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The iOS 16 update focuses primarily on the Lock Screen and new features for apps like Mail, Messages, and Photos, but Apple did make some small changes to the Notes and Reminders app, adding a handful of new options.

ios-16-notes.jpg

This guide highlights all of the new features in the Notes and Reminders apps for iOS 16, which is available now.

Notes

There are some quality of life improvements for the Notes app, most notably an option to lock notes with the same passcode used to lock your iPhone.

iPhone Quick Note

The Share Sheet has gained an "Add to Quick Note" option so you can create Quick Notes on iPhone. Add to Quick Note is an option across the iOS operating system, in first and third-party apps. You can create Quick Notes with Safari links, images, and more.

ios-16-notes-quick-note.jpg

Quick Notes used to be an iPad-only feature introduced in iPadOS 15, but iOS 16 brings them to the iPhone as well. On iPad, you can create Quick Notes from the Lock Screen, but on iPhone, the Share Sheet interface is required.

Updated Smart Folders

There are new Smart Folder filters available for better note organization. Rules can be created for Date Created, Date Modified, Shared, Mentions, Checklists, Attachments, Folder, Quick Notes, Pinned Notes, and Locked Notes.

notes-smart-folder-options-ios-16.jpg

Smart Folders used to be based solely on tags, so this is a notable update to the way notes are organized.

Lock Notes With Passcode

Rather than selecting a specific passcode for a locked note, you can instead lock your notes with your iPhone's passcode. That makes more sense than thinking up a standalone password, because you're not likely to forget your iPhone passcode.

ios-16-passcode-locked-notes.jpg

Notes locked with a passcode can be automatically unlocked with Face ID and the feature does not need to be enabled, plus you can access your locked notes across all of your devices by using the passcode for the device you're using.

Note that notes locked with your passcode can only be viewed on devices running iOS 16, iPadOS 16, or macOS Ventura. Devices running older versions of iOS and macOS will not be able to view passcode-locked notes.

Grouping by Date

In your list of notes and your gallery view, Notes are now grouped by chronological categories like Today and Yesterday to make it easier to find your most recent notes.

notes-ios-16-date-organization.jpg

Filters

When using Smart Folders or the Tag Browser, you can opt to filter for any or all of the criteria that you've chosen.

ios-16-notes-filters-any-all.jpg

Reminders

Pinned lists, list templates, and the completed smart list bring some notable improvements for those who use the Reminders app on a regular basis.

Pinned Lists

The lists that you use most often can be pinned to the top of the Reminders app for easy access. Pinned lists show up right alongside Reminder app sections like Today, Scheduled, and Flagged.

ios-16-pin-reminder.jpg

Completed Smart List

Apple has added a whole new "Completed" section to the Reminders app that aggregates all of the reminders that you have checked off and finished. It is organized in sections that include Previous 7 Days and Previous 30 Days, then further back, it organizes reminders into months and years.

ios-16-completed-reminders.jpg

Completed reminders can be cleared out by tapping on the "Clear" button at the top of the app, or they can be deleted individually by swiping.

List Templates

If you have a list that you reuse often like a grocery list or a packing list, you can save it as a template so it can be reused anytime. When creating a new list, the template section shows up as an option so you can choose your previously created templates.

ios-16-reminders-templates.jpg

You can go into the Templates section of the Reminders app and make any template shareable. From there, you can copy a link and send it to other people.

ios-16-reminders-save-as-template.jpg

Others are also able to share templates with you, and those templates can be imported into the Reminders app.

Scheduled and Today List Improvements

Grouping by time and date is designed to make it easier to view and add reminders. The Today List is now grouped by Morning, Afternoon, and Night for a better division of the day.

ios-16-reminders-today-organization.jpg

The Scheduled List has week and month groups for longer-term organization.

Improved List Groups

Any list group can be tapped to display a combined view of both the lists and the reminders that are inside.

Shared List Notifications

When tasks are added or completed in a shared list, you can opt to receive a notification.

Enhanced Notes

Notes added to reminders now support underlining, bold, and strikethrough text, plus bullet points can be used.

Filters

You can opt to filter for any or all of the criteria in a custom smart list or the tag browser.

Collaboration

Both Notes and Reminders work with the new collaboration feature that Apple implemented in iOS 16. You can send an invitation to collaborate to someone in Messages or FaceTime, and everyone on the thread is added to the Note or Reminder that you're working with.

