iOS 18 is getting a huge upgrade with reminders — what you need to know

iOS 18 logo show on iPhone.
(Image credit: Future)

If Apple's not careful, it's going to turn me into the world's most ardent Reminders user. Slowly but steadily, the built-in task manager on my iPhone seems to add features with each iOS overhaul that make Reminders even more essential.

I did not feel that way when Reminders made its debut on the iPhone way back with iOS 5. It struck me as superfluous, duplicating list features I could already find in Notes. And if I really wanted a dedicated app for reminding me about everything on my to-do list, it seemed like there were far more robust options available to download from the App Store.

It remains true that there are plenty of good task managers available from software makers that aren't in Apple's employ. But as it turns out, some of the time, Apple's stripped-down tool is all you need, as I've discovered. And it also helps that iOS updates over the years have turned Reminders into a pretty powerful tool in its own right.

A few years back, Reminders let you tag people on tasks so that if you sent them in a text in Messages, the reminder you created would appear. I like that home screen widgets let me keep my reminders front and center — these days I can even tick of completed to-dos directly from the widget without having to open the app. And I've lost count of the number of times I've talked up the ability to create grocery lists in Reminders, where the app automatically groups similar foods under different headers without your intervention.

The newly unveiled iOS 18 update adds yet another helpful Reminders tool. Curiously, though, it's not even in the Reminders app at all.

Instead, you'll find a great tie-in to Reminders in another app on your iPhone. The iOS 18 version of Calendar integrates Reminders, allowing you to add tasks and to-dos just as easily as you can add appointments.

iOS 18 Calendar and Reminders: How it works

The announcement of Reminders' integration into Calendars earned just a single reference at the very end of Apple's iOS 18 preview during the WWDC 2024 keynote, but if you search online, you can see how the feature is being implemented based on the iOS 18 developer beta. 

According to those reports, when you tap the Plus button in Calendar, you'll now have the option of either creating an event or a reminder. Pick the latter, and you can set a time and date for when the task is due, assign the reminder to a particular category and add the same kind of tags, flags and other details that you could tack on in the Reminders app.

Speaking of the Reminders app, anything you create in Calendar should show up there. So this isn't an instance where Apple is folding one app into another. Rather, it's giving you another gateway into Reminders, letting you sync up data between different built-in apps.

In a way, that's a bit of a theme in iOS 18. Take iOS 18 Notes, which now integrates a version of the Voice Memos app so that you can make voice recordings right in a Note and even add a transcript of that recording. Likewise, Notes incorporates the Calculator app for the Math Notes feature where you can type or scribble math formulas, with the calculator providing the answers in the background.

In iOS 18, Apple seems to have concluded that the best way to make people more productive is to let them stay in an app to perform tasks that they might otherwise have had to go elsewhere to complete. Creating a reminder within the Calendar app is just another instance of that.

iOS 18 Calendar outlook

Reminder integration isn't the only change Apple's made to the Calendar app in iOS 18. The app also gets a redesigned Month view with aim toward giving you more at-a-glance information for your various appointments during the month. People who've used the beta say that you can toggle between Compact, Stacked, Detail and List views of the current month, each of which show events differently A Today view lets you see single or multiday views of the calendar.

I'll have to wait until I use the iOS 18 public beta in July before I can pass any judgment on those changes. But even before I wade into the new iPhone software update, the combination of Reminders and Calendars sounds like a winner.

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Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.