Apple Has Integrated the Reminders App Into Calendar. You'll Need to Know the Difference to Avoid Chaos

Knowing how to separate tasks and events, which isn’t as common as we may think, is key to preventing a chaotic app that detracts rather than adds value.

A mockup of the Reminders app.
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One of the features rumored before WWDC 2024 but not announced during Apple’s keynote on Monday is the integration of the Reminders app into Calendar. They’re still separate apps, but Reminders is now integrated into Calendar. Yes, it’s something that Microsoft and Google did a long time ago.

This change will be released in iOS 18 and macOS 15 Sequoia. Users will be able to view and manage pending tasks from the Calendar app along with events. It’s no surprise that this integration is only applicable to Apple’s native apps. However, it does raise an interesting question about how we organize our day-to-day activities using tasks and events.

Why it matters. Until now, Calendar and Reminders were separate apps. If you wanted to have a complete view of your schedule, you had to jump from one to the other. Apple has integrated them in a way that feels just right, allowing them to interact and sync.

Beyond convenience, this move underscores the subtle but crucial difference between two often-confused concepts: tasks and events.

Explaining the difference:

  • Tasks are things we need to do, actions we need to complete, including sending an email, filing a tax return, making a doctor’s appointment, or changing your car battery. These go into Reminders (or any other to-do list app).
  • Events is what happens at a specific time, things we need to attend in person or digitally, including a work meeting, a doctor’s appointment, a birthday, or a soccer match. These go into Calendar.

It may seem obvious, but people often mix up tasks and events without using a clear distinction. Plus, they sometimes assign dates to all our “just in case” tasks or tasks that we don’t want to forget. However, this can lead to unnecessary stress and frustration.

As a matter of fact, not all tasks are urgent or have a natural deadline.

When should you assign dates to tasks? You should only do so in only two cases:

  1. When it’s necessary to finish a task before a specific day, such as filing your federal income tax return before April 15.
  2. When a task is part of a project plan, and you’ve decided to dedicate a specific day to that task, like spending Thursday afternoon writing the first draft of a report.

For the rest of your tasks (including shopping, running errands, pending readings, and calls to be made), it’s best to keep them in thematic lists without dates. Instead, set aside some time daily or weekly to review and make progress on these tasks. Overloading your schedule with unnecessary deadlines is counterproductive.

I don’t strictly follow the GTD (Getting Things Done) method–which preaches that the more information you keep track of mentally, the less productive you are– but I appreciate and share the principle.

Tips for integrating reminders and calendars either using Apple’s or third-party apps:

  1. Use the calendar to get an overview of your day, including fixed appointments and important tasks.
  2. Schedule specific blocks of time in your calendar for focused work on particular tasks. This is known as time blocking.
  3. Only assign a specific time to your reminders when it’s relevant. For example, set a reminder to “buy concert tickets at 8 p.m.” if that’s when they go on sale and you’re concerned they might sell out.
  4. Create lists in the reminders app based on different projects or areas (such as Personal, Work, Home, Health) and review them daily or weekly.

Use the tasks app to manage your tasks. Your calendar is meant for viewing events, not for managing tasks.

Final thoughts. The integration of the Reminders app into Calendar is a positive step forward in helping us have a more realistic view of our time. However, to make the most of this integration in a meaningful way, it’s important to understand the distinction between tasks and events. And believe me when I say not everyone does.

It’s not just about optimizing your time, but also about making sense of it.

Image | Guille Lomener using Mockuuups Studio

Related | All the New Features in iOS 18: An Unmistakable Taste of Android in a System That Finally Brings AI to iPhone

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