TextMinder: SMS Reminders and Notifications

Keeping track of future tasks – sometimes hours, days or months ahead – is a challenge for everyone. Little written notes can magically disappear, dedicated task management apps can seem overwhelming for such a purpose and managing everything within iCal? Well, apart from looking cluttered at some point, it’s not always good to have private stuff on that screen when someone else looks over your shoulder.

One solution to your worries could be TextMinder, an iPhone and iPod touch app that sends you mobile reminders (short messages) to help you keep track of things.

Will It Work With Your Carrier?

Before you decide to purchase TextMinder, you need to make sure it works with your carrier. After all, what TextMinder does is send an email to your phone number (eg. [email protected]) and then your carrier will forward you a notification of that email via SMS or MMS.

While the TextMinder service is free (after the initial purchase of the app itself), your carrier might charge you for their part of the message delivery. If you are an iPod touch user, don’t be disappointed: since you can specify any phone number (preferably your own, of course), you can also use the application on the iPod touch and have the app send notifications to your mobile phone.

Setting up the forwarding service with your carrier can be as easy as logging into their online portal with your number (for German O2 customers: you have to enable this functionality in the O2 communications center), or you may have to call your carrier and ask them to do it if you don’t find the options yourself (that’s what I did).

Getting Started

Once you’ve downloaded TextMinder from the App store and opened it after installation, you will be prompted with an easy setup screen. As a new user, enter your phone number, pick your carrier and select your time zone. Existing users can log in via a separate “Login” screen.

Setting up TextMinder

Setting up TextMinder

Assuming you have already enabled the message delivery on the carrier side as described above, you can now go ahead and create your reminders.

Creating Reminders

You can set the specific text that will be displayed (eg. “Call lawyer” or “Pick up kid from school”), adjust the time of the reminder and decide whether it’s going to repeat or not.

Creating a Reminder

Creating a Reminder

A very convenient button is “Clear Reminder Text” above the message entry field. If you decide halfway through your typing you want to change the subject, you can clear that field without any hassle. Unfortunately, landscape mode for the keyboard is not yet supported, but the developer let me know it’s on the agenda.

The reminder time is easy to configure, but the real strength of TextMinder lies in the “Repeat Type” section: if you have used iCal or the calendar app so far to keep track of things, you will know that the repeat settings are somewhat limited (there are exactly five settings). Even the alarm clock on your iDevice doesn’t give you too many options when it comes to repeat alarms.

With TextMinder, you can choose between as many as ten different repeat settings, ranging from hourly up to yearly. Especially convenient are the differentiations into weekdays and weekends as well as “bidaily”, “biweekly” or “bimonthly” (every second day/week/month).

Setting times and repeats

Setting times and repeats

Web Interface

If, for whatever reason, you don’t have your iPod touch or iPhone handy to set a future reminder, you can always log into the web interface of TextMinder and set up your reminders there.

Overview of reminders on the web interface

Overview of reminders on the web interface

Create a reminder via web interface

Create a reminder via web interface

All your reminders are listed on the web as well as on your device and, when a notification has been sent, there will be an email in your email account provided by your carrier (so don’t forget to go there from time to time and clean out).

Managing reminders on your phone or iPod is as easy as pressing the plus sign for adding or swiping your finger across a reminder to delete it (you can also do so via the Edit button on the top left):

Reminders

Reminders

Conclusion

TextMinder is easy to set up and provides a handy way of reminding yourself of tasks without having to clutter up iCal or utilize a full blown task manager. It beats having a plain list of tasks, since they won’t necessarily proactively remind you of things.

By delivering SMS and MMS messages, TextMinder makes it also much harder to ignore an alarm – something that’s very easy to do with an iCal reminder or a simple to-do list.


Summary

TextMinder allows you to schedule SMS text reminders to be sent to you at the times you specify, repeating as often as you choose.

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