Review - Memento

Over my many years of using iOS, I’ve worked my way through pretty much every To Do app on the market. So far, I think the only one I haven’t tried is Omnifocus because no one needs that much planning in their life. Please don’t email me …

When I try a new app or service, it usually lasts a few weeks, at most, before I start looking elsewhere. Throughout this time, however, one service has always been there, just hanging out in the background, ready to welcome me back with open arms. That service being Apple Reminders. Reminders is, of course, a default app on iOS, but it’s also an underlying framework that third party developers can also hook into and, essentially, create new front-end UIs for. For the last few months I’ve been using the fantastic GoodTask 3. GoodTask 3 sits on top of the Reminders framework and adds a whole slew of power user features. One of the things I’ve been loving about GoodTask 3 is the fact you can make your setup within the app as complicated, or as basic, as you need.

While the Reminders app itself has been quite stagnant for some time now, the third party app ecosystem that utilises the framework has been thriving. One such app, Reminder, was recently re-launched and re-branded to Memento, as part of their 3.0 update, so I thought I’d give it a try.

The app utilises a fairly unique UI for an iOS task manager app, but it will be very familiar to users of the iOS Home app. The Home apps interface has been critised by some over the years and, while I do like the look of it, it doesn’t deal with scale all that well. I currently have about 20 HomeKit accessories hooked up to the Home app, across Lights, Camera’s and Apple TVs etc. and it can get quite difficult to find what you’re looking for. This design within a To Do app, however, is pretty intriguing.

When you fire up the app for the first time you’re presented with a Permissions screen so the app can have access to the Reminders data / framework, notifications, location (both when in use and always), contacts and Siri. These are all standard things for an app of this kind to request access to, but this section is worth calling out here because it doesn’t just contain the toggle to approve or deny the request, but each section includes a short, yet detailed, description about why the app is asking for this access. This is definitely a practice I wish more apps would embrace.

Once you’ve approved, or denied, whatever areas you’re happy to, you’re presented with a clean UI with four tabs along the bottom. The first, Lists, looks very similar to the stock Reminders app in that it, as you’d imagine given the name, it displays the various Lists you have setup in Reminders. From here, you can choose your list and dive right in to see the reminder items contained within in. The main purpose of this view, however, is to create new lists, via the small + at the top of the page.

Next up, there’s a For You tab. This one provides the more traditional view of your reminder items, grouped up by day. This is the area that, to me, most closely mirrors the Home app interface, with each item occupying a small square under each day heading. You can see the task itself along with a tick box to complete the task, the date and time it’s due and also a colour-coded dot for the list it’s contained within. It’s all very simple, yet very intuitive and almost zen-like. This view is purely for viewing and completing tasks. You can’t actually create any here.

We then move onto the Reminders tab. This one is a bit of a combination of the first two tabs. You see a view of your various due tasks, with and without due dates, but they are now grouped under headings for each of your lists. This is the most information dense and functional screen within the app, and one I usually spend most of my time in. You can view, edit, complete and most importantly create new reminder items here. The plus symbol, used to create new tasks, is colour coded to the list colour, which is a small but aesthetically pleasing touch.

The final section will take you to the Settings section. This contains exactly what you’d expect, but there are a few areas worth calling out here. Firstly, the app has a robust Dark Mode, which you can activate here, along with the corresponding dark custom icon. You can not only configure the Dark Mode for the app, but you can also opt to turn on a similar effect for notifications and iMessage, which is a nice touch. Another important section here is the Time Presets section, which lets you define, you’ve guessed it, time presets! Here, you can set preset due times and give them names such as ‘This Evening’ for tasks you want to set to X time in the evening, or Next Week etc. This adds a lot of function and power to what is, generally speaking, a fairly light and simplistic experience. The final important area of the Settings tab is the Action area which lets you choose which actions you’d like to enable for each task. Some of the includes actions are ‘Complete’ to mark the task as done, and ‘Move to Tonight’ or ‘Snooze for X minutes’ etc.

The time presets, along with the Actions, give Memento just enough power user features for me, personally, whilst still maintaining a nice, simple and almost relaxing to do app experience. This is a fine line to tread and one that GoodTask 3 can often cross, leaning more on the complex side, for many first time users. For me, I’m still in the experimental phase with Memento and I’m currently unsure if this will end up being my replacement for GoodTask which is, to be honest, not an app I’ve been actively trying to replace. I’ve been very happy with GoodTask, but I’m enjoying the breath of fresh air Memento brings. Once again, the joy of using the Reminders framework is that I have the luxury of switching up my app, every day if I wished, without losing any of my tasks or setup which really takes the headache out of an addiction for trying new apps.

While I am, generally speaking, very impressed with this lightweight app, there is just one area I would like to see improvements on. The app does feature 3D Touch functionality, but the widget that appears when you do this, and which you see when you swipe across from the homescreen, is a little strange. When the widget is active, but minmised, you get a basic view that gives you a total count of location based tasks, overdue tasks and upcoming tasks. This isn’t a hugely helpful view. If you hit ‘show more’ you do, however, see the more familiar Home app style view of up to 9 upcoming tasks which you can mark off directly from within the app. This widget would be far more helpful if you could also add tasks here as well.

Seeing as the app relies on the Reminders framework, Siri integration is great within the app. You can use the standard Siri phrasing to add new reminders which will instantly show within the app, which is an underrated but great aspect of using Reminders as your back-end. Memento allows you to tie the app into Shortcuts as well. It’s nice to see apps continue to take advantage of this aspect of iOS 12.

If the Reminders functionality is enough for your To Do needs, but you’re a bit tired of the dated and bland look of the Reminders app proper, I would definitely recommend giving Memento a try. I’m certainly enjoying using it and will continue to experiment with it over the coming weeks and months.