How to Master Reminders App on macOS

Master Reminders App Mac Featured

The macOS Reminders app has always been a good way to create tasks and manage your to-do lists. Released all the way back in iOS 5 and Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, it has become a staple of Apple’s default app lineup. Even as it has plenty of competition from third parties, Apple has continued to beef up its capabilities. That’s especially true over the past 18 months, as Apple has redesigned the app almost from the ground up. Let’s take a look at how you can quickly master the improved Reminders app on the Mac.

How to Create a Reminder

There are three primary ways to create a new reminder. None is better than the other, but they each provide a way to get something added to the Reminders app quickly. The first way is to do it directly from the app itself:

1. Open the Reminders app and tap on the list you want (left side) or tap “Add List” toward the bottom of the app.

Master Reminders App Mac Create Reminder

2. Tap the “+” sign at the top right, write your reminder and click Done.

Master Reminders App Mac Create Reminder Plus

Use Siri:

1. Say “Hey Siri, (insert your reminder)”. It might look something like “Hey Siri, remind me to drop the dog off at 3pm“. That’s it.

Master Reminders App Mac Use Siri

2. Siri can also understand location-based reminders as well if you have your home or work addresses enabled in your contacts.

Using the Share Pane

All of Apple’s default apps and a variety of third-party options include the Share pane.

Master Reminders App Mac Share Pane

1. To set a reminder, click the Share button, and a pop-up window opens.

Master Reminders App Mac Share Pane Popup

2. Inside this pop-up, you can choose which list you want to add the reminder to, add an image, set a priority level and more.

Smart Lists

Smart lists are the four pre-chosen selections that are available on the left side of the Reminders app.

Master Reminders App Mac Smart Lists
  • Today will show any reminder that you’ve set for today’s date. Overdue tasks will appear here as well.
  • Scheduled” will show any reminder that you have assigned a due date.
  • All” will show all of your outstanding reminders, repeat or otherwise. This is an all-encompassing look at everything you have left to complete.
  • Flagged” will show any reminder that has been flagged. A prime example of flagged is a doctor’s appointment. When adding the Reminder, click on the flag icon right beneath where you enter your reminder text. It will automatically appear in the “Flagged” smart list within a few moments.


Another very handy feature of the Reminders app is the ability to create subtasks. You can use subtasks to help divide a specific reminder into a number of different steps.

1. Enter the task or reminder that will become the “primary” or “parent” task.

Master Reminders App Mac Subtasks One

2. Add a second task that will become the subtask.

3. Right-click on the second task using your mouse or trackpad. A pop-up menu will appear. Select the option “Indent Reminder.”

Master Reminders App Mac Subtasks Indent

4. The second task will now automatically move into a subtask position.

Master Reminders App Mac Subtasks Final

Add Images to Reminders

The Reminders app now lets you add an image with reminders. It’s really easy.

1. Enter any task or reminder that you wish to add an image to.

2. Click on the “i” that is to the right of any task.

Master Reminders App Mac I Button

3. The last option on the pop-up window has an option for “Add image.”

Master Reminders App Mac Add Image

4. Click on that option and add any image from your library by dragging it into your chosen reminder.

Master Reminders App Mac Photos Final

5. Add multiple images by repeating the same steps and dragging multiple photos into the Reminders app.

Edit Reminders

None of your reminders are written in stone. They can all be edited countless times without any impact.

1. Enter a reminder into the app.

2. Click on the “i” that is to the right of any task.

Master Reminders App Mac I Button

3. A now-familiar pop-up window will appear with a variety of options. Edit the reminder by placing the mouse cursor anywhere in the text and typing.

Master Reminders App Mac Edit Options

4. This is also the right moment to go back and add a due date, location, priority, or a website URL that relates to the reminder as well as images.

Messaging Reminders

Master Reminders App Mac Messaging Person

This is an interesting and useful option that Apple has included in its Reminders app. The app can send you a notification when you’re using iMessage with a specific person that has been preselected. When adding a reminder, click the box that says “When Messaging a Person” and select them from your contact list. The next time you chat with that person over iMessage, you will receive a notification about the reminder.

iCloud Sync

Master Reminders App Mac Icloud

As is the case with most of Apple’s default apps, iCloud ensures that any macOS reminders are synced directly to your iPhone and/or Apple Watch. You will see the same reminders, tasks, smart lists, custom lists, subtasks and more.

Wrapping Up

The macOS Reminders app has taken massive steps forward over the last two years, especially with the release of iOS 13 and macOS Catalina. The app is by no means perfect and lacks many features third-party apps are happy to fill the gap with. However, it’s more than good enough to stay on top of any day-to-day or repeat tasks that you need to constantly remember.

David Joz
David Joz

David is a freelance tech writer with over 15 years of experience in the tech industry. He loves all things Nintendo.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox