Apple's iOS 18 to streamline task management with unified events and reminders

Posted:
in iOS edited May 14

Apple is testing improvements that will allow iPhone and Mac users to more intuitively manage their numerous Reminders and Calendar events with iOS 18 and macOS 15, AppleInsider has learned.

A concept image showing Calendar app on macOS with Reminders integration. The Calendar and Reminders icons are on one side.
Apple Calendar and Reminders get tighter integrations with macOS 15 and iOS 18



In particular, people familiar with pre-release versions of iOS 18 say Apple's core Calendar and Reminders applications are finally able to talk to each other, solving the years-old annoyance of having to juggle screen time between both apps in order to manage often-related tasks.

Manage events and reminders -- all from one app



A new-and-improved version of Calendar, slated to roll out as part of iOS 18 and macOS 15 later in 2024, will include a new feature that will let users schedule and organize reminders directly from within the Calendar app, without the need to launch the standalone Reminders app.

A mockup showing a right-click action in a Calendar view
Add reminders directly from the Calendar app interface



Tapping or right-clicking an area within the Day, Week, or Month views in pre-release versions of the new Calendar app will reveal an option that prompts the user to either set a reminder or schedule an event. Both can be scheduled from the same UI element, allowing for greater convenience.

When adding a reminder through the Calendar application, users will be able to select a title and add a note or tag to their reminder, as a way of describing it or making it easier to locate.

Reminders created via the default Calendar app will behave similarly to those made with Apple's built-in Reminders application. The Calendar app will include options to select a specific date, time, and location for new reminders, along with a priority setting.

As Apple intends to integrate both apps, reminders made through the updated Calendar application also appear in pre-release versions of the new Reminders app. In internal versions of Apple's operating systems, all reminder-related notifications are tied to the Reminders app -- even reminders created through Calendar.

A mockup showing scheduled reminders alongside calendar events
Toggle inclusion of Reminders in Calendar from the sidebar



Alongside reminders integration, the Calendar application is expected to receive minor design alterations. In the Today view, numbers that denote hours within a day will become slightly larger than in previous versions, according to people familiar with the matter.

These improvements to Calendar and Reminders are expected to join a host of other enhancements to Apple's new operating systems designed to help keep its users on track and make them more productive.

Not quite a Sherlock



Apple has a history of Sherlocking ideas from third-party applications as well as features from rival products and services, operating system extensions, jailbreak tweaks, and much more. These base applications improve slowly, and while some features are borrowed from other apps, they won't always mean the end of competition.

A screenshot of Fantastical calendar on iPad
Fantastical goes above and beyond simple calendar and reminders integrations



One excellent third-party app made by Flexibits is called Fantastical. It utilizes Apple's iCal and Reminders integrations to combine both tools into one app with a pile of features on top.

While the intersection of reminders and events is one of the tentpole features, Fantastical and apps like it will hardly be threatened by Apple's latest feature update. Instead of calling this a Sherlock, it's more of a "finally," as integrating the two is obvious low hanging fruit.

Apple's push into AI with iOS 18 could prove to be a bigger threat to Fantastical. While the latest information on the company's plans doesn't include information about AI capabilities in Calendar, it would be another obvious next step to add natural language entry to the app.

Unless Apple does that, Fantastical will still stand strong as a powerful third-party option with natural language processing, meeting app integrations, and other useful tools.

AppleInsider has covered other potential software updates that pose a bigger threat to third-party apps than this Calendar and Reminders integration. Those include Intelligent Browsing in Safari, Voice Notes, and an upgraded Calculator.

Making the defaults better



Calendar first started its life under the name iCal, as a free download for macOS 10.2 Jaguar and later became a default system application with the release of macOS 10.3 Panther in 2003. The default application has offered a base set of actions fit for most users and gave third-party developers a launch pad for designing even better tools.

A screenshot of the current Calendar app on iPadOS
Calendar on iPad has plenty of space for the incoming Reminders integration



The information provided by those familiar with Apple's upcoming operating systems isn't all encompassing and lacks access to APIs and server-side tools that will be integrated for the public launch. As of now, there is no way of knowing what AI capabilities could be integrated in Reminders or Calendar.

Apple appears to be focusing on building on-device AI models that can take advantage of the powerful Apple Silicon processors while providing private and secure tools. How these models work and interact with the system apps won't be known until after WWDC in June.

With all of the news surrounding AI models and what to expect from Apple's developer conference, it is refreshing to hear about something as straightforward as melding two core apps together. The tighter integration will likely enable some users to operate more efficiently when planning since all tasks will be visible in a single UI in Calendar.

WWDC is only a little more than a month away and there's a lot of details still to be seen. Apple will reveal iOS 18, iPadOS 18, macOS 15, tvOS 18, watchOS 11, and visionOS 2 during the packed event -- not to mention a mountain of new AI tools.

