Reminders: Complete Guide to iOS 13

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The Reminders app has never been one of the most popular built-in apps, mostly due to its limited functionality in comparison with other reminder and to-do apps available from the App Store.

In iOS 13, Apple overhauled the interface of the Reminders app, adding a new look and new capabilities that may encourage more people to check it out. In this guide, we'll go over all of the new features in the Reminders app and what it can do in iOS 13 and iPadOS.


Design

Reminders in iOS 12 and earlier offered a simple no-frills list-style view that organized items by list, but iOS 13 has an entirely new interface that's more intuitive. There are four main Reminders sections, which incorporate all of your reminders across all of your lists so you can see everything that you need to do in one view, whether it's for work or family.


There's a "Today" section for reminders that need to be addressed immediately, a "Scheduled" section for reminders that have a date attached, an "All" section for viewing everything all at once, and a "Flagged" section for your reminders that have a flag added to separate them out.


Along with the four main sections where you can access all of your reminders organized into different views, you can also see your content organized per list using the "My Lists" section. You can use Reminders in either dark mode or light mode, and there are unique looks for both.

Lists and Reminders

As with the previous version of Reminders, you can make as many lists as you need in the Reminders app. You can have separate lists for family, friends, work, and whatever other topics you want.

If you want to keep track of all the household chores you need to do along with your grocery list and your work projects, the Reminders app can handle that. Adding a list is as simple as tapping on the "Add List" button.


All of your lists are displayed individually in the "My Lists" section, while the individual reminders in that list are also available in the different sections of the Reminders app.

Adding a reminder to a list can be done by tapping into a list and then tapping on the the "New Reminder" button, or by tapping into the Today, Scheduled, or Flagged categories at the top of the app and then choosing "New Reminder."


Ultimately, adding, organizing, and accessing lists is a more intuitive in iOS 13 than it was in iOS 12. Reminders located in the Scheduled tab and the Today tab are organized by date and time, but there are no manual sorting tools to allow for different organization.
[*]How to Create a Reminder in the iOS Reminders App[*]How to Create a New List in Reminders
[*]How to Create a Scheduled Reminder in iOS
[*]How to Add a Reminder to a List in the Reminders App[*]How to Delete a Reminder List in the iOS Reminders App
[*]How to See Your Completed Reminders in Apple's Reminders AppCustomization

The Reminders app in iOS 13 adds new customization options to your Reminders list. There are additional colors to choose from to color code your lists, and there are also new icons that you can assign to each list for a visual cue.


There are all kinds of icons to choose from, including food, sports, work-related icons, shapes, and more.
[*]How to Customize the Look of Your Reminders Lists in iOS
Reminders Toolbar

When creating a reminder in the Reminders app in iOS 13, there's a new quick access toolbar that lets you add times, locations, and more to your reminders. There are four available icons, each with a different function:

[*]Clock - Lets you schedule a reminder for today, tomorrow, this weekend, or a custom date.
[*]Arrow - Lets you set a reminder to activate when you're arriving home, getting in the car, getting out of the car, or arriving to any custom location that you choose.
[*]Flag - Lets you add a flag to a reminder so it's easier to locate.
[*]Camera - Allows you to take a photo to add to a reminder, add a photo from the Photo Library, or scan a document. Adding attachments to Reminders is new in iOS 13.

Reminders can also be annotated with notes and URLs to provide additional context, and each reminder can also have subtasks associated with it. Reminders can also be set to repeat, and you can adjust the priority for each one, choosing between Low, Medium, High, or None.


Accessing all of the Reminder options can be done when tapping on the "Custom" option when setting a time or a date for a newly created reminder or by tapping on the "i" icon on an already existing reminder. Some of these options were available in iOS 12, but interface is simpler and more intuitive in iOS 13, making these tools easier to use.
[*]How to Create a Messages-Based Reminder on Your iPhone
[*]How to Create a Location-Based Reminder on Your iPhone
[*]How to Add Notes and URLs to Reminders in iOS
[*]How to Flag a Reminder on Your iPhone and iPad
[*]How to Change Reminder Priority in the Reminders App for iOS[*]How to Add Sub-Items to a Reminder in iOS
[*]How to Organize Reminder Lists on iPhone and iPad
Reminder Settings

Using the toolbar and interface above, reminders can be set to activate in the following conditions:

[*]When arriving to a location
[*]When leaving a location
[*]At a certain time
[*]On a certain date
[*]When messaging a specific person in the Messages app

You can also combine these conditions when creating a reminder, so you can, for example, set a reminder to get milk on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. when you arrive at the grocery store.

