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How to Create Reminder Groups in Apple Reminders on the Mac

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Updated on: 17 August, 2021
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How to Create Reminder Groups in Apple Reminders on the Mac
Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay (Source: Pixabay)

Apple Reminders is a free, popular, and well-featured task manager. Available across the iPhone, iPad, Mac, iCloud, and Apple Watch, it provides most of the features needed for you to manage your tasks and projects.


This article covers the following topics:

  • Creating a Group
  • Moving Reminder Lists Between Groups
  • Moving Groups
  • Renaming a Group
  • Deleting a Group

Using groups in Apple Reminders allow you to group 1 or more reminder lists. This helps create a structure for your lists and reminders. How you group lists is a personal choice and depend more on how you intend to use reminders.

You may wish to keep things simple and separate lists and reminders between areas of your life such as Work, Personal, and Family.

Work Personal and Family reminder groups

Note that you cannot nest groups and unlike reminder lists, you are not able to change the default group icon or colour.

The Reminders app can be split into 4 main areas, Search, Smart Lists, Reminder Lists & Groups, and Reminders.

Reminder app layout

Groups and iCloud

Groups can only be created when you are logged into iCloud and are synchronising your reminders with iCloud. If you find you are not able to create groups and File -> New Group greyed-out, check your iCloud account is successfully logged in.

iCloud Features

Please note that there is slightly different behaviour in Apple Reminders dependant upon if you are logged into iCloud or not. You will not have the Flagged Smart List available, be able to change the icon for the reminder list or be able to create groups.

Reduced feature set without iCloud

Creating a Group

There are 2 ways to create a group, either by dragging reminder lists over the top of each other to group them together or by using the menu.

Dragging Reminder Lists

Dragging reminder lists to create groups is the most intuitive way and one I find easier. I rarely use the menu in applications and prefer either mouse/touch or keyboard shortcuts. However, there is no keyboard shortcut to create a group.

Groups can only be created from existing reminder lists and you cannot create an empty group. However, if you delete all reminder lists from a group it does leave the group empty. You will need at least 2 lists to be able to create a group using this method. Refer to How to Create Reminder Lists in Apple Reminders on the Mac article for the steps to create reminder lists.

STEP #1  Drag one reminder list over another

Select the first reminder list and drag it over the top of the second.

Drag one reminder list over another

The second list will be highlighted as you hover over it. Here we drag the Shopping list over the Holiday Planning list.

Drag one reminder list over another

STEP #2  Release the selected list(s)

Release the selected list(s)

The lists are added to a new group.

STEP #3  Name the group

Name the group

When naming a group, you can also add emoji to the name. To open the Emoji window, you can either select Edit -> Emoji & Symbols or use the ⌃-⌘-Space keyboard shortcut.

Using File -> New Group Menu Item

Groups can also be created using the File -> New Group menu item. You only need 1 list to be able to create a group using this method. Refer to How to Create Reminder Lists in Apple Reminders on the Mac article for the steps to create reminder lists.

STEP #1  Select the list(s) to be added to a new group

Select the list(s) to be added to a new group

STEP #2  Select the File -> New Group menu item

Select the File -> New Group menu item

The selected lists are added to a new group.

Select the File -> New Group menu item

There is no keyboard shortcut to create a group.

STEP #3  Name the group

Name the group

When naming a group, you can also add emoji to the name. To open the Emoji window, you can either select Edit -> Emoji & Symbols or use the ⌃-⌘-Space keyboard shortcut.

Moving Reminder Lists Between Groups

Reminder lists can also be moved between existing groups.

STEP #1  Select the reminder list to be moved

Here we will move the Finances list from the Personal to the Family group.

Select the reminder list to be moved

STEP #2  Drag the list to the other group

The Finances list is dragged up into the Family group.

Drag the list to the other group

To show where the list will be moved to, a thick line is shown to represent where the list will be moved.

Reminder list is moved

Moving Groups

Groups can also be moved to be able to change their display order. If you have a lot of groups and reminder lists you may wish to move the most frequently used ones to the top.

STEP #1  Select the group

Unlike when selecting reminder lists, the group does not become highlighted. Hold the mouse button after selecting the group. Here are are dragging the Personal group to the top.

Select the group

STEP #2  Drag the group to where it should be moved

Drag the group to where it should be moved

A thick line is shown to represent where the group will be moved to.

Reminder group is moved

Renaming a Group

When renaming a group, you can also add emoji to the name. To open the Emoji window, you can either select Edit -> Emoji & Symbols or use the ⌃-⌘-Space keyboard shortcut.

STEP #1  Right click the group and select Rename Group

Right click the group and select Rename Group

STEP #2  Rename the group and press Return

Rename the group and press Return

If you no longer wish to rename the group, press the Escape key to cancel and revert to the previous name.

Deleting a Group

When deleting a group you have the option of also deleting all reminder lists and reminders in the group.

STEP #1  Right click the group and select Delete Group

This opens a confirmation window.

Right click the group and select Delete Group

STEP #2  Uncheck the Keep Lists radio button if you also wish to delete the reminder lists

By default, the Keep Lists option is checked. This will only delete the group and will keep all lists and reminders.

You can press the Cancel button or the Escape key to close the window without deleting the group.

Uncheck the Keep Lists radio button if you also wish to delete the reminder lists

STEP #3  The group is deleted

The group is deleted

If the Keep Lists option was unchecked, the lists and reminders are also deleted.

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