How To: Your iPhone's Reminders App Just Got a Whole Lot More Useful

Your iPhone's Reminders App Just Got a Whole Lot More Useful

Apple just upgraded its Reminders app for iPhone, and there are some powerful new tools and improvements for task management that'll make you wonder how you ever lived without them.

You'll notice some of the new Reminders features, which come with iOS 16, right off the bat when you get the update. Still, there are hidden features that are easy to miss if you don't know where to look. Together, all the new changes make reminder lists and reminders themselves even more useful and customizable.

Keep reading to see everything the updated Reminders app includes.

1. You Can Finally Pin Lists

Like Notes and Messages, Reminders now has a pinning feature. With it, you can pin important and frequently used lists to the top for easy access, but only for your iCloud account, so it won't work for Exchange, Outlook, Yahoo, and other accounts.

From the "iCloud" or "My Lists" section on the lists page, tap and hold the list or smart list you want until the quick actions menu appears and choose "Pin." It will then move up to the top where the Today, Scheduled, All, Flagged, Completed, and Assigned for Me smart lists are.

You can also pin lists and smart lists through the swipe options. To do so, swipe right on the list and tap the pin icon or swipe right until the list disappears off-screen. You could even tap the ellipsis (•••) button, followed by "Edit Lists," and drag and drop a list or smart list to the top section.

To unpin a list, long-press it until the quick actions appear and tap "Unpin." You can also tap the ellipsis (•••) button, followed by "Edit Lists," and drag and drop a pinned list back to the iCloud or My Lists section.

2. You Can Create and Use List Templates

You can turn any list you make into a template to reuse over and over again. Open an existing list, tap the ellipsis (•••) button, choose "Save as Template," and rename it if you want. If you have any completed reminders in the list you want to save with the template, toggle the "Include Completed Reminders" switch. When done, hit "Save."

When you open the list you saved as a template, you'll see a new icon next to the share button that lets you use the template to make a new list. Tap it, choose the template you want, rename your new list, and hit "Create." You'll see it show up under iCloud or My Lists.

You can also access all your templates from the lists view. To do so, tap the ellipsis (•••) button, then "Templates." If you hit the info (i) button next to each template, you can edit it, share it, or delete it. You can also left-swipe on a template to delete it or right-swipe to share it.

3. There's a New Section for All Completed Reminders

Among the pinned lists, you'll see a new smart list called "Completed." It contains all the reminders (combined from all lists) you've marked as completed in case you want to address them later. The completed reminders are sorted by date, so you'll see sections like "Today," "Previous 7 Days," "Previous 30 Days," and older completed reminders sorted by months.

4. It's Easier to Hide the Default Smart Lists

Before, you would have to hit "Edit" from the lists view, then uncheck Today, Scheduled, All, Flagged, or Assigned to Me if you didn't want to see them all the time. You can still do that, though you tap the ellipsis (•••) followed by "Edit Lists" to get there now. However, you can hide some of them without having to do that. Instead, long-press the card and choose "Hide" from the quick actions menu.

5. You Can Format Text in Notes

Adding a note for each separate reminder is not a new feature, but formatting the text in a note is. The formatting options include bold, italic, underline, bulleted list, dashed list, and numbered list. This can be applied to any separate word or the whole note. To add notes, you can:

  • Tap the reminder, then tap the "Add Note" field below the title (this is a new feature).
  • Tap the reminder, tap the info (i) button to the right, and select the "Notes" field.
  • Left-swipe the reminder, tap "Details," and select the "Notes" field.

You can format the note while typing it or after adding it. To format while typing, tap the cursor, choose "Format" from the menu, and pick a formatting option. For example, if you choose "Bold," whatever you type will be bold until you disable it, use autocorrect, or tap a suggestion. You can even combine formatting options.

Select a word, phrase, sentence, or whole note to format content after the fact. If the menu doesn't appear, tap the selection. Then, choose "Format" and pick any formatting option.

While there is no shortcut to bold, italicize, and/or underline text, you can create lists in the note without opening the contextual menu. Use an asterisk (*) to start a bulleted list, a dash (-) for a dashed list, and 1. for a numbered list.

6. You Can Search the Web for Any Selected Text

When you select content in the reminder's name, note, URL, or tags, there's a new option available in the contextual menu to "Search Web." Tapping it will open up a new search in Safari using Google or whatever search engine you have set.

7. Today and Scheduled Smart Lists Are Organized

When you open the "Today" smart list, reminders will be organized into sections. The top is for all-day reminders, while Morning, Afternoon, and Tonight are for reminders with specific times. Before, everything was in one group. When you use the sort options now, they apply per section.

As for the "Scheduled" smart list, they now come in categories like Past Due, Today, Tomorrow, Rest of [Current Month], and by each month after that. Before, it was just one big list.

8. You Can Add Today's Items to the Badge Count

In iOS 15 and older, the badge count for Reminders on the home screen shows only overdue reminders. That's still the case in iOS 16, but you can also add items due today to the count. To include them, go to Settings –> Reminders and turn on "Include Due Today."

9. List Groups Have a New View

Groups let you file multiple lists together to stay organized, and there's a new feature available for them. First, if you don't have any groups, it's easy to make one. From the lists view, tap the ellipsis (•••), then "Edit Lists," then "Add Group," give it a name, choose which lists you want to include, and tap "Create."

Now, when you tap the group you just created, you will get a combined view of the lists it contains and the reminders from those lists. In iOS 15 and older, tapping the group would only show you its lists.

10. You Can Receive Notifications for Shared Lists

You can now choose to get a notification for newly added or completed tasks in a shared list. For a list shared with you or one you shared with others, either:

  • Long-press the shared list from the lists view and tap "Manage Shared List."
  • Tap the user's profile icon in the shared list and select "Manage Shared List."

Then, toggle notifications on or off for when someone adds or completes a reminder.

11. You Can Filter Reminders by Any Tag, Not Just All

In iOS 15, you can add tags to reminders and use the tag browser to filter reminders to show only those with the tag or group of tags you select. Now, instead of just showing reminders with all the tags you choose to filter by, you can show any reminder with at least one of the tags.

From the tags browser at the bottom of the lists view, tap a tag or "All Tags" to filter the reminders, then choose any other tags you want. In the drop-down below the selected tags, change "all" to "any" to see reminders with one or more of the highlighted tags, not just all of them.

12. You Can Filter Out Reminders with Certain Tags

Also new to the tag browser is the ability to choose tags you want to omit from the search. When you tap a tag from the list, it highlights it. But when you tap a highlighted tag, it puts a cross through it, indicating that the filtered reminders should not have that tag even if they do have another highlighted tag.

Just updated your iPhone? You'll find new features for Podcasts, News, Books, and TV, as well as important security improvements and fresh wallpapers. Find out what's new and changed on your iPhone with the iOS 17.5 update.

Cover photo, screenshots, and GIFs by Jovana Naumovski/Gadget Hacks

Be the First to Comment

Share Your Thoughts

  • Hot
  • Latest