Speaking To-Dos with Siri

Last Updated: Sep 26, 2016 11:50AM CEST

You can use Siri to create new to-dos in Things by simply speaking. This page explains how it works.

You can enter to-dos in Things without typing – just speak to Siri. To-dos spoken to Siri are added to Apple’s Reminders app and shown for import in Things’ Inbox. Below we’ll explain how to enable this feature, and how best to use it.

Enabling This Feature

Mac
  1. On your Mac, open System Preferences > Siri and ensure that Siri is enabled (you must be running macOS 10.12 or later to see this option).
  2. Now open the Reminders app.
  3. In the menu bar at the top of your screen, click Reminders > Default List and choose a list. When you speak to Siri, this is the list your reminders will be saved in.
  4. Now open Things.
  5. In the menu bar at the top of your screen, click Things > Preferences....
  6. Click the Reminders & Siri tab.
  7. Check the box for Show reminders to enable it.
  8. If you’re prompted to allow access to your reminders, click OK.
  9. Click the dropdown box and choose a reminders list; you should choose the same list you set as your default above.
  10. If you’d like, you can also choose whether or not to include Time- or Location-based reminders (more on this below).
iPad
  1. On your iPad, open the Settings app.
  2. Go to Reminders > Default List.
  3. Choose which list you would like as your default. When you speak to Siri, this is the list your reminders will be saved in.
  4. Now open Things.
  5. Hold your iPad sideways, then tap > Reminders & Siri.
  6. Turn Show Reminders on.
  7. If you’re prompted to allow access to your reminders, tap OK.
  8. Tap into List and choose the same reminders list you chose above in step 2.
  9. In the top-left, tap Reminders & Siri to go back.
  10. If you’d like, you can also choose to show or hide Time- or Location-based reminders (more on this below).
  11. In the top-left, tap Settings > Done.
iPhone
  1. On your iPhone, open the Settings app.
  2. Go to Reminders > Default List.
  3. Choose which list you would like as your default. When you speak to Siri, this is the list your reminders will be saved in.
  4. Now open Things.
  5. In the main Lists view, tap > Reminders & Siri.
  6. Turn Show Reminders on.
  7. If you’re prompted to allow access to your reminders, tap OK.
  8. Tap into List and choose the same reminders list you chose above in step 2.
  9. In the top left corner, tap Reminders & Siri to go back.
  10. If you’d like, you can also choose to show or hide Time- or Location-based reminders (more on this below).
  11. In the top left corner, tap Settings > Done.
Watch

Once you’ve enabled Reminders & Siri in Things on your Mac, iPad, or iPhone (by following the instructions in the corresponding tab above), reminders that you speak to Siri on your Apple Watch will show up for import in Things’ Inbox on those devices.

You can also open Things for Apple Watch with Siri and then dictate a new to-do by following these instructions.

Using Siri to Create a To-Do

Once you’ve got this feature enabled in Things, you can try it out. Here’s how it works:

Mac
  1. First, you tell Siri what it is you need to do. For example, you might say “Remember to buy milk” or “Remind me to buy milk”.
  2. This is automatically saved into Apple’s Reminders app as Buy milk, and is updated across all your Apple devices.
  3. When you open Things and look in the Inbox, you’ll see the item Buy milk listed at the top in a white box entitled From Reminders.
  4. Import the reminder, and you’ll see it move from the reminders list into Things.
  5. The new to-do is immediately sent to Things Cloud, and appears in Things on your Mac, iPad, and iPhone (the Apple Watch only shows today’s to-dos, so it won’t appear there unless you move it to Today).
iPad
  1. First, you tell Siri what it is you need to do. For example, you might say “Remember to buy milk” or “Remind me to buy milk”.
  2. This is automatically saved into Apple’s Reminders app as Buy milk, and is updated across all your Apple devices.
  3. When you open Things and look in the Inbox, you’ll see the item Buy milk listed at the top in a white box entitled From Reminders.
  4. Import the reminder, and you’ll see it move from the reminders list into Things.
  5. The new to-do is immediately sent to Things Cloud, and appears in Things on your Mac, iPad, and iPhone (the Apple Watch only shows today’s to-dos, so it won’t appear there unless you move it to Today).
iPhone
  1. First, you tell Siri what it is you need to do. For example, you might say “Remember to buy milk” or “Remind me to buy milk”.
  2. This is automatically saved into Apple’s Reminders app as Buy milk, and is updated across all your Apple devices.
  3. When you open Things and look in the Inbox, you’ll see the item Buy milk listed at the top in a white box entitled From Reminders.
  4. Import the reminder, and you’ll see it move from the reminders list into Things.
  5. The new to-do is immediately sent to Things Cloud, and appears in Things on your Mac, iPad, and iPhone (the Apple Watch only shows today’s to-dos, so it won’t appear there unless you move it to Today).
Watch

Quickly Speaking a Reminder to Import Later

You can speak a reminder to Siri on your Apple Watch. Later on, when you’re reviewing and filing new to-dos in Things on your Mac, iPad, or iPhone, you can import the reminders you spoke to your Apple Watch. Here’s how:

  1. First, you tell Siri what it is you need to do. For example, you might raise your wrist and say “Hey Siri, remember to buy milk”.
  2. This is automatically saved into Apple’s Reminders app as Buy milk, and is updated across all your Apple devices.
  3. When you open Things on any devices where you’ve enabled Reminders & Siri and look in the Inbox, you’ll see the item Buy milk listed at the top in a white box entitled From Reminders.
  4. Import the reminder, and you’ll see it move from the reminders list into Things.
  5. The new to-do is immediately sent to Things Cloud, and appears in Things on your Mac, iPad, and iPhone.

Opening Things and Dictating a New To-Do

You can open Things for Apple Watch with Siri and then create a to-do verbally in the app. Here’s how:

  1. Raise your wrist and say “Hey Siri, open Things”.
  2. Tap the + button.
  3. Dictate your to-do to Siri.
  4. The to-do will be sent to your Inbox so that you can review it later on your Mac, iPad, or iPhone. If you’d like to add the to-do to Today and immediately see it on your Apple Watch, tap Added to Inbox before it disappears.

It may be helpful to understand that we are merely displaying these reminders in Things’ Inbox; until you actually import them, they do not exist in your Things library as actual to-dos. Once you have imported a reminder, its corresponding item is conveniently deleted from the Reminders app – this keeps everything tidy.

Why does Things offer preferences for hiding reminders with alarms?

You may find that you want to use the Reminders app for two purposes:

  1. For reminding you to do things at a particular time or place;
  2. As a channel for sending to-dos into Things.

If you say to Siri, “Remind me tomorrow at 9 a.m. to buy milk”, Siri will set a notification for that time. If you say “Remind me to buy milk when I get home” a notification will be set for that location (a geofence) so that you can be reminded when you get there. And finally, if you simply say “Remember to buy milk”, it will create a to-do that does not have an alarm or notification of any kind.

By default, all these reminders you speak to Siri will be sent to the same list in the Reminders app; this means that you’ll end up with both types of items listed together – those with alarms, and those without. Things lets you hide reminders with alarms so that you can target Things’ Inbox by not specifying a time, while still using the Reminders app for items with timed alarms.

Please note that Things does not support due times or locations. If you do decide to import those types of reminders into Things, that information is removed.




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