Checkmark 2 by Snowman is a huge update to a simple location-based reminders app, which now features lists, location groups, scheduled reminders, and more. Checkmark 2 could now even replace your to-do list or project management apps – depending on what you need.
I can't say that I haven't found a good setup/workflow for my project management and to-do lists, but I'm always open to integrating something new, changing my workflow, to even trying something completely different. At the moment I'm deep into OmniFocus for basically everything that I do. For short lists of things that don't need to get into OmniFocus, I still like to use Apple's Reminders app via Fantastical (on both the Mac and iPhone) and Readdle's Calendars 5. I've also been playing with Clear again for some time now as the iCloud seems to work flawlessly now.
If I ever needed location-based reminders, I've been pretty much out of luck though. Apple's Reminders never really did it for me. Either it was a pain to add locations or the notifications didn't fire off. It's much easier with third party apps, but the syncing between apps can be a little strange and has me riddled if it even updates in the background.
In my workflow I do not really need location-based reminders anymore. At some point I started doing things differently and started planning my tasks otherwise. There's no denying though that Checkmark 2 is the best app for this kind of job. When I was trying out Checkmark "1" in 2012 it already did a great job, but without a real need for its feature and the hassle to having a particular app that does only one thing well, I didn't keep it on my iPhone.
The new Checkmark is not only the best at its previous job, it has now stepped up to the big leagues and with its new features tries to earn its way on your Home screen.
To make the location-based reminders even better, Checkmark now includes location groups. Say you're shopping for groceries at different places because the cereals you love are only available at a specific store and the milk you buy is from a special place that gets their fresh milk delivered from a farm every morning. To finish that off, you purchase your veggies from a farmer's market every tuesday and friday, and the beans are from a local coffee shop that roasts a special batch every two weeks.
Every single place can be put into a group simply called "Grocery". If you need groceries, you put it in there and don't have to think about where to find what.
Groups can be created in two ways, either by adding the locations one by one and then dragging and dropping the location on each other like you would do to create a folder on iOS, or you select an already created location and by clicking on the gear icon and "Edit Locations", you can add several locations by choosing a location and tapping the plus sign.
Setting up your locations and groups isn't the simplest task and could be improved. The drag-and-drop can also be a little tricky due to the "jiggle" animation, and I had some issues during this whole process including removing locations by renaming them, getting the pin on the map where I wanted them to be (due to the location not being available on Google Maps I suppose), and even crashes. This is something that can be changed in an update and won't bother you after you've successfully set everything up.
There are three ways to organize your to-dos in Checkmark: When, Where, and Lists. As Checkmark initially was an app that only did location-based reminders, you would assume that the app opens "Where" when opening it. Well not "at the moment". I hope that this is something that will change in an update (maybe something you could choose in Settings) as it requires two more taps to get to the "Where" section. If you're using Checkmark as your to-do app, I see no problem with this minor complaint.
When creating a new task, you have a customized pop-up for each category.
- "When" lets you enter a task with an optional note and requires a date and time. You can also choose to make this task a recurring one. This gives you several options like daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, and custom which lets you select multiple days.
- "Where" is quite similar to what it used to be in Checkmark's first version. For those who are new to Checkmark, it gives you the same new task and optional note, and it lets you select "Arrival" or "Departure". This option decides whether you get the notification when you're either arriving or leaving a location. With the timer you can delay the notification, and a new feature - the ability to choose a date - lets you postpone the reminder to a later date. This can come in really handy for several things. I'd love to have the ability to create this dated reminder as a recurring one as well, for example "Take out trash every Tuesday 5 mins after I come home".
- "Lists" is Checkmark's attempt to be your Project Manager. With one tap you create a list. Opening the list lets you create tasks and add subcategories. As with every task in Checkmark, you can add a note, but unfortunately that's all you can do with list-tasks. There's no adding a location or timer, and you can't move these tasks between categories or lists.
There is a lot of potential and room to improve Checkmark and make it even more powerful, but there is this question of "do you need more"? Creating a list of actionable notes can be fine, but not everyone needs them.
Checkmark is great at what it wants to do and maybe this shouldn't be changed. In my opinion it is the best at managing location-based reminders and with location groups it made organization a lot simpler.
One More Thing
If there's one thing I really like about apps (or things in general) it's the details that make things better.
In this case I found two things to be really enjoyable in Checkmark.
- There are some nice animations when interacting with the menu and "New Task" pop-ups. When tapping the "hamburger" button to open or close the menu, the window shows a little bounce animation (as you have with for example Notification Center). There's also a nice floating animation when the "New Task" pop-up appears. The only issue I found with these animation was that in the "Where" section it caused some delay before being able to tap on another location/group. The animation has to fully finish before you can tap something else (it's similar to the delay we experienced in iOS 7 when opening/closing apps and folders).
- What I also really enjoy is custom sounds, especially notification sounds. Without looking at the iPhone I want to know what's happening. It's an automatic trigger when driving by the grocery store. It wouldn't have the same effect if the sound wouldn't be distinguishable from any other notification. The best part about it, the sounds are really nice. Some kind of video-game like.
In the video below you can see Checkmark in action and you'll see why Checkmark 2 is "even more fantastic".
Checkmark has always been the best at location-based reminders and has gotten even better with improved features and new additions. It's definitely worth checking out again. If you haven't found the right way to get things done, this might be the app your workflow was missing. Get Checkmark 2 in the App Store for only $2.99 (limited time 50% off launch sale).