Sharing a Reminders List

If you tap on the three dots in the top right corner of any list of reminders in the Reminders app, you can add a person, which adds that particular list to their device too, letting them see changes made to the list. This is ideal for something like a shopping list that you might need to share with a spouse or child. This feature isn't new, but its location has changed because of the redesign.

[*]How to Share Reminders in iOSGrouping Reminders

If you have a lot of separate reminders lists, you can group them together in iOS 13 under a single heading. So if you have a grocery list, a drugstore list, and a list for your favorite clothing store, you can aggregate them all into a "Shopping" group that offers better organization in the "My Lists" section of the app.


Groups can be collapsed or expanded, making for a tidier Reminders app with deeper organization than was possible in iOS 12. To add a group, tap on the "Edit" button and then choose the "Add Group" option at the bottom left. You can also use drag and drop gestures to arrange you're lists.[*]How to Group Together Lists in the Reminders iOS AppNested Reminders

Using drag and drop gestures, you can drag a reminder under another reminder to create a nested reminder in your list, which essentially lets you add smaller tasks under a larger reminder.


If, for example, you have a reminder to do chores, you might also add smaller, more specific reminders underneath for individual tasks like vacuuming and doing the laundry. You need to be in the "All Reminders" section to use drag and drop gestures to rearrange your reminders lists.

Share Sheet Deep Linking

Using the Share Sheet, you can import content from Messages, Mail, and other apps, directly into the Reminders app as a new Reminder. Just select text, choose the "Share" option, and choose Reminders as the destination.

Reminders saved this way will include a deep link to the Mail thread or Messages conversation so you can get back to it quickly.

Siri Improvements

Reminders features enhanced Siri intelligence in iOS 13, which means you can type longer, more descriptive sentences that Reminders will automatically understand and use to provide relevant suggestions.


Siri will also suggest reminders for you. When you're chatting with someone in Messages, for example, and someone mentions getting lunch at noon tomorrow, Siri might offer a suggestion for you to create a reminder.

Mac App and Upgrading

There's also a revamped version of Reminders for the Mac in macOS Catalina, with many of the same features. With the Mac app, you can also create reminders on the desktop that sync to the Reminders app on iOS devices.

When upgrading the Reminders app on iOS 13 (which you will be prompted to do after upgrading), it's worth noting that it limits functionality on other devices. Reminders on the Mac won't be functional without macOS Catalina, and Reminders on the iPad won't be functional without iPadOS.

iPadOS is available, but there's no specific launch date for macOS Catalina, which is coming on an unspecified October date. Apple's support document has additional information.

Guide Feedback

Have questions about Reminders, know of an iOS 13 Reminders feature we left out, or want to offer feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.

Article Link: Reminders: Complete Guide to iOS 13
 
Last edited:

Westside guy

macrumors 603
Oct 15, 2003
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The soggy side of the Pacific NW
I’ve used Reminders regularly. I don’t see a lot of fundamental improvement here. Much of this already existed. The Siri additions may be helpful, but that’s really gong to depend on whether Siri itself has improved significantly - I’m not holding my breath though.

Flags, icons, colors seem like fluff.

I will say having sub-lists of reminders does seem like a very useful addition.

What I’d really like to see, though, is some sort of integration between calendars and reminders. At least give us a way to include scheduled reminders on our calendar.
 

maxxodd

macrumors member
Nov 2, 2012
62
46
Looks great, looks like they've borrowed a lot of ideas from my beloved Things 3 app. Not sure it's a replacement for Things, but it's definitely going to be the default To Do app for many users going forward.
Looks great and I agree. One reason it won't be replacing Things 3 for me is that it looks like its still lacking a way to see when a reminder was completed (like the logbook in Things). I use this as a really quick and easy way to track my workout routines and to remember when I did which routine when I need to look back. Only takes me a couple clicks to log a routine unlike a lot of the dedicated workout apps. Same for some household chores (changing air filters, etc).
 
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MisterSavage

macrumors 68000
Nov 10, 2018
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At first the reminders app was useless to me because it wouldn't keep nagging you about a reminder you hadn't marked as done yet. Now that it does I find myself using it a lot. Looking forward to being able to share reminders.
 

allenvanhellen

macrumors regular
Dec 8, 2015
227
554
I hope this is an improvement. The current Reminders app is actually still a bit buggy. For example, if you add something to a long list, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to see what you’re typing.
 
