iOS 13 puts your iPhone's Reminders app on steroids

You can even create a reminder that's triggered the next time you talk to a contact. It's crazy.

Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
3 min read

The new and improved Reminders app on iOS 13. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

The Reminders app on iOS 13 and iPadOS has been completely redesigned. It looks nothing like the version we've had since iOS 7, and that's for the better. Not only does the Reminders app have a new look, but it's also much, much smarter. 

For example, now you can just type out "Baseball practice every Wednesday" and the app will create the reminder, with the proper date automatically. Or if you keep forgetting to ask your friend about something, Reminders will pick up the slack. 

There's a pretty big caveat, however, for using the new Reminders features right now: Some of the new features in Reminders require iOS 13, iPadOS 13 or MacOS Catalina. iOS 13 is out, iPadOS will be out on Sept. 30, but MacOS Catalina won't launch until sometime in October. If you absolutely need to access your Reminders list on your Mac, do not select the Upgrade option when prompted. 

With that said, let's look at some of the new features, including adding attachments, new smart lists and tagging contacts. 

Watch this: iOS 13: Cool features you'll want to try now

Smarter Reminder creation

Instead of having to enter a name for the reminder, then scroll through a date picker for its due date, just start typing the reminder and when it's due, iOS 13 will pick out keywords, like "tomorrow" and fill out the due date. It even works with recurring reminders ("every Thursday at 6 p.m."). 

You'll know when Reminders has picked out a keyword or phrase because the text will turn blue.

Add attachments

You can now add attachments to your reminders. Scanned documents, photos and URLs can be saved with a reminder, putting the information you need at your fingerprints when it's time to complete the reminder. 

Say you need to pick up a specific kind of cheese at the store, and your partner sends you a picture so you can reference it when you get there. You can create a reminder for the store's address with that photo attached to it, and it will alert you with the photo once you get to the store. Neat, right? 


Reminders can be triggered by contacts in Messages now. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Smart lists

When you open Reminders, you'll find four categories at the top: Today, Scheduled, Flagged and All. Tap on one of the categories to view the respective reminders, regardless of which list they belong to, in one spot. 

Below those four categories, you'll also see Siri Suggestions for reminders. These suggestions are taken from apps like Messages, with direct links to the specific part of your conversation that Siri thought you'd like to be reminded about, as well as a due date. 

Tag people for Message reminders

You can now tag a person when you create a reminder that your iPhone will remind you about the next time you talk to that person. 

For example, if you need to ask Jane about paying for rent, you can create a reminder such as, "Ask Jane about rent," tagging Jane in the reminder. The next time you start messaging Jane in the Messages app, you'll receive a notification reminding you to ask her about rent. Create a reminder, and then turn on the Remind me when messaging option, followed by the contact. 

iOS 13 and iPadOS have plenty of new features worth checking out. From an improved Messages search to a gesture-based keyboard, there's a whole lot to like. 

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