Checkmark: Location Aware Reminders That Work [Review]

Geo-fencing. With their announcement of iOS 5 at WWDC 2011, Apple had everyone talking about it. Suddenly, being alerted to call home by the new Reminders app after leaving the office was reality. Unfortunately, when iOS 5 was released the reality was that while the feature worked (sometimes) it was cumbersome to use, and after the initial excitement wore off few people bothered to use it.

Now, thanks to Toronto developer Ryan Cash and the team at Snowman, the era of usable location aware reminders has finally arrived with the launch of Checkmark, billed as “the fastest way to remind yourself of all the things you have to do in your busy life.”

Sporting a beautifully designed and intuitive interface, Checkmark allows you to quickly create location or date/time based reminders in only 3 taps. And best of all, it works!

   

Do you ever want to be reminded to pick up milk when you’re near Costco? Checkmark can do that. Or do you want to be reminded to let the dog out 10 minutes after you arrive home? Checkmark can do that too. Basically, if you need to be reminded to do something at a certain location or time, Checkmark is the app for you.

After launching the app and answering a couple of quick setup questions, you are prompted to add one or more Locations by entering an address or point of interest, by using your current map location, or by importing an address from Contacts. You assign a name and icon to the location, and define the location radius for alerts to be triggered. That’s it, you’re done.

   

Once locations are created it’s a simple matter of tapping the location icon to see a list of all tasks for that location, or double-tapping to add a new reminder for that location. When creating a reminder, you have the option to delay the reminder for an amount of time after arriving, up to 1 hour.

   

Checkmark also allows you to create time-based reminders if you just want to be reminded to do a specific task at a specific time regardless of location.

One thing to note is that the app does not currently support the ability to create recurring reminders (i.e. remind me to water the lawn every weekday at 8:30 pm). I asked Ryan about this and he informed me that this feature is definitely on their radar and they are working to add this in a future release.

I’ve been using Checkmark since release in a variety of situations and have been very impressed with the app’s ease of use and reliable performance. I performed numerous tests of the location-based reminder function, and in every case the reminder triggered at the right place and the right time. Battery impact from having the background GPS active is minimal, even when multiple location-based reminders are configured, so this shouldn’t be cause for concern.

If you are looking for an excellent, easy to use location-aware reminders application, you should definitely take a look at Checkmark. It’s currently available for iPhone at the introductory price of $0.99 $2.99 in the App Store, so check it out.

What do you think? Is Checkmark the reminders app for you? Let us know in the comments.

Husband & Father. Apple, Music, Comics, Food, Travel, Wine, Tech, Space & Gadget lover. An IT generalist, X5 driver, Lost fan, and occasional Writer. Follow me on Twitter @swotam or App.net @swotam

  • Daniel

    Missing a few features, namely repeats, dates for location-based alerts and ability to search by intersection. Otherwise, works like a charm

  • Silverjunkie

    For me it didn’t work like it said. Had to refresh my location in order for it to “remind” me. A little disappointed as the Reminders app doesn’t work either for me.

  • http://www.ryantoyota.com/ Ryan

    I agree that the built-in Reminders app is clumsy to use for location-based reminders manually, but not if you create them with Siri. I find Siri to be even quicker than a three-tap process… when she understands me properly, that is. ;)

    One feature of Checkmark that looks really nice though is the ability to be reminded a certain amount of time AFTER you arrive somewhere. That’s pretty cool. I find with the reminders app I get reminded when I get close to my house, but then I’ll notice I also got an important email and check that, which bumps the reminder off of the lock screen and I forget about it.

    I think the deal breaker for me though will be if Checkmark has a way to create quick lists by pasting them in and creating new items for each line. For instance, my wife will often text me a list of grocery items to pick up, but there’s only one checklist app I have that will let me copy and paste the whole list and automatically break each line into its own checklist item. All the other apps paste the whole list in as one item. If this app splits the items, then I think it’d be worth the purchase for me.

  • swotam

    It doesn’t create lists like you describe, so it may not be right for you. I think the main advantage it has over the Apple Reminders app is the ability to easily add locations and time delay the notifications. In the Reminders app it’s a fairly cumbersome process involving quite a lot of taps and of course there’s no delay.

    And, for $0.99, it’s not like you’ll really regret the purchase in any case. A coffee at McDonalds costs more than that.

  • http://www.ryantoyota.com/ Ryan

    It’s not the cost that deters me. I agree that 99¢ isn’t much to ask for a useful app. I just have downloaded SO MANY checklist apps, that it’s getting ridiculous. I need one app that meets all my different needs, that’d be great. This sounds close. Perhaps they’ll add that feature at some point. I’ll add it to my AppShopper wishlist and watch the progress.

  • http://iPhoneInCanada.ca/ Mike McCormick

    Great review. Cool that you were able to speak with Ryan. For me the non-ability to do recurring tasks is a deal-breaker, and until then I’ll continue to use my current favourite task-management app – Astrid. But if this feature is added to a future update, I’ll definitely check it out again!

  • http://futurescheduler.appsicum.com/ Appsicum

    Hey guys you can also download the Location Alerts app (paid), it’s pretty cool.