Flexible reminders app?

I’m looking for recommendations for an app for iOS that can automate an interval reminder that may start at variable times. A Shortcut for the existing Reminders app would work also.

Here’s the details: I have a medication that I need to take three times a day at intervals of no less than six hours between doses. All my other medications are taken only twice a day or less, so the first and last doses are easy to remember, but I keep missing the window for that middle dose.

What makes this complicated is the fact that my sleep-wake schedule is irregular, so the first dose of the day may happen anywhere within about an eight-hour window. I need a solution that will let me tell it when I took my first dose, and it will calculate when to remind me to take the next dose.

Every app I’ve looked at so far ties recurring reminders to a fixed time at some point, even the ones that allow for reminders at relative intervals instead of at fixed times. I’m looking for something that will allow the start time to vary each day.

I can do this manually with the existing Reminders app, but the only way I’ve found to do that is to set it up manually every day, which is a multi-step process. I’m looking for something I can set up once and then just activate each day with a single action.

Does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations?

Does it need to be a Reminder? I’d use a timer — “Siri, set timer for 6 hours” when I take the first dose. The latest version of the clock app has the most recent several timers you set, so you could easily set a six-hour timer there as well.


I have an even more complicated pill situation. I have some pills that must be taken with food but not at the same time as other pills taken with food. I also have a pill that must be taken with no food in my stomach (defined as at least 2 hours after eating and 1 hour before eating again).

I set up a medication schedule in the Health app, where I can also note the conditions required for taking the pill. Although fixed times are listed, I know that they reflect event periods. So, 8 a.m. reflects breakfast, 11 a.m. reflects between meals, 12:30 p.m. reflects lunch, 7 p.m. reflects dinner, and 11 p.m. reflects bedtime.

I use an Apple Watch, with the Medication widget in my Smart Stack and the Timer in the multi-app widget. I use them as follows:
The next pill to be taken appears in the Medication Widget. When I take the pill, I register that action via the Medication widget, and if the next pill involves the fasting interval, I set the timer accordingly. Repeat.

When I’m traveling, I change things up a bit. I don’t eat breakfast for at least one hour after waking and can take the pill requiring fasting immediately upon waking.

These Apple-supplied widgets do not have iPhone analogs, but there may be third-party apps that support similar widgets for your iPhone home screen. The Health app will send notifications when at the time in the schedule, and you can log it from there. But to log it before the scheduled time, you must go through the Health app. I am surprised that there is no Timer widget associated with the Clock app.

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Not certain of specific capabilities matching your request but was very pleased with Medisafe when I was on variable dosage meds post-op a couple of years ago.

Medisafe iOS app

Thanks for the tip! It hadn’t occurred to me to use a timer instead of a reminder, and I don’t use Siri very much (I don’t like talking to my devices—I’m kind of old school). I’m trying this out today, and we’ll see how well it works for me.

Medisafe was actually the first one I tried—it came up first in an App Store search for “medication reminders”. I couldn’t find any way to set up relative reminders that weren’t tied to a fixed time. I contacted the developer to suggest that feature, because it otherwise indeed appears to be comprehensive and well-designed.

Re: …“have a medication that I need to take three times a day at intervals of no less than six hours between doses”…

Recently, after an operation, I had to take medication at those intervals…

Since I already depended upon Apple’s (iOS) Health app to remind me to take several other medications – at different intervals – and I was all to familiar with the way it nags me, I entered the new meds into that as well. What I originally scheduled the new meds 7 hours apart: at 0500 (I’m always up by then), 1200 (noon), and 1900 (7pm). Turns out that it’s fairly easy to check the exact time when you already took them earlier in the day.

After I realized I was often later than scheduled and that subtracting times was a little awkward, I changed it 8 hours apart: 0400, 1200, and 2000 (8pm) – and never came close to taking those less than 6 hours apart again.

The same idea should work with almost any other app … as long as it’s real easy to see the LAST time you took that med.

I use ‘Sometime’, an app by Irisation Lab in the Apple App Store. It is a repeating reminder app with a twist: the next interval only starts when you say you have completed the task for the previous interval. I know this may be confusing so here is an example of how I use it.

I want to clean the cat box about every 4th day so I set the interval to 4 days. After 4 days it reminds me to do the chore. But if I am busy and can’t get to it until the next day, I just tell the app when I actually did the chore and it resets the interval to 4 days from that time, regardless of when the chore was originally scheduled. And if I do the chore early after 2 days I tell the app the chore was just done and the interval is reset to 4 days from then.

Somerthing similar might work with your variable schedule but with regular dosing intervals in that schedule. You would tell the app when you actually take the 1st morning dose and it would keep you on schedule after that regardless of when the 1st dose was taken. You would then tell the app whenever you take a dose and the interval would restart from that point.

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Agreed. And it is easy to make a Shortcut to set both at once.

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