Pro Tips for Using Tags to Organize Tasks in Apple Reminders

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Image created by Jonathan Wylie

In today’s fast-paced world, keeping track of our daily tasks can be challenging. With so many responsibilities and commitments, it’s easy to forget important tasks and miss deadlines. This is where task management tools like Apple Reminders are helpful.

One of its most useful features is the ability to use tags to organize your tasks. Tags help you categorize and prioritize your to-do list and, when used correctly, they can make it easier to achieve your goals.

So, here’s everything you need to know about using tags in Apple Reminders on an iPhone or iPad.

Adding a Tag to a Task

If you’ve never created a tag before, you have some options. The easiest method is just to tap the hashtag on the toolbar at the top of the keyboard while adding a task, and then type the hashtag you would like to add.

If you prefer, you can type the hashtag symbol manually, and then add a word while creating a new task. For example, you could write, Buy Milk #groceries.

This method also works well when you are adding a task via the iOS Share Sheet. So, if you find a useful website you want to save, tap the Share arrow, choose Reminders, and add a hashtag to the end of the website title before you save it.

You can also tap on any existing task to edit it, and then tap the “i” button. This brings you to a secondary menu where you can select Tags. In the Tags menu, you can enter a new tag, or select from your existing tags.

Image created by Jonathan Wylie

Note that tags are only available for tasks you created in your iCloud account. If you use a Microsoft account with the Reminders app, tags won’t work. Go to Settings > Reminders > Accounts to check your setup.

Tags can also only be one word. However, if you want to get creative, you can use hyphens or underscores for longer tags like, #party_planning.

Add a Tag to Multiple Tasks

If you’re new to tags, you might appreciate the ability to add a tag to multiple tasks at one time. Here’s how that works.

  1. Open the Reminders app
  2. Tap on a list with the tasks you want to tag
  3. Tap the three dots in the top-right corner
  4. Choose, Select Reminders, and tap the tasks you would like to tag
  5. In the bottom-right corner, tap the three dots
  6. Select, Add Tag
  7. Choose from your existing tags, or create a new tag
  8. Tap Apply when you are done
Image created by Jonathan Wylie

Unfortunately, this only works when you select multiple tasks from the same list. If you have tasks on a different list that also need the same tag, you have to do those separately.

Viewing Tasks With Tags

Tags can be viewed in the tag browser. The tag browser lives at the bottom of the screen underneath your lists. You can show or hide tags in the tag browser by tapping the word “Tags”.

To view tasks with a specific tag, tap the tag in the tag browser to view those tasks. You can also tap “All Tags” to view all of your tasks that have tags attached to them.

Image created by Jonathan Wylie

To view tasks with more than one tag on an iPhone, tap the first tag, e.g., #groceries. Then, at the top of the screen, choose an additional tag that you would like to filter by. On the iPad, you can just tap multiple tags.

You can decide if tasks should match any of the selected tags, or all of the selected tags, by picking “All Selected” or “Any Selected”. It’s a subtle but important difference.

If you want to sort the tasks in a tag view by date or priority, tap the three dots in the top-right corner and select “Sort By” to see your options.

Remove a Tag from a Task

To remove a tag from a task, tap the tag on a task to select it, and then tap the delete key on your keyboard.

You can also tap on a task to edit it, and tap the “i” button next to a task. This returns you to the Tags menu, where you can tap on one or more blue tags to deselect them.

If you want to remove a tag from multiple tasks, follow the steps above for adding a tag to multiple tasks. Then, when you get to step 7, tap on one or more blue tags to deselect them.

Delete or Rename a Tag

If you’ve been experimenting with tags and need to delete some test subjects, find your tag browser at the bottom of the list screen. Press and hold on the tag you want to remove, and select “Delete Tag”.

If the tag is currently attached to one or more tasks, you will be greeted with a pop-up warning that tells you how many tasks have that tag. If you continue and tap “Delete”, the tag will be deleted. However, the tasks that had that tag will remain in the lists where they currently reside.

Renaming a tag is a similar process. All you have to do is find your tag in the tag browser. Press and hold on the tag you want to rename, and then select “Rename Tag”.

Image created by Jonathan Wylie

Create a Smart List With Tags

If you want a quick way to view tasks with two or more tags, you can create a Smart List. The Smart List will live alongside your other lists and is a fast way to filter tasks. Here’s how that works.

  1. Open Apple Reminders
  2. Create a new List by tapping the Add List button
  3. Name your list and choose an icon and/or color
  4. Next, tap “Make into Smart List”
  5. Select “Tags” from the filter screen
  6. Choose “All Selected Tags” and pick the tags you want to use
  7. Tap “Done” to save your list

If you prefer, you can choose “Any Selected Tags” to view individual tasks that have any, but not all, of the tags that you selected.

Image created by Jonathan Wylie

Using Tags as GTD Contexts

In his book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, David Allen talks about contexts as a way to review and categorize tasks on your to-do list to help you be more productive.

For instance, you could create tags like #home, #office, #computer, or #walmart to categorize tasks by the location or environment where these tasks are most relevant.

Other examples could include contexts based on the energy levels required for a task, (#high, #medium, #low), the person the task is associated with, (#boss, #spouse, #teacher, #parent), or the tool you need to complete a task, (#notion, #excel, #wordpress).

There is definitely some debate in the GTD community about how important contexts are in a world where more people are working at home and everything you do is online.

However, it’s still an interesting concept to think about, and if you can find a way to make them work for you, tags in Apple Reminders are an effective way to manage GTD contexts.

Disclaimer: This article contains an Amazon affiliate link. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

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