Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing > Mac OS X

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Optimizing Your Use of Reminders

As soon as you begin using the Reminders app, you’ll discover it has a wide range of potential uses in your personal and professional life, including the following:

  • Keeping track of things you want to accomplish
  • Creating detailed to-do lists
  • Tracking goals
  • Maintaining various types of shopping lists
  • Jotting down ideas or brainstorming
  • Documenting meeting agendas
  • Creating a list of phone calls you need to make
  • Managing any other type of information that can use a list format

When you launch the Reminders app, by default its app window has two main sections, as shown in Figure 6.2. The left side of the app window comprises the sidebar, which consists of a Search field, a list of your lists stored within the app, and an at-a-glance monthly calendar. On the right side of the app window, the currently selected and active list appears.

Figure 6.2

Figure 6.2. The main Reminders app window.

When using the Reminders app for the first time, you must create a new list. Each list can have its own label and an unlimited number of items within it. There are three ways to create a new list:

  • Select File, New List from the menu bar.
  • Use the cmd.jpg-L keyboard shortcut.
  • Click the plus sign icon at the bottom of the sidebar, to the right of the Hide Sidebar and Hide Calendar icons.

When you create a new list, a listing for it is added to the sidebar with the default label New List. Enter the custom label you want to create for the list, such as Grocery List, Today’s Phone Calls, Meeting Agenda, Today’s To-Do List, Packing List, and so on.

Figure 6.3

Figure 6.3. Each list within Reminders can have its own name, which you can create or change at any time.

After the list itself has been created, begin filling it in. To do so, move over to the right side of the app window. You can then add new items to a list in several ways, including the following:

  • Select File, New Reminder from the menu bar.
  • Use the cmd.jpg-N keyboard shortcut.
  • Press the plus sign icon near the top-right corner of the app window.
  • Click the next open line within a list.

As soon as you add a new Reminder item, an empty check box appears on the first line of the page, under the list’s heading. Enter the item title. For example, if you’re creating a grocery list, type the first item on your list (for example, Milk).

When you begin entering an item title, to the right of that item, an Inspector (i) icon appears, as shown in Figure 6.4. At this point, either press the Return key to store that item and immediately enter a second item, such as Eggs, or click the Inspector (i) icon and further customize the first item listing.

Figure 6.4

Figure 6.4. Customize each item within a list by clicking the Inspector icon to the right of it.

Upon clicking the Inspector icon, you’re given a handful of options that enable you to associate a time/date or location-based alarm with the item itself, as well as priority/notes. From the pop-up window that appears, as shown in Figure 6.5, check the On a Day or At a Location check box to associate an alarm with your listed item.

Figure 6.5

Figure 6.5. After clicking the Inspector icon, customize a listing by associating an alarm, priority, or notes with it.

By adding a check mark to the On a Day check box, you associate an alarm to this item for a specific date and time of your choosing. Click the Date option to choose a month and day (shown in Figure 6.6). By default, the current date appears. Then click the Hour, Minute, and AM or PM fields, one at a time, to customize the alarm time.

Figure 6.6

Figure 6.6. Associate a date and time with each alarm you create for a list item.

If you’re using Reminders on a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, or if you sync your Reminders data with an iPhone, you can also associate an alarm with a specific location by checking the At a Location check box.

Upon doing this, you can select any address that’s listed within the Contacts app for yourself or any contact, such as your Home or Work, or the address of your grocery store (shown in Figure 6.7). By default, your current location is used. For this feature to work on your Mac, the computer must be connected to the Internet. Then, you can choose between either the Leaving or Arriving option. Once set, Reminders generates an alarm for the item on your list when you arrive at or leave a specific location.

Figure 6.7

Figure 6.7. In addition to associating an alarm with a date and time, you can create a location-based alarm for each item so that you’re reminded when you arrive at or leave a specific geographic location.

Each item on each of your lists can have a separate priority associated with it, as well. To set a priority, click the Priority option’s pull down menu (after clicking the Inspector icon associated with a list item) and choose between None, Low, Medium, or High.

One red exclamation point will appear to the left of a low-priority item on your list. Two red exclamation points will appear to the left of a medium-priority item, and three red exclamation points will appear to the left of a high-priority item, as shown in Figure 6.8.

Figure 6.8

Figure 6.8. Set a low, medium, or high priority for each list item to help you stay organized and efficiently juggle and manage your most important responsibilities, or to highlight your best ideas.

Finally, by clicking the Note option, you can type as many text-based notes as you want to be associated with each item on your list. Instead of typing notes, use the OS X Dictation feature to speak into your Mac and have what you say translated into text and inserted into the Note field.

At anytime, it’s easy to create another list and begin adding as many items to it as you want, or switch between existing lists to view/modify them. To delete an individual item from a specific list, click that item (on the right side of the app window) and press the Delete key. To delete an entire list from the Reminders app, select and highlight a list in the sidebar and press the Delete key. A confirmation pop-up window will display, as shown in Figure 6.9. Click the Delete button to confirm your decision.

Figure 6.9

Figure 6.9. Select and highlight a list you want to delete, press the Delete key, and then click the Delete button shown here to confirm your decision.

If you opt to keep the at-a-glance calendar displayed near the bottom of the sidebar, you can jump to a specific day by clicking it. Or, you can use the left- and right-arrow icons to the right and left of the Month and Year heading to move forward or backward one month at a time. Clicking the dot icon that appears when you stray from the current day and month enables you to instantly jump back to it.

Figure 6.10

Figure 6.10. By clicking a date within the at-a-glance monthly calendar, you can create a new list that contains to-do items, goals, or tasks that need to be accomplished on a specific date. Notice that the label on the list is the date you selected from the calendar.

As you’re viewing one list on the right side of the app window, and can see a listing of your lists within the sidebar, you have the option to drag an item from the active list (on the right side of the window) and move it to any other list within the sidebar. To do this, click an item within a list you’re viewing on the right side of the window, hold down the mouse button (or trackpad button), and drag the item to the left, onto another list’s label within the sidebar.

You can also use the Select, Copy, and Paste commands (under Edit on the menu bar), or their related keyboard shortcuts, to copy items between lists or move items around within a specific list.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020