A Call to Alarms: Why We Need Persistent Calendar and Reminder Notifications

Well, I think so. Using a browser on my Mac, I visit a web site that requires two factor authentication (2FA) and will only deliver by SMS. (The intelligence of this decision is not part of this discussion, and while I would be happy to read comments, such would be even further off-topic.) By having the text message appear on the computer, I can copy and paste the number string.

Even replying to a message is better accomplished, for me, using a real keyboard.


Mmm, yeah. Agree with the premise of the article.

For myself, what is wanted is not alarms as such, though those would be useful. What I want is a much stronger barrier to dismissing notification, a kind of “sticky” notification, if you like. It would reappear on the lock screen until a modal dialog acknowledged action was taken (and this would sync to other devices). It might, optionally, persist as a banner, even across device locks. Ideally, there would be a simple way to put such stickies onto the device by voice, as a simple reminder mechanism.

Thanks for the suggestion of the Due app; looks genuinely wonderful.

But it does indeed point to a failure to make this sort of notification a feature of the OS. Also the failure to make notifications consistent, in general, between Reminders, Calendar, Clock alarms, and timers, phone/FaceTime calls, and Messages. It seems to me that Apple could do worse than to generalise all of these modalities, and give app developers stronger control over actions for notifications, like snoozing, persisting, repeating, and so on. We perhaps ask too much, considering.

Don’t bother controlling notifications for apps; simply remove the app. Your life will magically improve. :) Too often we forget what this technology stuff is here to help us do. It was, I suggest, a bad day when Apple brought Notification Centre to macOS.

I found the alarm system in Tiny Timer works the best for me. It dings, then several seconds later, dings, then several seconds later, dings, untill you turn it off. This allows me to finish what I’m doing without huge distraction (like a continuous alarm) but lets the notification continue until I am ready to do whatever the reminder tells me to do at that time. I, too, have problems with the calendar reminder. Outlook has a similar reminder on Windows to Tiny Timer. Their theory is that you can continually delay (5 min, 10 min, 1 day, 2 day, 1 week, etc) until you dismiss. I find this one also works for me. Outlook notification in the past were a hot mess.

Elementary Mr, Apple!

There is no way you would respond to alarms for notifications. If you use an Apple Watch, have it ping you to take a break hourly. That is easy to accomplish with the meditation app. Check you calendar at the end of the break. Reminders are time wasters. Putting everything on your calendar with a time and duration helps you schedule better and allow time to pay attention to the important people in your life. Unless you are very unusual, your ability to work efficiently goes down after an hour of sitting still. Blood pools in the legs. Your brain suffers. You eyes weaken. You may think you are doing great for three hours of constant work sitting, but that is not the case. You might like to read the Relaxation Revolution by the late Herbert Benson, a cardiologist at Harvard who developed the inversion of fight-or-flight.

This was one of the hardest parts for me with transitioning from Android to iOS - Android notifications were a lot better at hanging around in the task bar up top, and I wouldn’t dismiss them until I was done with them. Notifications on iOS just disappear and it’s really easy for them to be out of sight, out of mind.

Alexa already does this. I can verbally label any reminder as a repeating reminder and have it repeat every hour until I say “Done” or tap the Done button that pops up on any Echo Show to which you have assigned the reminder. It is persistent but not annoying.

Adam’s right. Calendar alerts are broken. I have scheduled repeating alarms (Clock app) for my important meetings, manually duplicating my calendar alarms. I also have a HomeKit-controlled video conferencing light scheduled to go on before those regualr meetings, which works surprisingly well. But I had an important meeting Friday at a non-regular time that I missed, despite being in the presence of FOUR devices with my apple id. I have turned on persistant notifications from calendar so I have to dismiss them. As far as I can tell, they didn’t appear for that meeting. What does appear reliably is every time my spouse schedules or reschedules a future event, I get an immediate, persistent, notification. Help! (Due app sounds great but would need to automatically notify calendar events, including accepted meetings as they come in. I didn’t see any mention of that)

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I am happy with how BusyCal implements Event and Task reminders/alarms. They are persistent enough for me and I can easily create extras, say for upcoming important events where I’ll create a week, 2 days and 2 hours ahead alerts, so that if I miss something it’s my own damn fault. LOL My wife and I sync our calendars/reminders via iCloud, which supplements the analog Frida Kahlo kitchen calendar that she favros.

BusyCal was expensive at $50 when I got a license many years ago but it’s been worth every penny. The company has switched to a 40% discount 18 month “non-subscription” system for app updates. But users aren’t required to renew nor penalized for waiting to do so after the plan expires. I haven’t seen a new feature that I couldn’t live without in eons. . . Most are in the “meh” category, so as long as the app keeps working with my current OS versions, I don’t renew.