iOS Reminders, Fantastical 2, and the Problem of Exporting Reminders

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posted June 16, 2015

Every since I learned that one can add a reminder to a specific list in Fantastical 2 by preceding the list name with a /, I have been more open to using iOS Reminders for list-making (not just reminders with due dates).

I have written an URL action for Launch Center Pro that enables me to quickly add an item to a list:

fantastical2://x-callback-url/parse?sentence=[prompt]%20/[list|reminders|tv|movies|coding]&add=1&reminders=1

The above action will bring up a prompt to enter a list item, followed by a list of iOS Reminder lists (in this case, Reminders, TV, Movies, and Coding).

And here is an action to quickly pull up all the items in a list or do a general search:

fantastical2://search?query=[list:list|/reminders|/movies|/tv|/coding|query=[prompt:Query]]

The Problem of Exporting Reminders

I don't like data lock-in, and Apple does not make it easy to export Reminders in text format. I've seen some Applescript to turn Reminders into TaskPaper format but I am rarely at my home Mac (which is the only one connected to iCloud).

I then remembered that Drafts enables a user to import incomplete Reminders from a list called Drafts. Although this is not an ideal way to export a database of reminders, it is a way to get my reminders out of the Reminders app in a simple text format. (The downside is that Drafts marks those items as complete as it imports them, to prevent duplicate imports.)