How to use iOS Reminders on your iPhone

Do you use the reminders app on your iPhone? These tips will help you use reminders effectively, particularly so far as Siri is concerned.

Apple, iOS, iPhone, iPad, Reminders

Do you use the Reminders app on your iPhone? A little knowledge is usually all it takes to use reminders effectively, particularly so far as Siri is concerned.

Sync up your reminders

You can choose to keep your reminders solely on the device – this can be useful if some of your reminders are private or if you are setting work-based prompts on your business iPhone, but most people will choose to sync them across all their devices. Sync is controlled here: Settings>iCloud>Reminders, set to on (green). When this is enabled, your Reminder will appear across all the devices you have logged into your account.

How to add a reminder manually

Open up your reminders app, and select the appropriate reminders list. Once in the list, you can type (or dictate) you reminder and edit its details by tapping the small circle-surrounded ‘i’ icon that appears to the right of the item (see below).

Another way to create a new reminder is to tap the Plus icon at the top right of the main reminder index page. Here you can add a new reminder or add a new list of such reminders.

How to add a reminder with Siri

You can ask Siri to remind you of tasks. Just say, “Hey, Siri” and then describe the task. You can create quite complex reminders, such as “Hey, Siri, remind me to call Tim Cook on March 12 to request an update on Project Titan.” Siri will let you know it has set the reminder and give you a chance to Remove it if it is incorrect.

How to add a reminder to a specific list with Siri

Siri is also smart enough to know the difference between the lists you create inside your Reminders app. That’s why you can say things like: “Hey, Siri, add a reminder to request a research allowance to my Work list.”

How to change the details of a reminder

Once you have created a reminder, you can edit details, including:

  • Reminder title
  • Remind me on a day
  • Alarm, date, and time
  • Set unique, daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, and annual reminders
  • Create custom reminders, for example a weekly reminder that only appears on a Sunday once every 7 weeks
  • Schedule when reminders cease to function by setting an End Repeat Date or leaving the reminder to keep going forever
  • Set a reminder that appears when you are at a location (see below)
  • Prioritize reminders
  • Set the list
  • Add notes to reminders, such as contact names, location, or what not.

To reach the edit details window, either tap the circled I button to the right of the reminder or swipe left on an individual item and then choose More (be careful not to tap Delete, or you will lose that reminder). Most of these settings are fairly straightforward to set up, but the power of location-based reminders merits a little more explanation.

How to make location-based reminders

So long as you have Location Settings enabled for Reminders (Settings>Privacy>Location) you can create reminders that will appear when you arrive at or leave specific locations.

  • Once you have created your reminder, tap the circled I or access the More item and then toggle the Remind me at a location setting to on (green):
  • You will see a new Location row appear under the toggle, this is called Location.
  • Tap this, and you will be able to define which location to use, with Current Location and your Home address both listed at the top.
  • Tap the appropriate location on the list, or enter the correct address using the text input at the top of this page.
  • Once you tap the relevant item, you will be able to choose how you want this reminder to be invoked: ‘When I arrive’ or ‘When I leave’.

You will also see a map. This will show the appropriate location on an Apple Map surrounded by a blue circle with a single black dot. This defines the location-sensitive area.

  • Tap and hold the black dot on the circle and you can make that location-sensitive area larger or smaller.
  • The reminder will not be initiated until your iOS device thinks it has crossed that line.

(I tend to set the radius quite wide when I’m setting reminders to pick something up on my way somewhere, as this gives me time to do so before I arrive.)

How to use Siri to set a location-based reminder

The great thing about location-based reminders is that you can ask Siri to sort these out for you. So, when you need to pick up some milk on your way to work you can tell Siri, “Hey Siri, remind me to pick up milk today on my way to work,” and Siri will let you know. Though only if you have created an entry in your contacts book called “work’ that contains the relevant address

How to share your reminders

It’s possible to share a list of Reminders with others, but only so long as they use iCloud. This is especially useful when you are collaborating on a project of some kind. To add someone to your reminders list, just select the appropriate list and then tap Edit.

Two items will appear: Color and Sharing.

The first lets you choose one of seven different colors for your list (purple, green, blue, yellow, brown, red, and orange). Tap the Sharing item, and you’ll be able to manually add a person’s email or telephone number to your Reminder. (That process is made a little easier because the feature integrates with your contacts book.)

The person(s) you invite will receive an invitation to share the Reminder. Once they accept, they will be able to share and create new reminders in that lists, making this as useful for family tasks as it is for business projects.

One more thing: If you use Family Sharing, you can set up reminders that will be provided to some or all of your family members.

How to manage reminders

Reminders are kept in two lists: current and completed. To see the completed reminders on your device, just tap Show Completed at the bottom of the page. When you complete a task, just tap the circle to tell the application so, or swipe left to access the Delete command when you don’t need that item any longer.

How to create different Reminder lists

You can also create different collections of reminders. You might have a set for home and others for family or work. You might keep reminders for any projects you’re attempting to get done in one place. And most of us need a groceries list.

To create a new collection: Get to the front page of the app, by tapping the file card at the bottom of the window. You should now see all your lists in one window. To create a new list, tap the Plus button at the top of the page to the right of the search bar.

How to see all your upcoming reminders on one page

So, you’ve got five lists containing different collections of reminders. Does that mean you must manually go through each of those lists to monitor for what events you have coming up? Of course not – just tap Scheduled to see all your reminders from across all your lists in one place.

How to get Siri to remind you of what you are doing

One of the most useful features of Siri and reminders is that you can use them to remind you of what you are doing. So, when you are on a web page you can ask Siri to remind you of that page the following day. Siri will create a reminder that also includes a link to that page. You can also use this to remind you to interact with specific apps.

More information

More information on creating location-based reminders.

Apple hosts its own reminders pages here.

I hope this short article helps you get a little more out of using reminders on your iPhone.

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Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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