Use this '60-second productivity hack' with Cortana to set location-based reminders

Tips and tricks are always good to learn, especially if you are new to Windows Phone. This one is aimed at those users and it was just posted to the Microsoft Lumia YouTube channel.

It is an oldie but a goodie and it has to do with Cortana's ability to use location-based reminders. In fact, this is one of those rare things that only a Windows Phone can do so it is worth it to show off again.

Location-based reminders are super simple to use if you have Cortana available in your region. Just tell Cortana things like "Remind me to grab some milk next time I am at the supermarket". Since "supermarket" is entirely vague, Cortana suggests nearby locations that fit the profile. You choose which one and the next time you are near that store, Cortana pops up a reminder. Of course, you could also specifically name the location too.

This feature can be used for the grocery store, pharmacies when heading to a friend's house, or just about anything. It just works by pinging your location in the background (aka 'geofencing'), and the OS pops up a reminder. No need to worry about battery life either, as this does not use any more power than normal.

Moment of humblebrag: We recommended to Brain Candy to make a video about this feature since it's so darn cool. Do you have a good tip that would make a great how-to video? Tell us in comments!

If you missed the rest, check out the video above or watch the other Brain Candy Tips below and see our own 'How-tos' right here.

Previous Brain Candy Tips:

Source: YouTube, CrowdCentric; Thanks, Jonathan F., for the heads up!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • I'm using an iPhone right now because my L920 broke. Siri is pretty useless...
  • Liar! It's impossible to brake a Nokia.
  • My 920 broke as well. So I bought a 930.
  • That a tank you broke. Have a cookie.
  • Broke mine too....waiting for black cell phone tape to come from China so I can replace the digitizer.....:(   [My fiance made fun of me as I always made fun of teenagers who walked around with shattered phone screens] #JustDeserts
  • Mine is structurally intact, but it just died and won't turn back on.
  • Especially a 920 !! I drop my old 920 from the top of where i work its like 50 feet high, got nothing... ok i got an outterbox case on it
  • Same Here. And so the 1020 and the 1520. But For the 1520 i learned the lesson and bought an insurance! The only windows phone I did not broke is the HTC 8s. And, before that and since mobile phones are around, I've never broke any screen. Nevertheless I keep on buying lumias! :)
  • But can you give it gas?
  • I've dropped it a number of times and as high as 4ft onto concrete with the impact on the corner and sliding on its face, but that isn't what broke it. A SIM adapter I used when trying to switch back from the iPhone 6 (long story) and the subsequent ejection from the 920 is what broke the SIM pins inside. Nokia on the outside - tough as nails. Nokia on the inside is gooey and vulnerable like our insides.
  • Not just Nokia, this is exactly what happened to my Blackberry Z10, dropped it a few times only slight dent to the bezel. Used a sim adaptor and the pins broke. Grrrrr
  • Nokias have lousy brakes! I can't get mine to stop, no matter how hard I push the pedal!  
  • ^I had to put a couple of Brembo's on my 735
  • He used the emergency brake. Posted via Galaxy Tab 4
  • Try dropping a 1520 off a ladder onto asphault, it'll break lol. Saddest day of my life as far as phones go. Just gotta hold out with my 830 till the next flagship.
  • My L535 back cover is also cracked from its upper corner after falling twice from my hand... But it can't effect my phone...
  • I've dropped my 920 at least a dozen times, mostly on the asphalt, and once from 7 ft to my patio case, just a few dents on the corners. Loving the durability!
  • Shame on you using CrApple:-)  just kidding. But you should not support that EVIL comp. EVER. 
  • I use this option just about every other day. Love this feature. And when iPhone and Android users see it in action, the looks on their faces only makes it sweeter.
  • Yes, because Siri sucks. Only time I ask her to do anything is to set an alarm or a timer. Useless...
  • Cortana, any singles in my area?
  • Your friends are ignorant.
  • Hi @Novron, the difference between how Siri and Cortana execute this function is that the address has to be saved in the iOS owners contact list. On WP with Cortana, "she's" smart enough to "recognize" the requested location(store, barber shop, etc) without the need to have it saved in the contact list. That's much more efficient and more like a real personal assistant. Maybe that's what makes @Pelldom's iOS using acquaintances drop their jaws in amazement. :-D
