A How To: The iOS Reminders App, Siri, and My Discovery of Shareable Grocery Lists

Aidan and I are always checking in with each other to see what the other needs to pick up at the store, and we often either forget something or buy duplicates by accident. This is how we ended up with more than a year's supply of tin foil and four bottles of laundry detergent.

I wanted the solution to be easy — like telling-someone-else-to-do-it easy — so I asked Siri, Apple's answer to the intelligent assistant, to make me a grocery list.

Me: Hey, Siri. Create a groceries list.
Siri: I've created it. Just tell me if you'd like to add an item to this list.

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That was way easier than I thought it would be. Huh. So I told Siri to add stuff to my Groceries list.

Me: Hey, Siri. Add dried basil to my groceries list.
Siri: OK, I added dried basil to your Groceries.

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I didn't know what app Siri was going to use for the list, but it turned out to be the iOS Reminders app. I've only ever used the Reminders app to tell me to water the plants every week, but it hits me that I could put it to a lot more use (despite the fact that I'm a monster who still rarely waters the plants).

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I opened the Reminders app, clicked on Groceries, and there was my checklist.

I wanted to share it with Aidan, so:

  1. I clicked "Edit", and then
  2. I clicked "Sharing", and then
  3. I added Aidan from my Contacts.

Aidan accepted my invite, and now we have a shared, running Groceries checklist in the iOS Reminders app that Siri can update. Now, whenever either one of us thinks of a grocery item we need, we just have to literally tell Siri, and whenever one of us buys something off the list, we just have to check it off to remove it.

This will save us from thinking about things like Why do we have such a mental block about tin foil? and Do other grownups run out of lightbulbs like they're still learning life skills?, because, honestly, life is too short to let things like tin foil and lightbulbs waste our time wondering about our relative psychological makeups, their collective aversion to food wrap and lit hallways, and whether our mothers played a central role in our myriad minor dysfunctions.

Now that I've got Reminders telling me to water plants and coordinating our grocery shopping, my productivity itch needs more scratching. Apparently I can tell Siri to do stuff like figure out math, play music, and send text messages. I should randomly ask Siri to do things more often.