iOS 5: Reminders


Reminders, new in iOS 5(s aapl), is a very simplistic task management app that syncs automatically between devices with iCloud. While it isn’t particularly complex or involved, Reminders does use location-based information to remind you when you need to get something from the store while you’re actually near the store.

Setting up Reminders

Reminders is automatically installed when you upgrade to iOS 5. To set up iCloud syncing, simply go to iCloud Settings and make sure Reminders is set to ON. The syncing happens transparently; you don’t need to do a thing to get your reminders to sync between all your iOS and OS X devices.

Using Reminders

The first time you launch Reminders, you only have one list: Reminders. On the iPad, you can see both your lists and reminders in one window. On the iPhone, you will need to tap the  icon to view them. To add a new list, tap Edit, then Create New List.

To create a new reminder, select the list you want to add the reminder to, and press the + icon. Type in the name of the reminder, and tap return. If you tap the > icon to the right of the name, you can set due date and location.

Using location-aware Reminders

One of the neat features in Reminders is the ability to set a reminder based on where you are. You can tell it to remind you when you either get there or leave. So, you can have it remind you to “get gas” when you leave  home, or “meet with the Bobs” when you arrive at work. Unfortunately, I can’t see a way to set it to remind you to do something at a specific time at a specific location (i.e. remind me to reboot a server at 9 p.m. when I’m at work). In testing, the time-based reminder took precedence over the location. This is likely asking too much of the app. You will need to be specific on your locations, too. If I want to be reminded to grab milk when I go to Stop and Shop, I need to feed it that Stop and Shop’s address.

Overall, I’m happy with Reminders. I don’t deal with a lot of project-level data. My reminder needs are very basic: article deadlines I’m committed to, forms that need to be filled out by a date, and calls I need to make. Do you see yourself using Reminders very often?



Why on earth can I not enter an address when I set up a new task? Why would I want to have the local gas station in my address book??


One very annoying lack of feature: see all “NOT completed” reminders at once.

Hannibal Tabu

I was gonna use it until I found iCloud was a requirement, not an option. I don’t want to use cloud based anything.


I have both my iPhone 4 and iPad 2 set up the same way. Whatever I do with reminders and notes on my iPad 2 synch with iPhone. Whenever I use reminders or notes on the iPhone, it’s NOT synching to iPad. Thoughts?


“my amnesia” app is a location reminder app that is already available on app store and its for ios 4.3 and up

lb hough

Kim – you say you got it to work with outlook? but do you have to be using iCloud? I can make reminders on 4S sync to hotmail, but not to outlook 2003. My work computer is still XP, so I cant use iCloud. Does anyone know…do you have to be using iCloud for reminders to sync with Outlook? Maybe thats why iTunes 10 doesnt ask you ?


My wife and I use the same PC and apple Id to sync our iphones. How can we get different set of reminders for each one of us. currenlty when we sync, she gets MY remanders and loose Hers.


I have a Reminders icon on my home page of my iPad.
How do I get a Reminders icon on the home page of my iPod Touch ???


I would love a corresponding OSX app for this. I’m not an iCal user, so the inherent “To Do” sync with iCal is useless for me.

Tom B

I had the same issue as those with 3gs and 4s where at a location was not an option. I fixed it by cycling the location services checkbox off then back on. It was on, but wasn’t working which was odd.


Tried this on a 3GS, but with no luck. Cycled location on and off, switched phone on and off- nothing worked. I have icloud linked to outlook on my pc- could this be a problem ?


How do you add a due date to a reminder? I have it on one of mine but im not sure how it got there.

Dianne C

To the iPhone 4 users that do not see the location based reminder option, make sure you have location services enabled in settings. Look for the Reminders app in the list of applications that are location aware and make sure that the on/off switch is set to On.

One limitation that I find frustrating on Location reminders is that the app will only use your current location or addresses in your address book. You can’t manually enter an address. I hope they will address this shortcoming in a future update.


simply create a new contact with the name of the store, address and phone, then it will show up in the Location when you select it.


I don’t see “reminders” in my list of apps in Location Services. I’m using iCloud if that helps…


One thing to be aware of is that location reminders can drain your battery life by quite a bit because your phone/Reminders will constantly check where you’re at.

ilan peer

I couldn’t see where I can feed it a specific address. It only let me set an address that’s assigned to a contact person.


Can anyone tell me how I actually sync reminders with outlook tasks? It’s not happening now – do I need to do something?

Peter Burbidge

I have the same problem and can’t find anything on the web to help. I’ve tested in both directions, but to no avail……help!!!!

Forrest Cobb

I was so frustrated by this! You have to enable iCloud in order to sync your reminders (wired our otherwise). Dumb, but that makes it work.

Kim Smith Wojcik

Go into the Settings option on your phone. Choose mail, contacts, and calendars. Choose the appropriate account (I used my outlook exchange account), and turn reminders on. I have a lot of reminders in outlook so it took a while for all of them to sync.

John Ellis

It appears that you can’t sync reminders with Outlook if you’re using a POP3 account?

Mark Crump

No. Not even the 3G-enabled one from what I’m hearing. Certianly not on my iPad WiFi.

Galvin Khai Wen Loh

Aww~ im using the 2010 iPad 3G, doesnt seems to have that location reminder option :( do u think there will be any updates for us :D

John Wenn

Location based reminders also don’t seem to work on my 3GS iPhone.


Me neither – for some reason that option doesn’t appear for me on my iPhone4. I see time reminders only. Have I missed something??

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