How to use the redesigned Reminders app on Mac

Reminders Redesigned Mac Catalina

With the macOS Catalina update, users received new apps like Music, TV, and Podcasts along with updates to others like Notes and Mail. The Reminders app also got an update to its appearance and functionality that many have been waiting for.

Enhancements like subtasks and Messages integration, that can increase your productivity both at work and at home, are now part of the package.

Let’s take a look at all of the new features and how to use them in the redesigned Reminders app on Mac.

New features in the Reminders app

Smart lists

One of the first things you’ll see with the improved Reminders app are the smart lists. These display as boxes in the sidebar and include Today, Scheduled, Flagged, and All.

Reminders Smart Lists Mac

If you don’t see your sidebar, click View > Hide Sidebar from the menu bar to display it. (Not sure why the action isn’t Show Sidebar.)

Once you see those smart lists, you can jump to important reminders with a click.

New edit buttons

On iOS, the Reminders app now has a smart toolbar, but on Mac, you’ll see something similar with the new edit buttons. These tools allow you to quickly add common items to your reminders.

Reminders Edit Buttons Mac
  • Date: Select an easy option like today, tomorrow, or next weekend for the due date. Or, set a custom date and time.
  • Location: Set location-based reminders for when arriving home, getting in the car, or use custom locations.
  • Flag: Add a flag to make the reminder pop out as important or to organize your reminders.

Add subtasks

If you use task lists with reminders for work or projects, then you know importance of subtasks. You can now create them in the Reminders app, and you have a few handy ways to do it.

Create a reminder like you normally would and then use one of these methods to turn it into a subtask.

  • Click and drag the reminder onto another one.
  • Choose Edit > Indent Reminder from the menu bar.
  • Right-click or hold Control and click and pick Indent Reminder from the shortcut menu.
  • Use the keyboard shortcut Command + ] (right bracket).
Reminders Subtasks Mac

To turn the subtask back into a regular reminder, click and drag it out from under the parent reminder or use the menu bar or shortcut menu and select Outdent Reminder.

Group lists

To to keep similar lists together, you can put them into a group. For instance, you can set up a group for Family and put your Shopping and Grocery lists within it.

To create a group, click File > New Group from the menu bar. The new group will display as a folder in your sidebar ready for you to give it a name.

Reminders New Group Mac

Then, just select and drag other lists into that group. Alternatively, you can right-click or hold Control and click a list, and pick Add To Group > [Group name] from the shortcut menu.

Reminders Add to Group Mac

Integration with Messages

Another cool new feature in the Reminders app is the integration with Messages. This lets you tag a contact in one of your reminders and then see a notification when you’re chatting with them in the Messages app.

1) Select the reminder and click the Information button next to it.

2) Turn on the toggle for When Messaging a Person.

3) Click Add Contact and select a contact. You’ll then see your contact’s name attached to that reminder.

Reminders Add Contact Mac

Then, when you communicate with them in Messages, you’ll get a notification from Reminders that you can mark Complete or snooze for Later.

Reminders Messages Notification Mac

More attachments

You can also add more attachments to a reminder like photos, scanned documents, or links to websites.

Select the reminder and click the Information button next to it. You can then enter the URL for a website or click Add Image to select a photo, scan, or sketch.

Reminders More Attachments Mac

Wrapping it up

Even though it’s long overdue, this update to the Reminders app is a terrific one. And be sure to check out how to use these same new features in Reminders on iPhone and iPad too!

What’s your favorite new feature in the Reminders app on Mac? Will you use subtasks? Are you excited about the Messages integration? Do you like the list grouping option? Let us know in the comments below!