How to Set Reminders on the iPhone

Use your iOS device to keep up with projects, errands, and to-dos

Photo of a woman's hand with a string tied around her finger, representing a reminder for something

 Katie Black Photography / Getty Images

Keep up with projects, errands, and to-dos with the iPhone Reminders app. Use Reminders to make and manage to-do lists and keep track of everything you need to do and remember. When it comes to adding a new reminder entry to one of your lists, Siri is a convenient way to go, although you can also create, manage, and display your lists in the iPhone app.

Instructions in this article apply to iOS 12 on iPhone and iPad devices.

When to Use the Reminders App

The Reminders app is like an interactive list manager. On your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, create as many separate, custom-named lists as you want. Each list holds any number of individual to-dos or items. Each entry can have an optional date and time, location, and priority level associated with it along with free-form notes. As you finish an item on a list, manually mark it complete with a tap on your iPhone.

The Reminders app is integrated with Apple's iCloud service. As you create or manage content in the Reminders app, it syncs with the compatible computers and mobile devices linked to your iCloud account. As a result, your lists and reminders are accessible to you whenever and wherever you need them as long as you have an internet-connected device.

Out and about? Tap the digital crown on your Apple Watch and tell Siri to add ice cream to your grocery list or put "clean the deck" on your to-do list.

How to Activate Siri on an iPhone

Before Siri can be used with the Reminders app, activate Siri on the iPhone. Here's how:

  1. On the iPhone home screen, tap the Settings app.

  2. Select Siri & Search.

  3. Tap the Listen for "Hey Siri" slider to turn it to the On (green) position.

  4. Tap the Press Side Button for Siri slider to turn it to the On position.

  5. Select My Information and choose your Contact card.

    Settings icon, Siri & Search, Siri Options in iOS

Using Siri With the Reminders App

The easiest way to create a reminder using the Reminders app is to activate Siri and begin the command by saying Remind me to or Set a reminder to. This alerts Siri to create a reminder in the Reminders app rather than an appointment in the Calendar app or a note in the Notes app. Next, speak the content of the reminder or list item.

Here are a few examples:

  • To associate a time and date with a reminder item, say Remind me to get an oil change Tuesday at 3 p.m. or Remind me to get an oil change July 7 at 3 p.m.
  • To associate a location with a reminder, say Remind me to feed the dog when I get home or Remind me to call John Doe to discuss the third-quarter projections when I get to work.
  • To set a reminder associated with an address, say Remind me to pick up my package when I arrive at 123 Main Street, Anytown, New York.
Giving verbal instructions to Siri

For Siri to understand where you live and work, your location information must be associated with your contact entry in the Contacts app. When you create a new reminder using Siri, it goes on a default list that you assign in Settings unless you instruct Siri to add the new item to a different list. If you say something like Add buy filters to my Saturday to-do list, the entry appears on the list you specify.

To assign a default list, launch Settings on the iPhone, scroll down, and tap Reminders. Tap Default List, then select a list to designate it as the default.

How to Create a Reminder on the iPhone

When using Siri, you can add entries to lists, but you can't view, manage, or share those lists outside of the Reminders app. These tasks are accomplished in the Reminders app on the iPhone.

Two formats are available in the Reminders app: reminders and lists. To create a new Reminder on the iPhone:

  1. Open the Reminders app and tap the + (plus sign) located to the right of the Search field.

  2. Select Reminder.

  3. In the Create Reminder screen, enter a title for the reminder.

  4. Tap the Remind me on a day slider to turn it to the On position. Then, set a date for the reminder, designate an alarm on that day at a specified time, and select whether to repeat the reminder.

    Plus button, Reminder button, Exercise class, remind me on a day, remind me at a location on iOS
  5. Tap the Remind me at a location slider to turn it to the On position. This associates a location with a reminder. When choosing a location, select your Home, Work, or other address associated with a contact entry stored in the Contacts app. After you associate an address with a reminder, tap When I Arrive or When I Leave to generate an alert when you arrive or depart the specified location.

    The Reminders app uses the GPS feature of your phone to inform you when you arrive or depart a specified location.

    Remind me at a location, When I Arrive options in iOS
  6. In the Priority section, tap either !, !!, or !!! to associate an optional priority to the reminder. The default option is None. The Reminders app does not re-sort items in a list based on priority, it only displays the priority associated with each item.

  7. Tap List to associate the reminder with a particular list. Otherwise, the item is placed on the default list.

  8. In the Notes section, enter notes related to the item. Use cut and paste to insert content from other apps, such as a photo.

  9. Tap Done to save the entry.

How to Create a List Using the Reminders App

Creating an interactive list in the Reminders app is similar to creating a reminder.

  1. Open the Reminders app, tap the + (plus sign), then select List.

  2. In the New List field, enter a title for the list. For example, type Grocery List or To-Do List.

  3. Tap a colored dot to associate the list with a color.

  4. Tap Done to save the empty list.

    List, Plus button, colors, and Done button on iOS
  5. Reopen the list and tap + (plus sign) to create a new entry in the list.

  6. Tap an entry to display the Info icon to the right of the listing. Tap Info to access the Details associated with the item. Then, choose a time and date, select a location, add a priority, and enter notes. Tap Done to exit the Details screen.

  7. Tap the + (plus sign) that appears after the last entry to enter additional list items.

    Plus button, Done, and delete buttons in iOS Reminders
  8. Tap Edit to make changes to the list or reorder the items.

  9. Tap Done to save your changes.

  10. When you complete an item, tap the circle to the left of the item.

  11. To delete an individual list item, swipe from right to left across the listing and tap Delete.

Manage the Reminders Lists

When viewing or managing a list in the Reminders app, tap the bottom of the screen to reveal the main menu that contains all the lists. From here, you can access or manage every list you create in the app.

Each list has a unique title and can be color-coded for visual reference. For example, assign a blue color to work-related lists, green to personal lists, yellow to phone call lists, and red to urgent lists.

To open a list, tap its name. To delete a list, open it, tap Edit, then tap Delete List. To reorganize the display order of the lists, place and hold a finger on a list item and drag it up or down.

Share the Lists With Others

Reminders can be set up to automatically sync across all your iOS mobile devices, Macs, and PCs that run iCloud for Windows. You can also share individual lists with specific people.

Before you share a list, open the list and tap Edit to rearrange the list or delete items. To share the list, tap Sharing and, in the Add person field, enter the email address.

Edit, Sharing, Add person for iOS Reminders