How to turn an email into a reminder on Mac

Mail App Drag to Reminders App OS X

macOS’ Reminders app can be used for more than just typing out your own reminders; you can also use it to remind you to read or reply to specific emails at a specific time or date. In this tutorial, we’ll be showing you how you can use the Reminders app on your Mac to remind yourself about specific emails you receive in the Mail app.

So you’ve just received an important email, but you’re way to busy with work to answer it right at this moment in time and you really don’t want to forget to read or answer the email later. What do you do?

Well, you could create an email-based reminder on your Mac. Not only is this solution going to be simple to carry out, but it’ll also make sure you are reminded about the email at a very specific time or date. With that in mind, you’ll have no excuse to miss the email.

How to turn an email into a reminder with macOS 10.14 or earlier

To set a reminder-based email on your Mac running macOS 10.4 Mojave or earlier, you need to follow these simple steps:

1) Launch the Mail app on your Mac and select an email you wish to be reminded about later.

Mail App Template Message

2) Launch the Reminders app on your Mac, then click on the email from the Mail app’s sidebar and drag it over to the blank space in your Reminders app.

Mail App Drag to Reminders

Note: The email is added to the Reminders app with a “Show in Mail…” link that launches the email in the Mail app, as shown above.

3) Hover your mouse over the email reminder and an i button will appear. Click on it, and you’ll get options for scheduling the reminder for your convenience.

Adjust Email Reminder Time Details

Note: You can schedule email reminders for specific dates or times, or even for when you arrive at a specific location. Moreover, you can adjust the repeat rate, the priority of the reminder, and edit the note you want to see in the reminder.

4) When you’re happy with the settings, click on the Done button to save your reminder.

Congratulations! You’ve just set an email-based reminder on your Mac and will be reminded at your designated date or time.

Now what?

Now that you’ve set an email reminder, you can go about your busy day. When the time comes for you to be reminded of the email, you’ll get a banner notification on your Mac like the one below:

Reminder Email Notification

You can click on the body of the notification banner to launch the email in your Mail app and read or reply to it. If you’ve already taken care of it, then you can answer the notification by clicking on the Complete button to dismiss it and mark it as done, or you can click on the Later button if you feel like procrastinating and dealing with the Reminder a little bit later.

Reminder About Email Later

The Later option will let you choose to be re-reminded of the reminder after any of the following delays:

  • 5 minutes from the time of the reminder
  • 1 hour from the time of the reminder
  • The next day from the time of the reminder
  • Ignore the reminder

How to turn an email into a reminder with Catalina

Apple has completely reworked Reminders in Catalina.

TUTORIAL: How to use the redesigned Reminders app on Mac

One of the welcome side effects of this change is that it’s easier than ever to link up Mail and Reminders on Catalina and later. You don’t even need to leave the Mail app to make it happen. Here’s how:

1) Launch the Mail app on your Mac and select an email you wish to be reminded about later.

2) Control-click (or right-click) in the body of the message. A pop-up menu appears.

3) Select Share.

4) Select Reminders.

5) Customize your reminder with a title you’ll remember and any notes you want to include.

6) Click Choose List to identify which Reminder list you’d like to attach the e-mail to.

7) Click the info button (the i in a circle) to assign a priority and identify when you’d like to be reminded. You can also be reminded when messaging the person who sent you the email or anyone in your contact list.

8) Click Add. The reminder is added to your Reminder list. You can switch to the Reminders app to view the details, and clicking on the Mail icon will bring you directly to the message upon which the reminder is based.

Uses for this feature

The ability to be reminded of emails comes in handy in a myriad of different scenarios. Among those are:

Answering your boss:

    • If you work in an office setting and you’re too busy to get back to your boss at this very moment in time, you can remind yourself to get back to the email right after you finish the task at hand so you’re not too late in answering and so you don’t forget.

Answering your teacher/professor:

    • If you’re in the middle of work, or are busy studying, you could use this feature to remind yourself to answer an email from your teacher or professor after you’re finished.

Answering emails when you get to work:

    • If you’ve set your Mac to remind you to answer the email when you get to work, you’ll get a notification as soon as you open your Mac up at the workplace. This makes it so you don’t have to worry about them at home, and lets you get back to them where they matter.

Of course, we’re sure your creative minds could come up with all kinds of other scenarios where this feature would be useful; these are just some of them I could think up off the top of my head.

Wrapping up

The ability to set reminders for emails on your Mac is very useful, and lets you remind yourself to get back to people when it’s convenient for you without forgetting.


Will you be using the email reminder feature on your Mac? Do you already? Share how and why in the comments!