Differences between Google Reminders and Google Tasks

Differences between Google Reminders and Google Tasks

If you use Google products, then you have likely seen both Google Reminders and Google Tasks. While they are not precisely standalone applications themselves, they are integrated with other Google Services such as Gmail and Google Calendar. It is undoubtedly confusing to know when to use Reminders and when to use Tasks.

In this article, I’ll cover:

  • How to access Google Reminders.

  • How to access Google Tasks.

  • Differences between Google Reminders and Google Tasks in regards to functionality and where they can be managed.

  • When to use Reminders. When to use Tasks.

  • How Google Calendar handles Reminders vs. Tasks.

  • The ability to import Google Reminders into Google Tasks.

How to access Google Reminders

Option 1 - Google Search

Through Google search - Type something like this into your Google Search box. “Remind me to ...”. You’ll be presented an option to confirm your task within the Google Search results. You can even type Show my reminders to see your reminders within search results.

On mobile, you can open the Google App settings and see an option for Reminders. This page will show all of your Reminders in one place.

Option 2 - Google Assistant

From your mobile device, Google Home device, or even Android Auto, you can easily access reminders through Google Assistant. Just say “remind me to ...” in Google Assistant, and it will set the reminder for you. 

Option 3 - Google Calendar

In Google Calendar, you can create a new item and choose “Reminder” instead of Event. The Reminder will appear on your Google Calendar like any other event. You need to have the “Reminders” calendar enabled to see the reminders on your Calendar.

How to access Google Tasks

Option 1 - Gmail

Gmail has an add-ons panel on the right side that can be expanded to view Google Tasks.

Option 2 - Google Calendar

Google Calendar also has an add-ons panel on the right side that can be expanded to view Google Tasks.

Option 3 - Standalone App

Unlike Reminders, Google Tasks now has a standalone app for Android. You can download it from the Google Play store here.

Functional differences between Google Reminders and Google Tasks

  • Tasks support a text description. Reminders do not.

  • Tasks support subtasks. Reminders do not.

  • Tasks can be organized into separate lists. Reminders can not.

  • Task notifications can be set in the past. Reminders can not.

  • Tasks can be created without assigning date. Reminders can not.

  • Tasks can be created from Gmail, Google Calendar, or even Google Docs by using the side panel.

  • Tasks can be created from email in Gmail. This is handy if you have an email you want to add to your task list.

  • Reminders support location notifications. Tasks do not.

  • Reminders appear and can be managed in the Google Calendar mobile app. Tasks can not.

  • Reminders can be created with Google Assistant (mobile, Google Home, Android Auto, etc.). Tasks can not.

  • Reminders appear on the Android Auto home screen. Tasks do not.

  • Both Reminders and Tasks support date and time notifications.

  • Both Reminders and Tasks can appear in Google Calendar (web-only).

  • Both Reminders and Task support “All Day”. Meaning you can assign a date but not a specific time.

Use Google Reminders when…

Use Google Reminders for quick reminders. Especially when you want to use your voice to create a reminder through Google Assistant.

Use Google Tasks when…

You need more than simple reminders. You need to manage lists, create sub tasks, or add details to your tasks. Google Tasks is more like an actual task management application. Since Google Tasks is so simplistic, I’m not sure I would recommend it if you have a lot of tasks to manage.

How Google Calendar handles Reminders vs. Tasks

I think it is also important to note how the two appear in Google Calendar. As you can see in this example, I have one time-specific reminder and task. They both appear as you would expect in that time slot. However, if you have all day Reminders or Tasks, they look different. All tasks will appear while reminders will collapse into a single item. Clicking on the collapsed reminders expands a popup that will show each reminder.

How Google Tasks and Reminders appear in Calendar.png

Import Google Reminders into Google Tasks

Google recently added a new feature to Google Tasks. The ability to “Copy reminders to Tasks.” This is an exciting feature and quite helpful if you use both applications. I would recommend using this feature only if you want to manage all of your tasks with Google Tasks. This feature also makes me wonder if Google will eventually converge Reminders and Tasks into a single application.

Screenshot 2019-08-04 at 9.14.48 AM.png

If you think I missed any important differences, please let me know!

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