Guide Feedback

Have questions about Notes and Reminders in iOS 16, know of a feature we left out, or want to offer feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.

Article Link: iOS 16: Everything New With Notes and Reminders
 
Last edited:

TrueBlou

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Sep 16, 2014
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Notes is definitely among my most used apps, but Reminders, now that I really should use more than I do.
I’ve still got the old (now bad habit) way of just adding ‘reminders’ to my Calendar. Which is fine, it works, but man my calendar’s bound to be stuffed with unnecessary, old random nonsense going back a decade or more. At least if I use Reminders it’s easier to get rid of the old crud.
 

iDento

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Sep 8, 2011
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Great features for stock apps, not for productivity nerds tho. Notes is amazing, the only thing I wish it has is back-linking so I can stop searching for a Personal Knowledge Management app.

Literally nothing makes me stop using Things 3.
 
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drumcat

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Feb 28, 2008
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Reminders is the ultimate grocery/shopping list. I call mine "Shopping", and it works great with Siri:

"Add (item) to the Shopping list" and then I forget a lot less when I go. And I don't want to be at the nasty grocery store long anyhow. Great setup for us.

edit: Shout out to the one "disagree". LMAO.
 
Last edited:

kc9hzn

macrumors 65816
Jun 18, 2020
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I must be using them wrong, but I can't seem to appreciate reminders as an app.
When it comes to to dos, I definitely have a strong preference for applications that take strong inspiration from GTD, since I’ve been using GTD on and off in some form for over 10 years now. Reminders isn’t that, but I have to admit that Apple’s really invested some engineering in it over the years. To think, I mostly use it for list based things, like a shopping list or a packing list, where I can just tell Siri to add a new item at will.

Edit: Wait, I also tell it to remind me about emails on a certain date if I can’t do anything about that email day-of (like an invoice that needs to wait until payday). So I guess I do use Reminders as a bit of a tickler file, even when I’m not actively using GTD/OmniFocus (my GTD app of choice). I need to get back into using GTD, but I need to do a major brain dump and I’ve been resisting doing that.
 
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Gruffydd

macrumors member
Oct 18, 2018
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Yeah I’d like to create some kind of Archive folder where I can put folders and notes into. I have thousands of notes and many folders but I really do need to archive some older stuff.
 
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Ifti

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Dec 14, 2010
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Using FaceID to unlock notes would be very useful to me, but my concern is this:

"Note that notes locked with your passcode can only be viewed on devices running iOS 16, iPadOS 16, or macOS Ventura. Devices running older versions of iOS and macOS will not be able to view passcode locked notes."

Going by the last few releases, I won't be updating to Ventura any time soon, at least not until the first few updates and bug fixes have dropped - so guess that means I'll stick with password protected notes for the meantime....
 

alexandr

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When it comes to to dos, I definitely have a strong preference for applications that take strong inspiration from GTD, since I’ve been using GTD on and off in some form for over 10 years now. Reminders isn’t that, but I have to admit that Apple’s really invested some engineering in it over the years. To think, I mostly use it for list based things, like a shopping list or a packing list, where I can just tell Siri to add a new item at will.
I know they have! Yet they still fall short for me. See, even for shopping/packing lists I prefer to use notes, using bullet points. Asking Siri to add makes sense, but I don't really like using Siri, so I would have a lot of appreciation for a reminders app that was up to Apple's standards(as I see them)...
 

kc9hzn

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Jun 18, 2020
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I know they have! Yet they still fall short for me. See, even for shopping/packing lists I prefer to use notes, using bullet points. Asking Siri to add makes sense, but I don't really like using Siri, so I would have a lot of appreciation for a reminders app that was up to Apple's standards(as I see them)...
Fair enough. I almost never use the Notes app myself (maybe because there’s not an Apple Watch version of the Notes app)? The Apple Watch version of Reminders means I can take a look at a Reminders list without getting my phone out and cross off items as I go. Instead of the Notes app, I tend to use Drafts, if just because I know I’m likely going to shuttle the text I write somewhere else or I know I only need it temporarily. Probably also helps that Drafts has an Apple Watch app.
 

alexandr

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Fair enough. I almost never use the Notes app myself (maybe because there’s not an Apple Watch version of the Notes app)? The Apple Watch version of Reminders means I can take a look at a Reminders list without getting my phone out and cross off items as I go. Instead of the Notes app, I tend to use Drafts, if just because I know I’m likely going to shuttle the text I write somewhere else or I know I only need it temporarily. Probably also helps that Drafts has an Apple Watch app.
I think it all comes down to how we use our devices and what we're used to :) I love my Apple Watch, but I generally don't do anything task related on them. Except for setting the laundry timer! :)
 