  • Read the Google article, Jesus that's complicated. And Siri is limited to 3 locations and no snooze, as Cortana does. All round, it's Cortana FTW.
  • I'm pretty sure you're ignorant. Did you even read the articles you posted dude?
  • They either have it or they don't. They have it. Makes no difference if they are implemented differently, the capability is there.   
  • Not true, if Cortana's works easier, with less set up, or just plain not buried, it will get looked over and not used, therefore gaining less notablity. Also if the capibility is less than Cortana, it's not really there, is it.
  • How does it not use any extra power to do this? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Because your phone is likely already polling in the background for location. For instance, Motion Data, weather apps, Cortana (location-based news, deals, events), etc. It is built off of the Orion API, and has been around for a long time, finely tuned and refined. Only way this would use more battery is if you have completely disabled location-based services on your phone, which would then render this trick useless.
  • From a Microsoft WP designer, "it uses geo-fencing". This adds to what Daniel is saying.
  • Does this require Internet access as well to work? Cortana seems to lose a lot of functions away from my WiFi spots.
  • It uses information from the internet to function so I would say for most functions it will need internet access. But if using geo locations than maybe not.
  • Geofencing doesn't require internet to work, however to setup location based reminder using voice you will need internet (apparently they were unable to squeeze context processing to the phone). You can setup location based reminder without internet by tapping hamburger in Cortana and going to "remind me".
  • If wearing a Microsoft Band, which geofencing device has preference over Cortana?
  • Not yet had any luck with geofencing. Seems hit and miss if Cortana gets location reminders right.
  • What irks me is the fact that you can't enable multiple ways for the reminder. It's either geolocation, time and something else. Forgive me but I don't use it currently so that where the options a few weeks ago.
  • Same here. When I get home, the reminders are hit and miss. I've gone days with no notifications, then one random day I'll get it.
  • Ditto. Got my '7pm reminder when I get home' this morning at 10am at work. Not very helpful.
  • same here, and reminders that cannot be trusted are worst than useless, they're harmful to the experience.
  • Where are you guys located. I use this at least once every day. First time I bought some stuff and put it in my trunk. I knew I would forget so i asked Cortana to remind me when I get home to take the stuff out. Ever since then, that is all I use. Its awesome. My friend lied and told me iPhone can do it to. Can't wait to ask him to show me when he gets here.
  • I guess the only way for them to be 100% correct is for the location to be on 100% of the time.
  • Works every time for me and I use it sometimes 2-3 times a week.
  • Yes
  • Works,100% of the time,for me. Is your location baaed services enabled all the time?
  • I tried this once before. I said next time I am near xyz remind me to get milk. I drove by it, didn't work. Later when I parked at said business, it reminded me. I wanted a reminder to remember to stop at super market, not to pick up milk when I am there. Maybe I set it wrong... Will have to try it again sometime.
  • I have the opposite problem. I have a reminder set for me to ask my mechanic a question about my car next time I stop in for service. It fires every time I drive by, even at highway speeds.
  • Well, it doesn't poll your location every half second, so you probably weren't near it long enough since you were just driving by. Try "Next time I leave my house..." I think cortana supports that kind of geo-fencing reminders, too, but I'm not 100% sure
  • Yes, it does. I use the "when I leave work" one all the time.
  • Now....if only we could teach Cortana that there weren't multiple moms having a birthday in which we needed to buy flowers, but rather my singular mother's birthday.
  • Look at your contact's. Maybe you have mom listed multiple times?
  • I am talking specifically about the example in the video.  The reminder does not tie into the contacts at all, try sending a text and Cortana will do the same thing.  Sometimes she'll use the apostrophe but not typically.
  • This is not a hack
  • Sure it is if your a newbie or a novelist
  • It's not a hack. It's a feature. Hack implies that you're manipulating the software to do something it isn't programmed to do or to give you access to something you aren't authorized to have access to.
