I'm always trying to find ways to get better organized.  Since I am a fan of gadgets, most of the ways I try to get organized are gadget-based.  From a CASIO watch that held 25 phone numbers, to Palm Pilots, to my iPhone, I have had some success keeping my contacts and calendar organized.  What I haven't been able to do is easily make a shopping list for a gadget, until now.

The problem I have had with making a shopping list on my iPhone is well, my iPhone.  I am much faster, and more accurate, writing my list on a small piece of paper, than to enter each thing on the on-screen keyboard.  I've been typing on that little keyboard for like four years now, and I haven't gotten any better at picking out the letters with my fat thumbs.  I am faster and much more accurate typing on a full-size keyboard, so I figured I would need to come up with a way to enter the list on my computer, and have it pop up on my phone.  Apple's iCloud lets me do that.  If you have a iPhone 3GS or newer, and access to a computer, here's an easy way to put a shopping (or any kind of list) on your iPhone.  There are separate ways for Mac, and Windows computers, which I'll explain.

Make sure iCloud is on the iPhone

The first thing you need to do is to make sure iCloud is running on your phone, and that 'reminders' are active.  Press the 'settings' button, then 'iCloud', then make sure the switch next to 'Reminders' is set to on.

Running iCloud on a Mac

If you have a Mac computer running the 'Mountain Lion' operating system, open the 'Reminders' program.  On the left side of the screen you will see all the accounts that have access to 'Reminders', usually your email account, and your iCloud account.  You want to make sure that this list syncs to your phone, so you want to make sure you are using the iCloud account.  At the bottom left corner of the Reminders screen,  click the '+' button.  A small box will pop up asking which account you would like to use, click iCloud.

A new list will come up titled 'New List' click on the first line below the title, and start entering your list.  Simply type in the item, then hit return and it automatically puts in a check box, and moves onto the next line.  Once you have all of your items, it's done. You can change the name of the list by clicking on the name on the left side.



iCloud on the Web

If you have a Windows computer, or are away from your Mac, you can do the same thing with the iCloud website.   Enter your login and password, and you will see all of the aspects of iCloud you set up on your phone.

Click the 'Reminders' button, and you will see almost exactly the same window that the Mac program uses.   Enter your shopping list in reminders, and make sure to log out when you are finished.

Check it Out On Your iPhone

If you have completed the above steps correctly, your shopping list will automatically be sent to your iPhone. Open the 'reminders' app on your phone, and look for the name of the list you saved on the computer.  Your full list will pop up, with handy check boxes to indicate what you have picked up at the store, and what you still need to find.


Time-saver or NERD ALERT!

I'm not positive that's exactly quicker than writing down a list on paper, but I re-use lists by unchecking all the items at once.  Once you get the hang of it, it goes much quicker.  You can also share those lists with other people with iCloud. My wife and I have a list that we can both see on our phones, and updates automatically.  Feel free to email me if you have any questions about this or other iCloud questions, I have taught myself some things just by tinkering.