8 Great Updates for Apple Reminders


iOS 16 makes Apple Reminders a real contender!

Image created by Jonathan Wylie

For years, Apple Reminders was little more than a simple checklist app. People would use it to write a grocery list or to remind them to take the trash out on Sundays. Few people thought about it as a true task manager.

However, times have changed. Apple has slowly been adding more and more functionality to Reminders to help it compete with the plethora of to-do list apps in the App Store. So, here’s what’s new in iOS 16.

1. Pinned Lists

Just like in Messages, you can now use pins to make your favorite lists easier to access. Before iOS 16, you could reorder your lists to make them more intuitive for the way you like to work. However, pins take that a step further. When you pin a list, you add it to your Smart List area.

You can pin a list by pressing and holding on the list and selecting “Pin”. You can also tap the three dots in the top right corner of the List view, select “Edit Lists”, and then drag the list above the “My Lists” group to join your smart lists at the top of the screen.

Screenshot by Jonathan Wylie

2. Templates for Checklists

Every so often, I have to make a trip for work that requires me to pack a bag for a couple of nights. However, I do it so infrequently that I often forget a charging cable, a toothbrush, or my razor.

This is what templates were created for. Templates are like checklists. Once created, you can make a copy of any template and use that to check off all the items on your list, so you don’t forget anything.

The best thing about templates is that you are always working with a copy. That means you can check off everything on the list and not worry about having to recreate your packing list every time you travel.


3. Improved Lists: Scheduled and Today Lists

Apple has updated two of the most popular smart lists to make them easier to view at a glance. The Today List is now grouped by Morning, Afternoon, and Tonight. Tasks will now appear under these sub-headings depending on the time that they are scheduled.

The Scheduled List has new week and month groups to help with longer‑term organization. It has subheadings like Today, Tomorrow, The Rest of the Month, and monthly headings so you can view what is coming up at a glance.


4. New “Completed” Smart List

There’s a new Smart List in iOS 16 called “Completed”. Previously, you could only view completed tasks for an individual list. With the addition of this new Smart List, you now have one place where you can view all your completed tasks from all your lists.

The Completed Smart List also includes additional details like the list it was on and the time of day when a task was marked complete.

Screenshot by Jonathan Wylie

5. Improved List Groups

Apple has redesigned the interface for list groups. In the past, tapping on the group icon would expand the lists in the group and require you to tap on a group list to see the tasks. That changed in iOS 16.

Now, when you tap on the group icon, you can view the tasks from all the lists in the group. This new view shows tasks grouped by the list they are associated with and is a quick way to see everything in a group list.

Screenshot by Jonathan Wylie

6. Notifications in Shared Lists

Although Apple Reminders falls behind apps like Todoist and Asana when it comes to working on shared tasks, iOS 16 does include more support for notifications on shared lists. You will now get notifications when tasks are added to or completed in your shared lists.


7. Richer Notes

Task notes get an upgrade in iOS 16 with rich text formatting. You can now select text in a note to create bullets, underline, bold, or italic text. You can also do numbered lists and dashed lists.

This gives you a lot more flexibility in the kind of information you can add to a task note and could make it easier to focus on what matters.

Screenshot by Jonathan Wylie

8. Filter Tags by Any or All

Last but not least, when you sort your tasks by tags, you can choose to filter them to show reminders that match any of the selected tags you select or all of the selected tags.

This is an interesting distinction. I don’t use many tags right now, but this kind of functionality might persuade me to use them more often.


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