Apple Reminders: What’s New in iOS 17 and macOS Sonoma

Apple Reminders is about to get some big updates thanks to iOS 17 and macOS Sonoma. And I couldn’t be happier.

Grocery lists, sections, column views, and more reminder options are just some of the new features that you can look forward to as Apple continues to find ways to boost productivity and streamline your workflow.

Here’s a quick look at what you can expect.

1. Grocery Lists

One of the biggest highlights for Apple Reminders in iOS 17 and macOS Sonoma are grocery lists. Apple has leveraged one of the more common uses of Reminders and given it some much-needed love.

You can now designate a list as a grocery list. When you do, Reminders will automatically sort things on this list into grocery store categories like Produce, Household, or Deli.

It does this by adding sections to separate items in a list. You can change the view of sections to a Kanban-style board with horizontal organization.

Sections can be reordered to better represent the order that they appear in your grocery store, and will be hidden automatically hide if there are no items in it.

Some grocery items may not be automatically placed, depending on what you call something or how you spell it. Those can be manually assigned to a category as needed.

2. Add Sections to a List

The same sections that automatically appear in a Grocery list can be manually applied to any list to help you group tasks in a list.

The Today view has had sections for a while like Morning, Afternoon, and Tonight, but those are system sections. In iOS 17 and macOS Sonoma, you can create sections of your own.

You could use sections for dividing up a list into days, stages, or simply to group similar tasks like phone calls or emails together.

3. A New Column View

Another carryover from grocery lists is the new column view that can be applied to any new or existing list. If you have seen or used Trello, you’ll know what this looks like.

Tasks are separated into columns based on the section that they are in, and you can maximize your view by hiding the sidebar for a full-screen effect.

Many task managers, like Todoist, already have this feature, so it’s great to see it as an option in Apple Reminders.

4. Early Reminder Notifications

You have always had the ability to be notified on a specific date or time about a task in your list. However, in iOS 17 and macOS Sonoma, you can add an early reminder.

This is available by tapping or clicking the “i” next to a task, and choosing the number of minutes, hours, days, or months that you would like to be reminded ahead of time.

I could see this being good for things like anniversaries or birthdays. You will want to be reminded about the event on the day, but you may also like some early notice to buy a card or gift for that person.

5. New Reminder Widgets

Apple has reworked widgets for iOS 17 and macOS Sonoma. Widgets are now interactive, which means you can now complete tasks from a home screen widget on iOS, iPadOS, or macOS.

You can select the list that you want to appear on your widget, and even have multiple Reminders widgets with different lists on each widget.

Unfortunately, sections don’t show up on home screen widgets, but the ability to marks tasks as complete without opening the app is a handy feature to have.

6. A Customizable Toolbar

The iPad version of Apple Reminders now has the option to customize the toolbar that you see at the top of a list. It lets you drag to add or remove an icon from the toolbar.

There are only five icons to play with — date, location, flag, tag, and camera — but if you want to clean up your toolbar, this is a great option to have.

To rearrange the icons in the toolbar, you tap the three dots in the top-right corner of a list, and select “Customize Toolbar”.

7. Create Reminders from Suggestions

The ability to be notified about a reminder when texting someone in Messages has been in Apple Reminders for a while now. However, Apple is expanding that to other areas of the operating system.

You will soon see intelligent prompts in other apps like Mail or Notes to suggest you add something to a list in Reminders. Apple will use machine learning to save information from emails and notes to Reminders when it detects something useful.

Final Thoughts

Personally, I’m really pleased to see that Apple is committed to improving Apple Reminders. We got some meaningful updates last year, and that initiative has been carried forward to this year’s releases.

I use Reminders every day. It’s the task manager I use for getting things done at work and at home, so I welcome any updates that Apple can muster. What about you?

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