When Apple Watch and Watch OS 1.0 shipped in April, the definite omission of an Apple Reminders app on the platform was particularly surprising to me. The Apple Watch User Guide even highlights the app’s absence:
There’s no Reminders app on Apple Watch, but Apple Watch notifies you of reminders you create in the Reminders app on your iPhone—and on any other iOS device or Mac that’s signed in using your Apple ID. Also, you can create reminders using Siri on Apple Watch.
Creating and responding to reminders is fine, but my girlfriend and I use a shared iCloud Reminders list for our grocery list, and being able to glance at the watch as you walk through the supermarket without pulling out the iPhone is an ideal use case for Apple Watch. Fortunately, Flexibits has developed a new version of its Fantastical app for iPhone that brings the full Reminders experience to Apple Watch, fulfilling an important use case for the watch I had in mind before it arrived.
Fantastical for Apple Watch also brings the excellent streamlined calendar list view to the watch, complete with the app’s easy-to-use natural language parsing feature that sets it apart from Apple’s own calendar app…
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Even if you’re a fan of Apple’s built-in Calendar on Apple Watch, Fantastical’s unified list view of upcoming calendar entries and reminder items offers a bit of a bird’s eye view of your schedule on the watch. Fantastical’s dark user interface with splashes of color representing specific calendars or reminder lists fits right in with Watch OS, and you can still use Apple’s calendar app on Apple Watch for viewing the calendar as a full month or timeline of the current day by the hour.
Fantastical can’t yet include a watch face complication like Apple’s calendar app, but that’s certainly in the cards for developers in the future as Mark has reported. Fantastical does include an attractive and useful glance that you can swipe up from the watch face. The Fantastical glance features a horizontal timeline across the top with your next event or reminder item and appointment time below, or if the rest of your calendar is clear for the day, you get a friendly Fantastical character encouraging you to enjoy your open schedule.
Tapping the Fantastical glance behaves like any other third-party glance and opens the corresponding app from the watch face. I do find that the Fantastical’s darker colored glance fits in much better on Apple Watch than Apple’s mostly white, card-like glance, but you’re free to use either, both, or neither and still enjoy Fantastical. I’m personally only using Fantastical’s glance as I don’t find that Apple’s Calendar glance adds much additional information, if any.
As I mentioned enthusiastically at the top, Fantastical brings Reminders to Apple Watch in a big way. Where Apple stops at alerts and creating new reminders, Fantastical lets you view whole lists of reminders including notes or URLs included. This makes using Apple Watch as a convenient portal into my shopping list at the supermarket a possibility. You can use Siri to say something like “Add milk to my shopping list” and it appears right in the app. Similarly, firmly press within any given reminders list to add a new item to that specific list. The same method using Force Touch applies to creating calendar events from the calendar list view.
Because Fantastical reads your Reminders with a capital R, you can use Apple’s official Reminders app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and still enjoy Fantastical on Apple Watch as your iCloud-syncing, true Reminders solution. Other apps offer similar list functionality, but don’t speak the same language as Apple’s iCloud-syncing Reminders. Using Fantastical on Apple Watch for Reminders has been among my favorite Apple Watch app experiences yet if you haven’t guessed yet that.
There are also other goodies with Fantastical for Apple Watch like handoff support to the Mac. Customization options on Fantastical for iPhone let you set whether you even want to see events on Apple Watch, or reminders on Apple Watch, what the Fantastical glance displays, whether or not reminders are organized by lists or if that view is removed from the hierarchy on the watch, and more.
Fantastical 2 for iPhone and now Apple Watch is available as a free update to the latest version of the app. New Fantastical customers can purchase the app for iPhone and Apple Watch for $4.99 on the App Store. Fantastical 2 is also available on iPad and most recently the Mac as a full calendar solution.