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subjonas

macrumors 68020
Feb 10, 2014
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Reminders is one of my most used apps. These improvements will only make it more useful.

The picture attachment is very welcome, and I’ll have to explore the grouping/nesting and other functions.

One thing I’ve always wished Reminders could also do is audio record reminders. Sometimes I want to use siri to set a reminder but I don’t want her to try to interpret my voice (eg. because different language, musical note, words or names she wouldn’t understand, don’t have time in the moment to proofread her interpretation, etc.), just play my voice back for me when the time comes.

I also really wish Apple would bring back the 15 minute snooze. 15 minutes was so useful because if I wanted to address the reminder as soon as possible, it was almost always just the right amount of time to wrap up what I was doing, and then be reminded again before I forgot and drifted into my next task, or at least before I got too deep into my next task. And even if it took me 30 minutes to wrap up, it was helpful to get the extra reminder to keep it on my radar. The current 1 hour snooze is way too much time for a minimum. I always wrap up then forget about the reminder, then I’m well into my next task when I receive the second reminder, and I have to snooze again, and it’s a frustrating cycle. 1 hour is a useful increment too, but not as a minimum.
 

rcooked

macrumors regular
Feb 3, 2015
163
220
Looking forward to giving this a whirl. Primarily use things3, but this looks pretty good with the Siri integration and all. If this can do group lists like now, it’s pretty good for managing my multiple teams.
 

actcyclist

macrumors 6502
Jun 10, 2017
289
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Seems like just more clutter to what was a simple app. Oh well, I can go back to post it notes stuck to my phone if it’s too much effort.
 

BWhaler

macrumors 68030
Jan 8, 2003
2,771
2,572
Hard to beat Things. Great app.

I like apple is focused on it now. Keeps the pressure on the Things developers—there was a few years when the product seemed to be abandoned. (It wasn’t) But it’s good that Apple is pushing innovation because it means all publishers must outpace Apple.
 
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MarkB786

macrumors 6502a
Sep 20, 2016
682
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I appreciate that iOS continues to evolve, but Apple apps need to easily integrate with standard corporate systems like Microsoft Teams, Slack, etc. or risk being left behind. Apple Reminders, To-Dos, and Calendars seem to be isolated in an Apple ecosphere. It's hard to deny that Microsoft and others are doing great things in the corrporate team space.
 

Huginnmuninn

macrumors regular
Oct 8, 2011
197
26
These are nice improvements but I tend to live inside the 'Next 7 Days' view in Todoist, and I often use Todoist's ability to take all overdue items and mass-move them to Today (or another day). I'd love for Apple to add those features.

And while they're at it they should look for inspiration at Google's integration of Google Tasks into the sidebar of Google Calendar. It's really convenient to add dated tasks while looking at available time in the Calendar, and for each task, users can input large amounts of information and any dates associated with the task will show up in their calendar automatically.

So... for now I'll still mainly use Reminders via Siri for on-the-go reminders, but for the majority of my tasks I have to stick with other options. For now at least.
 

minimo3

macrumors 6502
Oct 18, 2010
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These features are all nice, but all I want is for reminders to sync reliably across devices.
 
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Analog Kid

macrumors 601
Mar 4, 2003
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This feature isn't new, but its location has changed because of the redesign.
It's new to me!

I have this feeling like there's tons of functionality buried in my phone that I have no idea about because my habits were established many revisions ago and I'm not exploring anymore. Reminders looks like a functional app now, but I haven't opened it in ages because I'd made the determination back then that it wasn't useful...
 

tbsteph1

macrumors newbie
Nov 30, 2017
5
1
I would like to see a way to allow notifications from apps when Do Not Disturb is on. For example, it would be nice to know if my Ring Doorbell is activated. Currently the only exception to Do Not Disturb is for specific callers like family.
 

Junior117

macrumors 6502
Apr 9, 2015
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Toronto, Canada
I wish it had more flexibility for scheduling repeating, for example reminding you to pay your quarterly estimated taxes every 3 months. Same with alarms in the Clock app, like set the alarm only every other week.
At least with the current version of Reminders, it does (although, I've gotten it to work with Siri; I don't know how to do it manually). For me, I have it to remind me to replace my toothbrush every 3 months ("Hey Siri, every 3 months, remind me to replace my toothbrush").
 
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