Google Tasks vs Reminders: Which To-Do App Should You Use on iOS

When it comes to managing to-dos on iOS, you already have Reminders baked into your iPhone and iPad. But if you are on the lookout for something different, then Google Tasks is one of the popular alternatives on the App Store.

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And just like with all Google apps, Tasks is meant to shine on Apple’s mobile operating system.

But how do Reminders and Google Tasks stack against each other on iOS? Is it worth ditching Apple’s offering in favor of Google’s? Time to take a closer look and find out.

How They Look

Both Reminders and Google Tasks are quite different in terms of aesthetics. Reminders seemingly has that typical iOS design flair to it, with paper textured lists — akin to the Notes app — featuring big and bold headings that you can easily switch to.

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Google Tasks, on the other hand, sports Google’s now wide-spread Material Design 2.0. Easy navigation controls at the bottom of the app ensures better one-handed usage compared to Reminders. Switching between lists via the hamburger menu, for example, feel easier on iPhones with larger screen sizes.

Lists Matter

Both Reminders and Google Tasks let you manage lists quite easily. Creating new lists from scratch (or deleting them) is seamlessly implemented.

And as mentioned earlier, Reminders features all your lists prominently within the main interface itself, while Tasks requires that you use a menu to access them. It's a clash between instant visibility of your lists versus the convenience of single-handed usage.

That aside, things do get interesting with Reminders. You can switch between various colors for your list headings for organizing your lists and items in a better way.

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And then there's the Scheduled list, which is a master list of sorts that features scheduled to-dos taken from every other list. That contrasts sharply with Google Tasks, which requires you to check the lists for anything that you may have scheduled individually. Yes, you rely primarily on notifications, but it's always nice to see what’s on the table at a glance.

And if you use iOS’s Family Sharing feature, you also have a separate list that you can easily share with your family members. Just add whatever you want into the Family list, and they should sync over to everyone else seamlessly. Cool stuff.

Dealing With To-Dos

When it comes to creating to-dos, both Reminders and Tasks make it pretty simple to do that. With Reminders, just hit the ‘+’-shaped icon, type what you want, and you are good to go. With Google Tasks, that huge Add a New Task button lets you create to-dos in a jiffy.

Both apps also provide the ability to add notes to your to-dos, specify times to receive notifications, and even set certain tasks to recur (hourly, daily, weekly, etc.). Reminders also provides an option that lets you prioritize to-dos, which makes for a nice touch.

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But this is where Reminders actually has a superior advantage over Tasks — location-based reminders. And with that feature, you can specify the app to notify you of a to-do whenever you enter or leave a location. It’s super-easy to set up, and works phenomenally well.

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And the possibilities are pretty much endless. You can, for example, set a reminder for your shopping list to show up whenever you are in the vicinity of your local supermarket. Phenomenal.

Siri Support

Siri entirely integrates Reminders. If you hate typing, you can tell Siri to add your to-dos quite easily either by using the 'Hey Siri' voice command or after activating it manually.

And you can also ask her to do just about anything that you would normally do otherwise — setting recurring tasks, adding location-based reminders, etc.

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When it comes to Google Tasks, the lack of support for Siri really hurts. Aside from asking her to open the app for you, you need to do everything else yourself.

Note: For location-based reminders to work via Siri voice commands, you need to save whatever locations that you want to include as contacts first via the Contacts app.

Supported Platforms

With Reminders, you are restricted to the Apple ecosystem (iOS and macOS), and no support for Android. However, you can access Reminders from any desktop via iCloud.com if you don't mind the general sluggishness of the user interface.

With Reminders, you are effectively restricted to the Apple ecosystem — iOS and macOS

With Google Tasks, you can access your list of to-dos from pretty much any device. It has a dedicated app for Android which is integrated into Google Calendar on desktop. And yes, Google Calendar is also a web app, but it's far more polished and easy to use compared to iCloud.com.

And the Winner Is ...?

As you saw, Reminders beats Google Tasks solidly in terms of the features that it offers. But in the end, all depends on what you prefer.

If you like Apple’s approach to-do management, such as the nifty location-based notifications, tight integration with Siri, etc., then Reminders is the obvious fit. Or if you want something more simplistic, and has widespread availability on multiple platforms, then Google Tasks is the way to go.

So, what did you ultimately decide to settle with? Drop in a comment and let us know.

Next up: Did you know that Microsoft also has its task management app on iOS? Check out how it stacks against Reminders.

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Reminders vs Microsoft To-Do: Which Reminder App Is the Best for iPhone
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Dilum Senevirathne has written about tech and finance for over five years. When he isn’t messing around with the latest iOS apps, you can catch him tweaking a collection of IoT gadgets. Dilum is a management accounting student and a prospective charterholder.