Rumor Score: Likely

Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,539member
    Finally! Woo hoo.
    gregoriusmOnPartyBusinesswilliamlondonbyronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 20
    jellyapplejellyapple Posts: 116member
    I long for it for over two decades, something totally integrated in Outlook in the old days.
    edited May 1 byronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 20
    araquenaraquen Posts: 11member
    If this is true, it means that Apple reads their feedback. 

    The reason this isn’s a “Sherlock” of Fantastical is because the reminders are in-line, which is a huge distinction for some. While Fantastical does keep reminders paced with your day, for those of us who are visual, having the reminders visually present on the day, and to see how your tasks and requirements (meetings) interact is huge.

    My favorite calendar of all time was the calendar Palm put out for the Mac. On the weekly view, the reminders were listed at the bottom of each day’s column. It was a great way for me to juggle my work, and be able to figure out deadlines. Or be able to see if a meeting request is going to interfere with a task deliverable.

    Apple’s current offering is a great “executive view” lifestyle, but is not good for “ground level.” Executives don’t have tasks the way the rest of us do. Executives delegate. So of course you want a clean calendar - you have other people managing the day-to-day and all you need to do is c collect updates from your own team meetings.

    Now Apple needs to allow us to manage calendars in other ways than just creating a new calendar. Back to the Palm calendar, I had to manage multiple projects simultaneously, so used categories (tags) to organize my calendar, since these projects had their own timelines. These categories were color-coded, and allowed me to visually see which project was on deck at any given time. The current calendar model homogenizes what I track and makes it very hard to coordinate timetables and tasks across projects, whereas the Palm calendar made this super easy.

    We have a lot of amazing calendar solutions, but none of them come close to the absolute joy the old Palm calendar was. 
    dewmegregoriusmAlex1NbyronlAlex_Vwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 20
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,859member
    We’ll see. 
    I use Calendar a lot. Reminders? No. Every couple or three years there’s a big upgrade and I try it again. Every time after a few days I remember why I hate Reminders and stop using it. To be fair though, at work they have Outlook which has a reminders section, they call it Tasks. I don’t use that either. 
    dewmebyronlAlex1N
  • Reply 5 of 20
    AfarstarAfarstar Posts: 59member
    Would be much better to integrate both apps so the reminders on the Calender app work better. 
    williamlondonwatto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 6 of 20
    dymmasdymmas Posts: 35member
    This is absolutely a godsend. I won’t name the calendar app I subscribe to (as it is very solid) but the only reason I pay the regular subscription is for its ability to integrate tasks with calendars. 

    I’ve been wanting this for years from Apple - finally!!
    gregoriusmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 20
    CheeseFreezeCheeseFreeze Posts: 1,297member
    Apple Calendar falls short once you work at a company. 
    Google Suite is amazing and has calendar features not present on Apple Calendar, especially when working in teams. Similarly, Teams (not so great) is designed around working together. 

    Which makes me not use Apple Calendar, because it isn’t aware of any integrations - it’s a ‘dumb’ calendar.

    That’s the problem with everything they make; Pages, Numbers, Files, Mail, etc… it’s all designed around Joe Schmo who occasionally adds his wife to an Apple Note.
      
    williamlondonAlex1N
  • Reply 8 of 20
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,539member
    DAalseth said:
    We’ll see. 
    I use Calendar a lot. Reminders? No. Every couple or three years there’s a big upgrade and I try it again. Every time after a few days I remember why I hate Reminders and stop using it. To be fair though, at work they have Outlook which has a reminders section, they call it Tasks. I don’t use that either. 
    My thoughts exactly. I keep going back to Reminders hoping that they have made it more compelling for my personal use, but so far it doesn't really buy me anything that I cannot get with Calendar, which makes it feel redundant. There is definitely a market for this type of product and for those who need more support for task management based on Getting Things Done (GTD) and other methodologies, as OmniFocus and others show us at sometimes fairly steep prices and, egad, subscriptions.

