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How to set up and use Reminders on an iPhone or iPad
Reminders are an essential function on iPhones and iPads, for the simple reason that human memory is limited, whether we like to admit it or not. Here’s how to take full advantage of the Reminders app in iOS and iPadOS, including location- and message-based reminders.
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How to create a reminder on an iPhone or iPad
Using the Reminders app
Tap New Reminder at the bottom of the screen, then type in the thing/task you want to be be reminded about. Optionally, before hitting Return, you can add conditions to your reminder using the info (i) button or the icons above the keyboard. Here’s what each of those icons do:
- The calendar icon lets you set a date and time to be reminded. The defaults are Today, Tomorrow, or Next Weekend, but you can pick a specific time (or times) too.
- The arrow is for location-based notifications. We’ll cover those more in the next section.
- The hashtag lets you tag a reminder with one or more groupings for personal browsing. You probably won’t need this, but the option is there.
- The flag marks a reminder as important, and adds it to a Flagged list on the Reminders homescreen.
- The camera is used to attach images to a reminder. You can take a photo, use existing images, or attached scanned text and documents.
The info button menu mostly just recreates these options, but there are some additional ones there:
- The Notes field lets you add a bit more detail about the task.
- Fill in the URL field to add a relevant web link.
- The When Messaging toggle is for message-based reminders, which we’ll cover later.
- Priority is a drop-down menu with four settings: None, Low, Medium, and High. Most people don’t need to bother with this, given the option to flag items, but it can be handy if you’ve got a complex set of tasks.
- List lets you choose a collection other than the default Reminders, such as a shopping list. To find other lists you’ve created, tap Lists at the top of the main Reminders screen.
- Subtasks lets you add smaller tasks that fall under the header of the main one.
When it’s entered, a reminder will appear in whatever list it was assigned to. Mark it as complete by tapping the circle next to it, or (for condition-based ones) tapping and holding on a Reminders notification and choosing Mark as Completed.
Creating reminders is arguably Siri‘s strong point, since it saves time in typing and selecting options. Start your command with “Hey Siri, remind me…” and follow up with details and conditions. Some examples:
- “Remind me to crush my enemies every day at 9 AM.”
- “Remind me to learn balboa.”
- “Remind me when I leave home to pick up some energy drinks.”
- “Remind me to charge the car when I get home.”
- “Remind me to call Jackson tomorrow at 4 PM.”
- “Remind me to talk to the trainer when I get to Evolve Strength.”
A note on date-based reminders — if you choose a broad window like “tomorrow” or “Wednesday,” expect to see a notification in the morning that day after you wake up. Don’t worry, you won’t get a reminder at 12 AM on the dot unless you deliberately pick that time.
How to see completed reminders
To see what you’ve marked done, go into any Reminders list and tap the triple-dot icon in the top right, then Show Completed. Use Sort By to change how items are displayed, and Hide Completed when you want to go back to the standard view.
How to create location-based reminders
The preferred method here is to ask Siri, since it’s faster, but if you want to use terms like “home” or “work” in reminders, you’ll need to define them in the Contacts app. Launch Contacts, select My Card > Edit, then enter addresses in the appropriate fields. If you want to associate location reminders with other contacts’ residences, you’ll need to make sure their addresses are up-to-date too.
To create a location-based reminder through the Reminders app:
- Tap New Reminder and type in the thing/task you want to be reminded about. Don’t hit Return yet.
- Tap the arrow icon. You’ll see Arriving Home or Getting in Car as preset options, but otherwise you should choose Custom.
- Type in the name or address of the place you’re looking for, then select it. Alternately pick options like Current Location, Home, Getting in Car, or Getting out of Car.
- When relevant, select Arriving or Leaving as a condition, and drag the dot on the blue circle in the Apple Maps view to adjust the geofence radius. Try to be as narrow as possible to avoid false triggers.
- Tap Done.
How to create message-based reminders
If you want to be reminded of something when texting someone in Apple Messages, do the following:
- Open Reminders and tap New Reminder.
- Type in the topic you want to be reminded about. Don’t hit Return yet.
- Tap the info (i) button.
- Toggle on When Messaging.
- Tap Choose Person, and pick a name from your contacts.
- Tap Done.
That’s it. The next time you chat with the person, you’ll get a notification.
How to create shared reminders
You can’t share an individual reminder, but you can create a shared list and assign reminders to specific people.
To share a list:
- Open Reminders, and find or create the list you want to share. You’ll probably want to avoid using your default one, since that might expose private details.
- Tap the Share button (a box with an arrow) in the upper right to send an invite.
- Tap People you invite can add others if you want to switch to narrower, invite-only collaboration. If you’ve already switched, you’ll see Only people you invite have access instead.
- Choose how you’d like to deliver an invitation link. Know that to collaborate, a person has to have their own Apple ID, as well as Reminders enabled in iCloud settings.
- Repeat steps 2 through 4 for other people you’d like involved, and wait for everyone to accept their invites.
People with list access can add and edit reminders and mark them as completed. To assign a task to a specific person, create or edit a reminder in a shared list, and type @ followed by the person’s name. Alternately, you can tap the people icon during the editing process.
How to edit and delete reminders
To edit a reminder, just find it in the Reminders app and select it. You’ll see a cursor appear in front of the text, and you can tap the info (i) button to change other details.
To delete a reminder, find it and swipe left on it. Tap Delete.