How to: Tasks with notifications for iPhone

July 3, 2009

As much as I love my iPhone it has been as backwards step for me from my Palm Treo for certain productivity functions.

Top of the list was a todo or task management system that synced with Outlook and gave me an alarm when something was due.

Today I have that functionality but it isn’t perfect. As with most iPhone work arounds it involves third party web services.

I decided on the Toodledo app some time ago. It has a lot of functionality, was getting good reviews and has a third (fourth ?) party application that syncs with Outlook. Today Toodledoo updated their iPhone app so it uses the new iPhone 3.0 push notifications.

So my system involves:

Once you have these things in place follow these instructions. The key things are to allow notifications on the phone when asked on startup and sync THEN go to the web site Reminders/Alarms page and select the iPhone as your reminder location.

I took some time to get this to work.

My problems were:

  • I was creating a task with a reminder on the phone and not realizing that it the app only auto syncs on startup not exit.
  • The task has to exist on the website.
  • When I was getting to the point that I was about to give up I checked my account settings ON THE WEBSITE and realized that the time was set for 2 hours ahead of what it should have been. Once I fixed that my next test worked fine.

The other thing to know are that Toodledo has two service levels- free and pro. With the free account, such as I have, you only get one notification choice, i.e. iPhone or email or SMS, and one choice of alarm time- one hour before the due time. Don’t rely on the exact time – they state that its actually 1 hour +/- 5 minutes.

The other not ideal thing is that I choose to manually sync with Outlook. My Outlook file is vast and any auto syncing (including Google Calendar sync) was slowing it further. Between that and that fact that the iPhone app only syncs on startup I have to remember to consciously sync everything.

I would be interested to hear of other iPhone users experiences setting up tasks with Outlook sync and notifications.


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