  • Well, if they had said what it is in the title, people like me (who are already aware of this feature) wouldn't have clicked on it. Make it sound like something new by being vague and like you are gaming the system and BAM!, more ad revenue. Just a form of click baiting.
  • 6o sec features/ or 60 sec hack which will you click on?
  • You are. :)
  • You are missing the point entirely. You are using the feature to hack yourself.
  • Yeah, as you can tell from comments, its not exactly spot on.  It seems when ever i choose "Any 'X'" location, it never works.  If i choose a specific location, its hit and miss.
  • Yeah she still in beta
  • It's always worked for me.
  • Always works for me too, 100% of the time.
  • I like it when I get the reminder"after" I pull out if the parking lot...
  • On a Lumia 930, but the videos don't work...:(
  • That's due to Google changing API's. Just select browser to see the video, works perfectly, I just watched it on my 930 :)
  • This is an awesome feature and works great with reminders for the grocery store, Walmart, Lowes, etc. as well as with my "favorite" places like home and work.
  • Actually geo fencing is the idea of setting a location as a trigger for when your geo location is determined to be within the fence. Pinging your location in the background is not geo fencing.
  • But other apps that use geo fencing is spot on.
  • Great tip
  • Hate to take the wind out of your sails a bit, but my old Moto X (2013) totally did this. I used location based reminders All. The. Time. In fact it was one of those "deal breaker" options that I wouldn't have converted to Windows Phone without.  The Moto X did it slightly better because I didn't have to press a darn thing, I just said "OK Google Now" and told it the same command you tell Cortana. 
  • This feature has been on WP for a year, he's just creating a tip for newish users. Not bragging about it.
  • Hi spaulagain, I get that. My comment was more towards the "one of those rare things that only a Windows Phone can do" comment. The implication being that Android devices are incapable of location based reminders...which they aren't. I'm wholy content with Cortana's implementaion of the feature and encourage everyone to use it.
  • Yeah. You can get this on BB10 too with an app and I'd be surprised if Apple didn't have an app for it. I wasn't sure if they meant WP was the only one to do it natively? But you're right - Google now does it too.
  • Siri does it too.
  • Siri is limited to 3 locations and does not do snooze like Cortana does.
  • "Hey Cortana" doesn't require touch either
  • You are correct. On phones supporting that feature, so to that I say "Touché".
  • Your Moto X does location based reminders but I believe you have to set to a specific location. Doesn't do something like "any Walmart" for example.
  • Hey Cortana means you don't need to touch WP. In fact, with Hey Cortana you can do more than other assistants.
  • I abuse the the shit out of Hey Cortana...fortunately, my employees think its an awesome phone, albeit complicated to them, therefore they don't think I'm nuts...well too nuts....
  • I love this feature, but you could actually set it to any supermarket. I'm not always sure which one I will go to next time,so if you just remind at whichever one I go to,that would be even better.
  • Location based reminders are hands down my favorite Cortana feature, especially after they added snooze to them! You can do them with Siri but it's limited to three locations, plus no snooze, bleh.
    I am really hoping they eventually let me refine snooze for each location with an auto snooze, so something like "remind me ten minutes after I arrive at the store". That would give me some time to park and such...
  • So true...especially when you have a whole list of them...
  • About the only thing for which Cortana does needs location services active
  • Love Cortana and all but.... drives me crazy that you STILL can't ask Cortana to SET A TIMER! 
  • I used this today for the first time to remind me to take something put when I got home. Worked perfectly. :)
  • I use this only for specific locations ("remind me to shop for laundry detergent when I get to Target"), but not for general things ("remind me to shop for laundry detergent when I'm at a store"). It works for me in my cases, I should try different scenarios too. I love the meeting reminders by the way, when Cortana tells me I should leave based on location and traffic. Cortana in general is absolutely fantastic.
  • Aye...near a perfect woman she least when she speaks she doesn't complain...
  • definitely use this frequently to remind myself to do something when I get to work or get home. very convenient. can't wait to see more cortana cross device functionality with windows 10.
  • This should provide an option to read the reminder to us. This would be nice when driving.