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Never miss a Due date

Never miss a Due date

Due has long been one of my favourite iPhone apps. It’s a beautifully crafted reminders app that, with one additional feature, would be my default task manager.

Due was developed in 2010 by Singapore-based coder Junjie Lin. The app gained a strong following after tech blogger John Gruber (Daring Fireball) gave it a favourable, three-line review on his blog in September that year.

According to its website: Due remembers everything you need so you don’t have to. It’s lightning-fast to set reminders, and it’s so persistent you can’t forget anything.

Due uses natural language date parsing, so any dates and times you enter with a task are automatically converted into deadlines. For example, if you type: “Pay gas bill 5 Sep 9am” Due will create a new todo titled ‘Pay gas bill’ with a corresponding reminder for the 5th September at 9am. Alternatively, you can enter date and time details via a configurable table of pre-set dates and times. For example, hit ‘+1 week’ to set a reminder one week from now.

A distinguishing feature of Due is that when a task falls due, you can snooze it but the app will continue to remind you about that task until you either complete it or defer it to another time or date. You can set the default snooze interval. So if a reminder pops up and you cannot complete the task immediately, you can snooze it for a preset period, say 15 or 30 minutes. If for some reason that task needs to be deferred for longer, you can select from the pre-configured default times/intervals, and defer for a day/week/month—whatever is appropriate. Simplicity at work!

As much as I like using Due, it has one significant shortcoming—you cannot add todo items without adding a date and time. I like to add things to my todo list when I think of them, even if at that point they don’t yet have a deadline. But Due insists on allocating a date and time to each item.

There is a way to overcome this limitation. In the settings, you can give Due access to Apple’s built-in Reminders app, where you can create a list for items with no due date. You can then ask Due to display that list on a side screen. This is a bit clunky and any search in Due does not pick up items in the side screen lists. You can move an item from the secondary list to Due’s main list of todos by simply adding a date and time to that item. So in a round-about way you can use Due to store items with no due date.

Due also features a set of built-in timers. You can edit the default set or add your own. So, for example, if you what to be reminded to turn off a sprinkler in 30 minutes, set a timer and half-an-hour later an alarm will sound. Or, for fans of the ‘Pomodoro technique’ time management system, you can create a main focus timer and a set of short and long break timers to help you focus on your work.

Due can be used as a standalone iPhone app or you can sync it via iCloud with the companion Mac app. The sync is quick and flawless. The app continues to be refined through regular updates. The iPhone app costs roughly the equivalent of a cup of coffee.

A question for us all

A waste of space