Siri’s Proactive features in iOS 9 let you do so much more, and in a more intelligent fashion than ever before. In addition to suggesting apps, people, locations and more when you use Spotlight Search, iOS 9 also lets you ask Siri to actually create context-aware reminders for what you’re looking at on the screen of your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.
Asking to be reminded about things you’re looking at in apps like Safari, Mail and Notes that you want to follow up on later can be a tremendous productivity boost.
The feature is a great time-saver when you cannot currently deal with what you’re doing right now, and would like to get reminded about it at a later stage, but are too lazy to create a reminder yourself. Here’s how it works.
“Hey Siri, remind me about this”
You just press and hold the Home button while using an app to tell Siri “Remind me about this” or “Remember this later”. And just like that, she creates an entry in the Reminders app accompanied by the app name and tappable icon. These reminders are stored in your default Reminders list, as set in Settings → General → Reminders → Default List.
Even better, tapping on an app icon in a reminder takes you back straight to the piece of content you interacted with prior to creating the reminder.
These app reminders lack due times because iOS currently lacks the option to specify default alert times for Reminders (unlike default alert times for Calendar events, which can be set in Settings → Mail, Contacts, Calendars → Default Alert Times).
However, you can tell Siri to create timed alerts by saying, ”Remind me about this tonight,” “Remind me about this tomorrow at 7pm,” “Remind me about this email Friday at noon” or some such. Sure enough, she’ll create a reminder with the appropriate due time.
You can even say “Remind me about this when I get home” or “Remind me about this when I get in the car” in order to create a location-aware reminder about whatever you may be viewing on your iPhone.
The latter example is especially significant in the context of the Maps app. Say you’re looking at a place in Maps you want to stop at later. Simply ask for a reminder when you get to your car and that’s it!
Supported Apple apps
Here are Apple’s apps that Siri can remind you about:
- Calendar—remembers your currently selected day or Calendar event
- Clock—remembers your place in World Clock, Alarm, Stopwatch and Timer
- Contacts—takes you back to a person’s contact card
- iBooks—remembers the book you were reading and the exact position
- Health—remembers your specific place in Dashboard, Health Data, Sources or Medical ID tabs
- Mail—loads the last viewed message
- Maps—get reminded about places, locations and more
- Messages—takes you to the last message in a conversation
- Notes—takes you back to the exact place in a note
- Numbers—takes you back to the last edited document
- Pages—takes you back to the last edited document
- Phone—remembers your tab position (Favorites, Recents, Contacts, Keypad or Voicemail) or the currently selected contact card or phone number from your calls log
- Podcasts—remembers your current position in a podcast
- Reminders—get back to a list in Reminders quickly
- Safari—loads a webpage you viewed when creating a reminder
Unsupported Apple apps
Unsupported Apple apps are as follows:
- AirPort Utility
- App Store
- Apple Store
- Find My iPhone
- Find My Friends
- Game Center
- iCloud Drive
- iTunes Store
- iTunes U
- Voice Memos
In addition to stock apps, “Remind me about this” also works in third-party applications that have been updated to take advantage of new iOS 9 technologies, namely deep app linking also known as universal links.
The magic of universal links
Though I’m just speculating here, my testing has proven that any third-party application which supports universal links also works with “Remind me about this”. Universal links allow iOS to send a user to a specific point or piece of content within an app and are extensively used in iOS 9’s much enhanced Spotlight Search.
A good example is Fourquare’s main iOS app, which has just been updated with support for iOS 9 and Spotlight Search. Before the update, you couldn’t ask Siri to remind you about anything in Foursquare. But now, any piece of content accessible through the app can be linked back to a reminder.
Say you tapped on your favorite restaurant in the Foursquare app. If you ask Siri to create a reminder, you can later on tap the Foursquare icon in the reminder to be taken right to that restaurant’s page.
But if you tell Siri “Remind me about this” on the main Foursquare screen with no point of interest selected, you’ll be out of luck.
The long story short, apps that have not implemented iOS 9’s universal links won’t work with “Remind me about this.” For example, launching YouTube for iOS, tapping any video and asking Siri to remind you about this will yield a “Sorry, I can’t remind you about the YouTube app” message for YouTube currently lacks support for universal links.
Indeed, if Siri tells you “Sorry, I can’t remind you about the [APP NAME],” that means that either the app in question does not support universal links or that you haven’t opened a piece of content within the app that you want to be reminded about.
How do you like this nifty little feature in iOS 9?