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Reminders: What's New in iOS 13

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.

Customization


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.

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.

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.


Grouping 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.

Nested 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


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.

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.

Related Roundups: iOS 13, iPadOS


Top Rated Comments

(View all)

2 weeks ago
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.
Rating: 16 Votes
2 weeks ago
Looks like a good improvement (which was sorely needed)
Rating: 7 Votes
2 weeks ago
I wonder why the "add list" button, "new reminder" button and "+" button (on the schedule page) are all in different locations.
Seem like very similar actions.
Rating: 7 Votes
2 weeks ago
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.
Rating: 6 Votes
2 weeks ago
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.
Rating: 5 Votes
2 weeks ago

Just curious about you guys: how will you use the picture attachment option in reminders? Whats a good example of a good reminder for that?

This would be super handy when something breaks at home or work and I need to get a part, or specific quote from a vendor on something. I would have it right there if need to email, etc... Haven't watched the video yet, but this just might replace things for me.

Right now the photo is in Photos and I have to flip back and forth. Just a little thing, but saves some steps and all in one spot.
Rating: 3 Votes
2 weeks ago

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.


You can already do this in Reminders - choose "custom" repeat, set frequency to "monthly", then "Every 3 months".



Rating: 3 Votes
2 weeks ago
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.
Rating: 3 Votes
2 weeks ago
Did anybody else read the headline as:

"Reminder [of] what's new in iOS 13"
Rating: 2 Votes
2 weeks ago

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...
Rating: 2 Votes

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