How to use iOS 13's Reminders app to be more productive

The Reminders app got a major overhaul in iOS 13, and it's more powerful than ever. Learn how to get the most out of iOS 13's Reminders app.

ios13reminders-hero.jpg

Image: Cory Bohon/TechRepublic

In iOS 13 and iPadOS 13, Apple has completely reimagined the Reminders app for iPhone and iPad. The Reminders app has many new features, including the ability to create sub-tasks and nested lists, Messages integration, attachments, and much more. This tutorial covers how to use these new features to get the most out of the Reminders app and to supercharge your productivity when creating and managing tasks. 

SEE: The Apple Developer Program: An insider's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

How to use groups and sub-tasks in the iOS 13 Reminders app

One of the more advanced features in the Reminders app in iOS 13 is the ability to create groups and nested lists. To create a group, perform these steps:

  1. Open Reminders.
  2. Tap the Edit button at the top of the screen.
  3. Tap Add Group at the bottom of the screen.
  4. Name the group.
  5. Tap Include and select the lists that you'd like to include in the group, then Create (Figure A).

Figure A

ios13reminders-figure-a.jpg

Creating a group is as easy as naming it and selecting the lists that should be included inside of the group.

Cory Bohon / TechRepublic

Under My Lists, your lists, as well as groups, will be displayed. Groups let you add multiple lists underneath them, and the entire group can be collapsed and shown as needed to help de-clutter your Reminders.

Sub-tasks can be used to keep track of smaller tasks that relate to a larger task. To do this, create two reminders: The parent reminder, then another reminder that will be added as a sub-task to the parent. Drag and drop the sub-task onto the parent to add it as a sub-task (Figure B).

Figure B

ios13reminders-figure-b.jpg

Sub-tasks allow for better organization of tasks into their smaller components.

How to use the Quick Toolbar in the iOS 13 Reminders app

When adding a reminder, you now have access to many of the previously hidden features of the Reminders app right in the toolbar. Tap on the clock icon to get access to the quick set times of Today, Tomorrow, This Weekend, or Custom to set the custom reminder time; tap on the GPS icon to set Arriving Home, Getting in Car, or Custom to set a custom location reminder; tap the Flag icon to flag the item; tap the Camera icon to Take Photo, select a photo from your Photo Library, or scan a document (Figure C).

Figure C

ios13reminders-figure-c.jpg

Adding reminder time, location, or attachment is as easy as tapping on one of the toolbar items.

How to add attachments in the iOS 13 Reminders app

Attachments can now be added to reminders, where URLs were previously only allowed. Attachments in the iOS 13 Reminders app can be photos or document scans (Apple does not let you attach miscellaneous files).

Select the Camera icon on the toolbar (above the keyboard) when creating a reminder to open the Attachments panel. In the panel, select Take Photo to take a photo and attach it directly to the reminder, or select Photo Library to select a photo in your library that you've already taken. If you want to scan a document, select Scan Document and the same document scanning interface available in the Notes application will appear and let you scan a single or multi-page document by hovering the device above the pages to capture the images and stitch them together. 

How to use messages integration in the iOS 13 Reminders app

New in Reminders for iOS and iPadOS 13 is the ability to integrate with messages. You can now get reminded of something when messaging people.

To do this, tap on a reminder, then tap the "i" button beside it. Scroll down to Remind Me When Messaging and enable that option, then select the Choose Person button to select the person in your contacts who will trigger the reminder.

Now when you send a message to the chosen contact, a new reminder notification will appear. Tapping on this notification reminder will cause Reminders to open your reminder (Figure D).

Figure D

ios13reminders-figure-d.jpg

When messaging people, you can have Reminders automatically remind you to complete a task.

How to customize lists in the iOS 13 Reminders app

The Reminders app now lets you customize lists by using a color and icon to differentiate it from other lists. To do this, perform these steps.

  1. Open the Reminders app.
  2. Select Edit.
  3. Tap the "i" button beside the list you'd like to edit.
  4. Select a color from the pre-defined list of colors.
  5. Select an icon from the available ones (Figure E).
  6. Tap Done.

Figure E

ios13reminders-figure-e.png

Customizing the list appearance means that you won't accidentally add the wrong reminder to the wrong list.

Also see