Location based contexts simply not accurate enough

I’d love to use location based reminders but they simply aren’t accurate enough.

For example, I have a context set for one particular work location which is about a mile from my home. The problem is, the reminders trigger about ½ mile away from the location, even when set on the smallest radius. This means they trigger just about any time I leave my home and drive somewhere, even though I’m not going near the work location, making them totally useless.

Compare this with reminders set from the Apple reminders app for my home or work addresses and those are spot on, only triggering when I pull into my drive at home, or into the gateway at the work location.

I have about 4/5 contexts within the local area, all work perfectly with Reminders, but totally unusable with Omnifocus contexts. :(


I’ve found that if I manually type in the address, or add an address from my phone contacts then the radius is too large, and they trigger too often.

But if I’m at the location I want to add a trigger to and set the location as ‘Here’ from the location options under the context then it works much better.

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I didn’t do an address lookup for the locations, I dropped a pin on the map, but I’ll try tagging the location with ‘here’ tomorrow when I’m at one of the locations and see if that makes any difference.

@RiK @Jono, you can also adjust the distance at which those notifications trigger. Here’s more info on where those settings are and how to adjust them:

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Hi Christina,

I’m aware how they are supposed to work, and I can confirm I am using the smallest radius setting, but I’m afraid that just plain isn’t working. Here’s a map to illustrate:

You can see my home location, plus the location of one of the problem areas, marked ‘school’.

If I set a location reminder using Apple Reminders for my home or school location, they trigger very accurately, approximately within the small green circles illustrated.

However, with my OF ‘School’ context set and a pin dropped on the school location with the smallest radius set, the reminders will triggers all over the area I’ve approximated with the red circle.

The blue lines are typical journeys I make every day, potentially multiple times, and which in practical terms are nowhere near the school location, which I visit 3 times per week. You can see the red crosses showing points where I’ve had the reminders trigger.

As you can see, the Omni reminder will trigger some considerable distance from the school and hence I see them every time I leave home (I live in the country, and have to take one of the blue routes to go anywhere), rendering them absolutely useless. However, the Apple reminders are absolutely spot on, only triggering when I actually arrive at the gates of the school or within a few yards of my home.

Edit: Context settings:

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I have this same problem, getting an alert when I’m still a block away from home is not too useful. I want it when I walk throught the door or when I actually get to work. Wifi detection would be awesome for that.

It’s compounded by the fact I live in a small country town and have several regular contexts around the area which aren’t that far apart. I’ve tested them with Apple reminders with no problem at all, but with Omnifocus contexts they’re unusable as they’ll all trigger all over the place as illustrated above…

Yes, the radii that OmniFocus uses definitely appear to be larger than necessary, as I’ve encountered similar differences between using OmniFocus location reminders and those in Apple’s own “Reminders” app (which rather helpfully lets you set an actual visual reminder on a map, as opposed to just three circles that aren’t really representative of the zones in question).

Sadly, other than reducing the radius (which, IMHO, they really need to do), there’s no much else Omni can do about this. Wi-Fi detection simply isn’t an option that can be implemented except in cases where the app is already actively running in the foreground. While in the background, OmniFocus only gets to use whatever services Apple provides for location notification triggers.

I have not had this problem, like @jono said; I have always typed in the address & it’s been working well.

Actually, since writing my last post I have noticed it triggering when I’m fairly near to a location where I’ve setup a reminder, rather than at the location.

I’m also beginning to wish that the smallest radius was even smaller (worked as well as the Reminders app).

Despite not deliberately changing our code, it does seem like maybe either our app or iOS 8 changes have made this feature less accurate. I am doing some investigating.

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Thanks. That’s appreciated, as it’s a feature I’d really like to make use of, but in it’s current form it’s unusable for me.

If it was at least as accurate as Apple’s own reminders app that would be ok, as that’s fine enough to only trigger within a few yards of my three main locations.

If there was any way to make the smallest radius even smaller than that, it would be awesome!

I think I’m hearing two separate things here.

  1. Give more control over the radius, especially a smaller small.
    This is a totally reasonable feature request. And I’ve added a link to this conversation into the relevant entry in our bug database.

  2. Make it as accurate as Reminders at the same radius.
    This is what I’m testing.
    I’ve set up contexts and reminders with the same settings and am making sure they pop up at approximately the same time on my iPhone as I travel around the city. If they don’t, then something’s not working properly.
    You can help by doing the same thing. As described in our help, here’s the conversion from OmniFocus dots to Reminders radius settings:

The small dot is about 200 meters or 650 feet; it covers about one city block and is useful for things such as coming home or leaving the office. The middle-sized circle is about 500 meters or about a quarter mile; it covers something such as a small neighborhood or park, and is useful for knowing when you are a few streets over from a certain store. The big circle is about 10 kilometers or 6.2 miles; it’s useful for things such as a city you occasionally visit.


Yes, on both counts.

I’ll do the same experiment here as I’m out and about a bit today.

Any update on this? The smallest circle is triggering miles out for me. The location is set using a search for the business and selecting the address.

Just wondering if there’s any update on this. I use Checkmark for location-based reminders as others have mentioned in other threads but wanted to integrate that into OmniFocus instead if possible. First attempt notified me while I was underground in the subway 2,800’ away from the location, set to where I get off the train. That was using the middle-sized setting. I then changed that to the smallest setting but the next morning was notified 3,400’ away while walking from my apartment to an entirely different subway line.

Using an iPhone 6 Plus running iOS 9.3.1

Second day - smallest setting

Is there any update on this topic? I’ve been having the same problems living in a big city. Omnifocus sends me notifications about visiting the grocery store when I am not even close. Would love to have a smaller radius so that when I was actually within the vicinity of the store, or my home, it notified me.

Thanks for your help so far Lizard.

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