How to Set Reminders on the iPhone

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

Use the iOS Reminders app to keep up with projects, errands, and to-do lists. For added convenience, Siri can add new reminders to any of your lists with a simple voice command, although you can also create, manage, and display lists manually. Learn how to use the Reminders app, including how to create lists and reminders—with or without Siri—using an iPhone or iPad with iOS 12 or later.

How to Set Reminders 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 select New Reminder in the lower-left corner.

  2. In the New Reminder screen, enter a title for the reminder, as well as any pertinent notes.

  3. You can choose Add to set the reminder as is, but you will likely need to add date and time information for the reminder to work as intended. Select Details to choose optional date, time, and location settings.

    iPhone Set Reminder
  4. Optional: Toggle the Date slider to the On position. Then, set a date for the reminder and select whether to repeat the reminder.

  5. Optional: Toggle the Time slider to the On position and choose a time for the reminder on the date specified in the previous step.

  6. Optional: Toggle the Location slider to the On position. The Reminders app uses the GPS feature to know when you arrive or depart a specified location, triggering a reminder. When choosing a location, select your Home, Work, or other custom address.

    iPhone set reminder details
  7. Optional: Select Priority and choose either None, Low, Medium, or High. 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.

  8. Select Add to save the reminder.

How to Create a List Using the Reminders App

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

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

  1. Open the Reminders app and select Add List in the lower-right corner.

  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 color-code or associate the list with a color.

  4. Select Done to save the empty list.

    iPhone Reminders add list
  5. Reopen the list (under My Lists) and tap anywhere in the black space to add an item. Alternatively, select New Reminder in the lower-right corner.

  6. Enter a list item. Select the calendar icon to set a reminder for the item or the arrow icon to set a location. Repeat to add additional items.

    iPhone Reminders app add items to list
  7. Select Done when finished adding items.

  8. Select the Edit menu in the upper-right corner (three dots) to change the name and appearance of the list, rearrange the order, show or hide a completed item, or delete the list.

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

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

  10. Choose Lists to return to the Reminders main menu.

    iPhone Reminders app edit items

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

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, go to the Settings app, scroll down, and select Siri & Search.

  2. Choose one of two (or both) options for accessing Siri:

    • Toggle the Listen for "Hey Siri" slider to the On (green) position.
    • Toggle the Press Home for Siri slider to the On (green) position.
  3. Select Enable Siri to confirm.

    iPhone enable Siri
  4. If you have not already done so, proceed through the setup process to initiate.

Use 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.

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 the Apple iCloud service. As you create or manage content in it, 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 when and where 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.

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.

As of iOS 14.5, you can sort reminders by title, priority, due date, or creation date, as well as print reminder lists.

Share 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, select Add People. Choose how you'd like to share the list, then select your recipients.

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