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I’m one of those people who wishes they were more organised. It’s not that I don’t relish a deadline, if anything pressure is productive, but when it comes to remembering a thousand and one personal notes and work tasks, I’m a mess without some sort of organisational aid.
Swipes is another personal organiser that promises to extend a helping hand when it comes to managing your ridiculous schedule. Utilising a series of gestures and a simple, time-saving approach; Swipes offers up an enticing alternative to Apple’s in-built Reminders app in more ways than one.
Chin up Android owners: even though this review is for the iPhone version, Swipes is currently in development for Android too.
Organising Your Day
After downloading Swipes from the App Store, you’ll be given a brief overview of the gesture-based controls and then you’ll need to create an account either with your Facebook credentials or just an email. This means that Swipes will be syncing your tasks with its own servers, and in theory across devices (though at the time of writing, only the iOS version is available).
The app uses three main areas to organise your schedule – Tasks, Later and Done. When you first create an item using the big inviting yellow plus “+” button, it will automatically be added to the Tasks list for categorisation. In place of your iPhone’s usual Return key is a Next key, and hitting this immediately allows you to add another task. This makes populating a hectic schedule quick and easy.
Once you’ve got yourself a populated Tasks list you can start scheduling reminders using swipes (of course). The screenshot below is the state your tasks list arrives in when you first use the app, and it quickly familiarises you with the gesture controls found therein:
Swiping to the left of an item brings up the reminder menu, which provides some intelligent suggestions about when you might want the task completed. The idea here is to put some faith in the app, the only way you can specify and exact time and date is using the Pick A Date setting, and that’s a lot more like using the in-built iPhone Reminders app than I’d like. Instead, Swipes will use a set of pre-determined times for all other options.
Once a reminder occurs, the item is moved back to the main Tasks list where you can optionally set it as done, delete it or reschedule it if it’s something you’ve been putting off.
Filters & Tagging
Organising your organisational app might seem a little overkill, but Swipes also cuts you some slack in this department too. It’s nice to keep work and personal stuff separate, and it’s nice to keep sub-sets of your work separate too. This can be rather spectacularly accomplished with a simple tag. Double-tapping a task reveals reminder information, a field for notes and a field for tags.
Tags are added with a simple tap at the bottom of the screen, which by default includes work, home and shopping though you can expand this collection with the Add button. Filters and tags work in conjunction with each of the 3 lists, which all feature a pull-down filter and search field. Pull down the search box as you would any other iOS app and tap the filter icon to elect to just show reminders with certain tags.
If you need to concentrate on work or you’re populating a shopping list, this lets you concentrate on the task at hand without everything else appearing alongside. Alternatively if you rely heavily on an organiser app that lacks this feature, tagging is going to make your schedule considerably easier to janitor.
Reminders or Swipes?
The real burning question is whether Swipes can replace the default Reminders app that comes with your iPhone. The answer is unsurprisingly going to involve just what you currently use it for. Reminders.app is a core OS component which means it integrates with Siri, can be taken advantage of by other apps (e.g. Open in Reminders buttons, IFTTT for iPhone recipes) and (perhaps greatest of all) uses iCloud to keep other iOS devices and OS X in sync. If you rely on one or all of those features, Swipes might not be for you.
Then again Swipes is a streamlined experience. It takes much of the manual control out of your hands for the better, with the aim of accomplishing a lot in a little time. You can choose to specify a to-the-minute reminder alert, but you’ll be encouraged not to. You’ll soon find yourself spending less time organising your schedule and more time working on it.
Having one main “list” split into three sections is probably my favourite aspect of Swipes. Where I would normally use 6 or 7 separate lists in Reminders.app (and get tired switching between them), I now use the same list for everything and a series of well-organised tags.
Swipes is a cracking free alternative to Reminders, with some clever features like tagging, filters and a simplified reminder system. The whole package is held together by a series of intuitive gestures. The app is so basic it doesn’t even have its own preferences. But if you’re looking for the deep OS integration found in other core apps, then Swipes (or any other replacement) will frustrate.
Download: Swipes for iPhone & iPod Touch (Free)
What reminder app do you use on your iPhone? Is Reminders.app indispensable? Let us know how you organise your schedule in the comments, below.