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How to Create Reminder Lists in Apple Reminders on the Mac

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Updated on: 12 August, 2021
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How to Create Reminder Lists 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 articles covers the following topics:

  • Creating a Reminder List
  • Arranging Reminders Within Lists
  • Moving Reminders Between lists

Whilst you can create all of your reminders in the default Reminders list, using multiple lists allow you to group reminders together. Reminder lists can be further grouped together using Groups.

For example, you can have a group for the different subjects you are studying at school or university where each reminder list represents the subjects being studied.

Reminder Lists Study Example

Or you may have a group for shopping where each reminder list represents an individual shop or a type of shop.

Reminder Lists Shopping Example

As shown in the above screenshots, you can use colour and different icons to identify lists easier. Apple Reminders allows you to choose from 12 colours and from 72 icons.

Reminder lists colours and icons

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

Reminder app layout

Refer to How to Create Reminder Groups in Apple Reminders on the Mac article for the steps to create groups.

iCloud Features

Please note that there is a 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

1. Creating a Reminder List

In this example we will create a new Study reminder list.

STEP #1  Create new list

Select Add List at the bottom of the reminder list view. Alternatively you can either select File -> New List or use the ⇧-⌘-N keyboard shortcut.

Step 1 Create a new reminder list

STEP #2  Name the reminder list

Step 2 Update reminder list name

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 #3  Double click the icon to open the list info window

Step 3 Double click the list icon

The reminder list info window is opened. You can also use the ⌘-I keyboard shortcut to open the info window.

Step 3 Open reminder list info window

You can also change the reminder list name on this screen if not previously set.

STEP #4  Click on the icon to open the colours and icon options

Step 4 Reminder list colours and icons

STEP #5  After choosing the required colour and icon, click OK

Step 5 Changing reminder list colour and icon

The reminder list is now created.

Step 5 Reminder list is created

2. Arranging Reminders Within Lists

In this example we will move a reminder within the Birthday Planning reminder list.

STEP #1  Open the reminder list

Step 1 Reminder list selected

STEP #2  Select the reminder to be moved

It can be a bit tricky to select the reminder. You need to select the reminder to the left of the complete radio button or between the radio button and the title. I have highlighted this area on the screenshot. Be careful not to select the radio button as this will mark the reminder as complete!

Step 2 Reminder selected

STEP #3  Keep holding the reminder and drag it up and down the list to where you wish to move it

A thick line will show between the reminders to indicate where the reminder will be moved.

Step 3 Moving reminder between reminders

STEP #4  Release the reminder

Step 4 Reminder has been moved

3. Moving Reminders Between Lists

In this example we will move a reminder from the Birthday Planning list to the Shopping list.

STEP #1  Open the reminder list and select the reminder to be moved

As above, it can be a bit tricky to select the reminder. You need to select the reminder to the left of the complete radio button or between the radio button and the title. I have highlighted this area on the screenshot. Be careful not to select the radio button as this will mark the reminder as complete!

Step 2 Reminder selected

STEP #2  Keep holding the reminder and drag it over to the list to be moved to

Step 3 Move reminder over target list

The target list will become highlighted as you hover over it.

STEP #3  Release the reminder

Step 4 Reminder has been moved

The number beside each list that represent the number of reminders in that list will be updated.

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