Get timely, location-based reminders on your iPhone

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(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY I'm a huge fan of task lists and reminders - I get through every work day by compiling a list of all the to-dos and tasks I need to accomplish each morning when I arrive in the office. Getting timely reminders on my iPhone is equally valuable, but sometimes I need to know to do something not based on when the event happens, but where the event happens. Follow these directions, and you can get just such location-appropriate reminders on your iPhone as well.

If you have an iPhone 4 or higher (running the latest OS 5), you can turn on location-based reminders to get prodded about relevant events and activities when you arrive at or leave specific places. The ability to do this is pretty well hidden, though - you'll have to throw a few switches on your iPhone to make it work.

For starters, if you haven't used iCloud yet, you'll need to start. You certainly don't have to store all of your iPhone's data in the cloud, but you do need to enable iCloud's Reminders feature. To do that, tap the Settings icon and then tap iCloud. Log into iCloud, and then set Reminders to "On."

Now start the Reminders app. Reminders might be configured to create Outlook tasks in Microsoft Exchange, so the first thing you should do is tap the list button in the upper left corner and choose iCloud Reminders, rather than Exchange Tasks.

Now you're all set to start making location-aware tasks. Tap the screen and add a reminder. Tap the entry to go to the reminder's Details page. Tap "Remind Me," where you can choose to be reminded "On a Day" or "At a Location." Tap "At a Location."

If you want the reminder to occur at the location you are currently at, just choose "When I Leave" or "When I Arrive," and you're done. If you want to choose a different location, tap the "Current Location" and choose an address from your contacts list.

The initial setup might take a few minutes, but after it's operational, I think you'll find it's a powerful way to get just-in-time reminders about your to-dos in a way that keeps your task list uncluttered and highly efficient.

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