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alexandr

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For me it does exactly what I need it to but I can’t say I really understand how people act like you can be a power user with that app.
Funny. Yes, I sincerely hope it works for what it's called after(upon to do), I just can't bring myself to open it)))
 

kc9hzn

macrumors 65816
Jun 18, 2020
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For me it does exactly what I need it to but I can’t say I really understand how people act like you can be a power user with that app.
I mean, it offers tagging now (and has for a couple of OS releases, I think). That alone is probably a feature you’re not using to its fullest extent, tagging is one of those things you can go super in-depth into (in terms of creating a useful structure for your tasks), especially if it allows for multiple tags and/or hierarchical tags (just checked, it has the former but not the latter). Smart Folders, too. I’ve never used Reminders as a power user, but it definitely provides enough power so you could. It’s a far cry from what it was when it launched back in iOS 5 (or from the Calendar notes that preceded it in iCal).
 
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kc9hzn

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I think it all comes down to how we use our devices and what we're used to :) I love my Apple Watch, but I generally don't do anything task related on them. Except for setting the laundry timer! :)
I sometimes do use it for more task oriented things, assuming it’s a task oriented thing that can be done on the watch. The phone can be a bit of a black hole for me at times (sometimes it’s reading too many Wikipedia articles, sometimes it’s YouTube, sometimes it’s spending too much time on MacRumors!). I’m sincerely trying (but struggling) to reduce my screen time on my phone, and, when I can use the watch to reduce that time, that’s great. Especially when it would be annoying or potentially dangerous to have my phone out. (I have an app on my watch right next to the clock app that shows me the next trains at the subway station I’m at. That way, I can check without needing to pull my phone out, which is nice because someone tried to steal my phone from out of my hands once.) But I definitely don’t use it as much as I could.
 

appleguy123

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Does anyone know if the locked notes are more secure to actual attacks or law enforcement requests? If you have your notes locked by FaceID, do they become inaccessible if the government subpoenas iCloud?
 

TonyC28

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I mean, it offers tagging now (and has for a couple of OS releases, I think). That alone is probably a feature you’re not using to its fullest extent, tagging is one of those things you can go super in-depth into (in terms of creating a useful structure for your tasks), especially if it allows for multiple tags and/or hierarchical tags (just checked, it has the former but not the latter). Smart Folders, too. I’ve never used Reminders as a power user, but it definitely provides enough power so you could. It’s a far cry from what it was when it launched back in iOS 5 (or from the Calendar notes that preceded it in iCal).
I’ll admit I don’t use most of the features. I just use it for the most basic, which is reminding me to do a thing at a time. Perhaps I’m missing out.
 
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symphony

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Aug 25, 2016
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I've been asking this for years, but Notes needs glyphs/icons that's already used in Shortcuts folders and Reminders lists for folders in Notes.

My folder list in the side bar is an endless list of the same folder icon. It would be easier to differentiate if it can be changed.
 
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Rigby

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Does anyone know if the locked notes are more secure to actual attacks or law enforcement requests? If you have your notes locked by FaceID, do they become inaccessible if the government subpoenas iCloud?
If you look closely at the screenshots in this article it says it uses end-to-end encryption and not even Apple can decrypt it.

I wish there was an option to encrypt all notes by default, now that they can be easily unlocked with biometrics. Then it would finally be a good alternative to Standard Notes or Joplin.
 
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Pre86

macrumors newbie
Oct 4, 2021
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Notes is definitely among my most used apps, but Reminders, now that I really should use more than I do.
I’ve still got the old (now bad habit) way of just adding ‘reminders’ to my Calendar. Which is fine, it works, but man my calendar’s bound to be stuffed with unnecessary, old random nonsense going back a decade or more. At least if I use Reminders it’s easier to get rid of the old crud.
I actually don't think that's such a bad behavior. I like having reminders show up in my calendar. Since I live in my calendar for work and life, I'm much more likely to remember my reminders when I see them rather than having to open a separate app and view them completely out of the context of my day. This is why I use Google Tasks and Google Calendar. It would be nice if Apple added the functionality but until then the Google apps work really well for me.
 
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