    I think Apple's Reminders app follows a similar model as many of Apple's other built-in or default apps. They work well enough to do the basics of what an app in its category should do, but they don't go much beyond that or ever stand out from the competition. In most cases several third party software vendors who operate in the same app space as Apple have much better apps for sale that far exceed the basic functionality of Apple's offering. I personally think this is intentional because it allows room for third parties to play in Apple's ecosystem. Of course Apple gets a cut of the action, and they can limit what is allowed to avoid polluting their runtime environments or sacrificing privacy and security. Apple is entitled to set standards because they are the store owner, they built it on their own dime, and they are responsible for keeping the store open, highly available, a pleasant shopping experience, and as free of malware, spyware, and security breaches as they possibly can. 
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 20
    Deeper integration with Mail would be great too! Mail and Thunderbird are all in one - it doesn’t have to be like that, but makes sense for Mail to tie in more closely with those apps (eg, flagged emails might form reminders or Calendar might suggest events based on emails that land in the inbox (like flight itineraries, which Gmail does really well)).
    edited May 1 Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 20
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 2,390member
    Deeper integration with Mail would be great too! Mail and Thunderbird are all in one - it doesn’t have to be like that, but makes sense for Mail to tie in more closely with those apps (eg, flagged emails might form reminders or Calendar might suggest events based on emails that land in the inbox (like flight itineraries, which Gmail does really well)).
    It would be good if you could dock two windows of different apps together so day to day you know if they moved they were together. You then have your own productivity suite using your own choice of calendar mail, chat, word processor etc,
    watto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 11 of 20
    williamlondonwilliamlondon Posts: 1,379member
    This is good news. Used Fantastical but that is just a shell over the two, lately been using the two in split screen mode which is okay but would be very nice and convenient to be able to control both events and reminders in the same app.

    Good one.
    dewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 20
    Woo! Can’t wait for this to come along. Although can’t help but notice this Sherlock’s a lot more than Fantastical. ReminderCal for a start is a utility that does this - and this only. Google Calendar is another one. 
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 20
    imatimat Posts: 213member
    Now if I could also easily tell Siri in which calendar to put something, it would be great. As a construction manager and a person with different activities I have:
    - one calendar per each construction site (also useful for invoicing)
    - one private calendar
    - one calendar for my daughters
    - one calendar for each of my other activities

    So, when I tell siri "put this thing in my calendar for the next week at X o'clock" I would also like to be able to tell it to which calendar...

    OferAlex_Vwilliamlondonwatto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 14 of 20
    With BusyCal it has been possible to integrate Reminders into the calendar view for ages: Timed reminders show up alongside calendar entries at the time when they are due, which is incredibly useful for my work style. BusyCal is a bit on the expensive side but extremely powerful (and also available for iOS/iPadOS), connecting to iCloud, Google, Office 365, and many more services. I'm not affiliated with BusyMac (the creators of BusyCal), just a very happy customer :-)

    Alex_Vwilliamlondonwatto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 15 of 20
    abridenabriden Posts: 28member
    I would suggest those that seek integration without the costly Fantastical subscription, check out Calendar 365 II. The menubar calendar and iPhone app are particularly effective and aesthetically balanced. 
    Alex_Vwilliamlondonwatto_cobraAlex1NCheeseFreeze
  • Reply 16 of 20
    XedXed Posts: 2,704member
    DAalseth said:
    We’ll see. 
    I use Calendar a lot. Reminders? No. Every couple or three years there’s a big upgrade and I try it again. Every time after a few days I remember why I hate Reminders and stop using it. To be fair though, at work they have Outlook which has a reminders section, they call it Tasks. I don’t use that either. 
    I also use Calendar but not Reminders, while heavily using Calendar to keep track of reoccurring items that are best set up in Reminders. Calendar is simply a better way to view and keep track of "reminders",  then I alter the name when it's complete and click the overlay to pull it out as a separate entry in Calendar, which keeps the future, reoccurring entires untouched.
  • Reply 17 of 20
    HedwareHedware Posts: 90member
    Who uses Reminders? Haven’t bothered for years.  
    williamlondon
  • Reply 18 of 20
    XedXed Posts: 2,704member
    Hedware said:
    Who uses Reminders? Haven’t bothered for years.  
    I know people that do. I'd like to, but only if they were integrated Into Calendar the right way.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 19 of 20
    mattinoz said:
    Deeper integration with Mail would be great too! Mail and Thunderbird are all in one - it doesn’t have to be like that, but makes sense for Mail to tie in more closely with those apps (eg, flagged emails might form reminders or Calendar might suggest events based on emails that land in the inbox (like flight itineraries, which Gmail does really well)).
    It would be good if you could dock two windows of different apps together so day to day you know if they moved they were together. You then have your own productivity suite using your own choice of calendar mail, chat, word processor etc,
    You can dock two windows together like that, whether on your iPad or using desktop spaces on your Mac (which Apple could make more versatile like they are on Windows - why limit to two full screen windows, why not four (one in each corner) or a half-quarter-quarter split?). The point I was making is that Mail could more closely tie into Calendar, and even Reminders, perhaps with extensions, so that more of those apps' functions are accessible from within Mail (ie, without having to switch apps). 
    edited May 29
  • Reply 20 of 20
    Yeah… fantastical HAD a fantastic app that I PAID FOR.

    But they removed that functionality and tried to charge me a subscription for something I already paid for.

    Flexibits is garbage. Just like any other company that trust to push the subscription model after selling/advertising something as perpetual to a customer.

    williamlondon
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