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Limits for iCloud Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, and Bookmarks

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Question: How to clean up over-length Reminders titles?


TL;dr: Can anyone suggest a way to automatically find, and perhaps shorten, Reminders with higher than a certain number of characters in their titles?

  • I have Workflow and it seems to show some promise, but I haven't gotten there yet. And, it's limited.
  • I can probably arrange access to a Mac to access desktop tools, if necessary.
  • Maybe a third-party tool that can read/integrate with iCloud? Either with some cleanup stuff directly, or at least a way to search / work with items in bulk?
  • Maybe hack a backup file on my computer to search and replace in the SQL database, then restore to iPhone......??? (have done similar before....long story.....)
  • Maybe it's just time to convert (myself, and maybe my data) to a more robust, capable, purpose-designed tool? (Evernote comes to mind, other suggestions welcome)
  • ...???

Full story:

I use Reminders quite a bit, it's very handy - but I have had quite a history of it causing me difficulty also. My latest problem is that it is really SLOOOOOOW on my iPhone (a 6+), after going from iOS 9 to 11. Every time. I just counted 6-8 seconds before it displayed on screen, and then 8-10 s more to be ready for input (nonresponsive until then).

I'll try not to bore you with all the details, but I gather it must not be just the hardware and iOS combination - the same iCloud account loads Reminders in a much more reasonable time on my iPad Mini 2, which has a year older hardware. And as alluded earlier, it worked OK on iOS 9.

So in digging around, I finally came across the linked article (Limits for iCloud Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, and Bookmarks - Apple Support). Apparently there is a "Maximum number of characters in a reminder title: 100", "To help iCloud keep your Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, and Bookmarks up to date". But obviously it's not a real "maximum", because it will happily let you write a lot more in a title. It's not enforced, I should say; but maybe going over it confuses / bogs down the code that accesses it, or something; thus the article.

So I have a couple dozen lists, and I forget how many, couple thousand maybe, Reminders. And not having known about that "limit" for the first several years, I have lots that go over it. That's the only thing I can figure for my massive slowdown, other than just plain incompatibility/un-optimization/no more support for my HW/SW combination.

I could (and may someday) upgrade my hardware, but if there is a legit database issue/incompatibility, I'll keep running into problems. (E.g., for a time a few iOSes ago, the phone would just plain crash a lot when I had Notifications turned on for timed Reminders; maybe or maybe not related to this issue?)

What I've done a bit of so far, is to delete completed - which did seem to help; since there's no useful way to do this on an iPhone, I had many, many, presumably clogging things up; also when I come across one that's obviously over 100 chars, that I want to keep, I have cut some of the text from the title and put it in the body/comment. But there are way too many to do this manually, and it's painful on a handheld device, and a bit better but still laggy on

OK, wow, that turned into a long post. See the top for my summary question after all of that.....

Thanks, and very much gratitude in advance for any advice!

Posted on


Apr 20, 2018 1:09 PM in response to CJ555 In response to CJ555

Just counted via Workflow, I have 2315 Reminders. And hand-counted about 64 lists, well within the 100 maximum.

As an aside, in explanation of that - I use Reminders a lot. It's become a life-management system, much more than simple reminders. It captures my thoughts - Siri integration is key. It's the Capture stage in my sort-of-GTD system, my Inbox. I have lists of ideas in many different categories, lists of things that are important to me to review occasionally, plans, etc.

Strictly speaking, sure, a lot of them could be gotten rid of, or I wouldn't miss if they were gone (in fact, I think at least one list did disappear once in a phone update/backup/restore fiasco, and I finally decided it wasn't worth it to try to recover manually from a backup). But, out of my brain, into a system, my brain feels better.

If I had a way of archiving large chunks, I would probably do it occasionally. For now, I just rename old lists as "Backlog <date>" or some such. Actually, some are archived, because I've used a backup extractor to dump them to some sort of SQL file at times, and/or a CSV.

OK, back to trying to do some more immediately useful work.......

Apr 20, 2018 1:09 PM

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Question: How to clean up over-length Reminders titles?