense, thanks!

When in doubt, read the manual… :blush:

I always thought this feature was limited to Apple Mail. Is this now available in Outlook as well?

I think “remind me of this” through siri is universal? It’s not like the apple Mail remind me option, but a reminder in the reminders app when you activate siri anywhere and say “remind me of this in [x period]“)

This isn’t working for me, but it’s a really weird “glitch”. Siri acknowledges the request, but isn’t pulling through the current email - often it’s not even the last email I interacted with, but something from maybe 10-15mins previously. I will need to explore this in more detail when I’m not meant to be doing my emails (I am terrible at replying to emails and playing with Siri is hardly clearing my backlog), but I’m mentioning it here in case you’ve come across this before and already know what the problem is.

(I was using the hotkey trigger for Siri, as I’ve never used Siri before and am not comfortable with the voice trigger - I have since tested that to see if it’s the hotkey causing problems, but it isn’t - the problem is the same however Siri is triggered.)

Edited to add: I’m talking about MacOS (Ventura). I can see @Bmosbacker is using this feature on iPad, but I’d wanted to get Mac running first before I experiment with other devices.

Things has this feature too

Really awesome reply and I absolutely agree with you, I’ve found workarounds to most of these things, however I’ve reached the point where I’ve got friction in many areas of my Things usage that just detract from the overall experience.

I need to be clear here, I want to use Things, I absolutely love Things. I’m just trying to be objective about what is more important, functionality that get’s tasks into my workflow fastest and most reliably, minimises the time spent on the app (rather managing tasks) whilst showing me what’s going on without having to flick between Today & Upcoming or setup multiple view windows on MacOS and iPadOS.

Deadlines view, yep I get it, however the kind of view I was talking about is this that shows at a glance what is going on.

On MacOS and iPad to get a unified task list of today and upcomming - open main window, set to today, put in right place. Then open second window, put beside and choose upcomming. I have automated this on MacOS using BetterTouch tool & Mosaic (to get the specific monitor target correctly and reliably), but it isn’t foolproof, this level of complexity is what I’m talking about, I just want to see a unified list of Today and Upcoming without having to use tags that add yet more friction:

Quick entry is only one item, import from Reminders doesn’t let you save to today and using Siri will add to inbox if you don’t specify a date.

New task notifications in Today
I hadn’t noticed it going away, might need to re-test, agree this is an annoyance more than anything else, should be an option to disable.

Notifications / Deadline
Reminders doesn’t have the concept of a date for something and a notification, it’s one and the same. I think for me, a reminder on all tasks due on the day they are due is what I need. Hence the other point about having to set a due date and a deadline to get a notification (and I could be missing something).

No broader OS remind me about this and no Siri on MacOS
Yep Apple are absolutely to blame here without question, this is puzzling. I have played with the Things helper, however the workflow never quite stuck for me.

I’ve picked up a few things from your reply, so thanks for taking the time.

I fully expect this will be in my future also, I’ve fumbled from Todoist, OmniFocus, Any.Do (still have a soft spot), Reminders, Things, Microsoft Planner…and every other task management app. Without question, Things 3 has been the longest single uninterrupted period of task management app use I’ve had.

I have my fingers crossed that V4 could add some further options and Apple could open Siri on MacOS and the “remind me of this” feature more broadly.

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As did I, until a few days ago when I gave it a go, and realised it was indeed more universal than I thought. Sadly Things with Helper app with keyboard shortcut is highly limited and doesn’t work in most apps I’m using.

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I created a Shortcuts to show a unified list of upcoming tasks in Things, I use it when I do the weekly review.
I think it could help you (if I understood your needs correctly):

You can download it here: