A WWDC wishlist

We’re just days away from Apple announcing the new versions of their various operating systems, so it’s once again time for me to imagine someone at Apple reads this blog and actually cares about what I think.

My focus this year? Apple’s core apps.

As someone who uses iPads, an iPhone, a MacBook and an iMac, I’d really like Apple to upgrade their core built-in apps. Considering some of these have been there since day one, they really don’t play that well together.

Reminders & Notes

Why cover these together? Because I’d really like to see them become more integrated. Why can’t I insert a reminder into a note in Apple Notes? I can insert a checklist, but it has no relationship with the reminders in that app. Yes, I can drag an entire note into Reminders, but what if that note contains an entire project’s worth of information? Not exactly a specific reminder, eh?

It hurts to type this, but Evernote (one abandoned and uninstalled) is on to something with their implementation of tasks. You can can have tasks in any number of notes and you can also see them all gathered together in one place. How hard would it be for Apple to make Notes and Reminders work like this? They’ve already added tags into both apps. To me, this is the obvious next step.

Check off a reminder in Notes and it’s updated automatically in the Reminders app. Maybe a specific note could equate to a list in the Reminders app?

I like more Reminders options, too. Like being able to filter for all reminders that don’t have a date. Like being able to organise today’s reminders by list and importance. Like being able to colour-code tags to bring some clarity to any given view. Colour-coding of importance levels, too.

And please, for the love of all that is holy, can we have an option to not have a massive preview of a URL whenever a link is included? It’s just not necessary.

Since the last update to both apps, I’ve been using them so much more and while Reminders hasn’t completely replaced Todoist for me, I’m using it daily. Having Siri announce reminders into my AirPods Pro as I arrive at a location has saved my bacon more than once!

My dream outcome? Reminders totally replaces Todoist for me (no hate, but why use a third party app when the built-in solution from Apple works?). I’m not sure this will happen this year, but any iterative improvements might nudge me over the line to using Reminders for everything.

Notes has basically become my daily scratchpad at work and a repository of all important personal information. With some additional options when it comes to layout and formatting, including backlinks to other notes, this might be the only notes app I ever use.

Notes plus the Apple Pencil has been such a boost to my daily productivity it’s hard to put it into words. Anything that increases the functionality of the Apple Pencil will add a little glow to my heart.


Next Mail. I only use it for personal email, and it’s solid, but it could still be improved. For example, why can’t I turn an email in the Mail app into a reminder? Yes, there’s lots of drag and drop ways of doing this, but what about a keyboard shortcut or, god forbid, a button in the mail app? With a native link back to the email in question for good measure.

This helps avoid an email inbox full of flagged emails, which all have the same level of importance and just looks cluttered.


Calendar? Well, I actually use Fantastical, but they could catch up by adding better links to apps like Zoom and (some vomit in my mouth) MS Teams. Fantastical shows me what platform is going to be used in a given meeting very clearly and neatly. Fantastical also shows me date-specific reminders from Apple’s own Reminders app, while Apple seems to think knowing where to be and knowing what to do are completely unrelated concepts.

I’d use these apps a hell of a lot more if they were better integrated.

Sadly, I think we’re going to see a lot more emphasis on how the various OS’s look, rather than what they can do. But hope springs eternal, and we’ll know a lot more by Monday evening.

6 comments on “A WWDC wishlist

  1. Pingback: Apple Studio Display: What a beauty! – MacPsych

    • ethnicolor

      Well, we got some welcome improvements to Apple Mail, though they’re hardly ground-breaking. Unfortunately Notes didn’t get any love this year, though I find it’s 98% good for what I want. I believe it _will_ get better over time, however with native Apple apps you have to be in there for the long game. Most importantly, Apple Notes is the _native_ app, and its import/export options are great, so it’ll only die when Apple does; therefore I can trust it and my life’s information to always be there.

      I think the merging of customisable Lock Screens and Focus Modes is brilliant; it will drive the usage of both, IMHO. Focus modes are a faff to setup and switch between, but if you do so with a quick swipe-to-the-right, and have the Lock Screen visually change along with it, that ticks a box with me.

      I agree it would be good to have better integration between Notes and Reminders, and you have good ideas there. I tend to use Reminders for lists rather than time-sensitive or project tasks; grocery, errands, hardware, media. My beloved Things is for “real” to-do’s! However as I’m not working these days, I find myself using Reminders more and Things less, and I don’t like being between two apps like that. I can see myself using Reminders more in the future.

      My big wish for Apple is to just put a fraction more focus onto their native document scanning to really get edge-detection at 100% instead of 98%, and to enable OCR searching of all PDFs in Files/Finder, Notes. They’re so close, with great OCR-enabled searching in some notes and documents, and in Spotlight on macOS. However Spotlight on iOS and iPadOS often miss hits I know it should get.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hard agree with all of this! I really don’t want to spread my attention between two task management apps, so I’m afraid it’s back to Todoist for me, unless something magical happens to Reminders before the launch in September.

        I agree with you on Notes – it’s getting better and better all the time and is unrecognisable compared to a few years ago. That said, I need to share a lot of my notes with non-Mac users at work, so end up using Notes as a running notebook with the Apple Pencil, whereas anything more formal gets sorted in Craft.

        I’m intrigued by the Focus modes and might even return to using Mail for my work email if I can turn it on and off as needed, courtesy of a Focus mode. Nobody needs to see work email at the weekend! Similarly, could other non-Apple apps take advantage? Could Todoist be configured to only show me personal tasks in the evening? It has real potential to move our digital devices from being a source of stress to something a lot more helpful.


      • ethnicolor

        I don’t mind “IT stress”, it’s all part of the fun of these beautiful devices! Of course I did work in IT for 33 years…!


  2. ethnicolor

    And following up a week later, seems like Notes and Reminders did get a buff-up, they just didn’t get aired on the WWDC keynote. Reminders will now let you pin favourite lists to the top of the app, use rich text, templates are coming (a handy way to reuse packing lists!), you can group reminders by date or time, and the Today list will group tasks under Morning, Afternoon and Tonight.
    Notes will have new Smart Folders based on rules you specify, and QuickNote comes to iOS.

    Liked by 1 person

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