How to Use Templates in Apple Reminders

How to Use Templates in Apple Reminders

Tired of typing and creating the same reminders again and again? Want to start a new project, on-boarding, a trip, an event and what not with the essential tasks already set up for you as a checklist? Find out here how to use templates in Apple Reminders on Mac, iPhone and iPad.

First, Drum Flute Music

With power drawn from water’s pressure, a wooden drum spins. Through a bit of mechanics, grooves in its top translate to the openings and keys of a flute. The instrument, blown just the same with fluid power, dutifully plays a song—over and over.

What the three Banū Mūsā brothers have described around the year 850 is, of course, one of the first programmable music players. Appropriately, they called it “the instrument that plays itself.”

Now, want Apple Reminders to turn into an instrument that does to-do lists by itself—once you’ve programmed it?

How to Use Templates in Apple Reminders

Set up a To-Do List Template in Apple Reminders

Time needed: 2 minutes

To create a new template for a to-do list in Apple Reminders on Mac, iPhone and iPad:

  1. Typically, start with a new to-do list in Apple Reminders.

    Atypically: You can also choose an existing list, of course, and use it as a template in its current state (or with adaptions).
    Visuals: Do choose a color and icon (or emoji) that will help you identify the list and template.

  2. Go to the list you want to use a template.

    Need not have tasks: You can use an empty list as a template and only change the

  3. Select File | Save as Template… from the menu on a Mac.

    iPhone and iPad: Tap the menu button and select Save as Template from the menu that has appeared.

  4. Optional: Change the name you want to use for the to-do list template.

  5. Click or tap Save.

    Saving a to-do list template in Apple Reminders on a Mac

  6. Optional: Delete the original list to keep only the template.

    Here’s why: The template is a separate entity (with its own data) and does not need the list you saved as a template to function.

More Mac templates: How to Use a Document as a Template on a Mac

List Template Example (Shared to Get You Started Right Away)

To get you started with list templates, you can use the following example:

Other classic applications of list templates include employee or client on-boarding, moving household, setting up a new device, event planning and various flavors of project management, of course. For inspiration, you can visit Todoist’s template collection, for instance.

Start a New To-Do List from a Template in Apple Reminders

To create a new to-do list from a template you have saved in Apple Reminders:

  1. Select File | New List on a Mac or tap Add List in the list overview in Apple Reminders on iPhone or iPad.
    Mac keyboard shortcut: On macOS, you can also press Command Shift N.
  2. Go to the Templates tab.
  3. Select the template you want to use.
  4. On a Mac: In Apple Reminders for Mac, click Create List with the template highlighted.
    On iOS and iPadOS: Optionally give the new list a new name and tap Create.
    Creating a new list from a template in Apple Reminders on an iPhone

Change the Tasks, Name, Color and Icon for a To-Do List Template

To change a template in Apple Reminders:

  1. On a Mac: Select File | View Templates from the menu in Apple Reminders for macOS.
    On iPhone and iPad: Tap the three dots menu icon on the list overview screen, then select Templates from the menu that has appeared.
  2. Click the three dots menu icon for the template (Mac) or tap (iPhone and iPad).
  3. Select Edit Template from the menu.
  4. Change the tasks in the template as desired.
    Editing a template’s task in Apple Reminders
  5. Use Show Template Info (in the list’s three-dots menu) to change the name, icon and color.

How to Use Templates in Apple Reminders: FAQ

Will changes to a list created from a template change the template?


When you create a new to-do list from a template, Apple Reminders creates a full copy that has all its own data. You can change it as you wish. None of the changes will synchronize to the template.

Can I use set up alerts in a template?


You can add dates and times to set up notifications for to-do items in a template. Those alerts will be present on a list you create from the template.

You will not get alerts for reminders that are only part of a template.

Can I share a template?


To share a list template for Apple Reminders:

  1. Go to the templates list in Apple Reminders (see above).
  2. Open the context menu for the template you want to share.
  3. Select Share Template from the menu.
    Already shared: For a template that is currently shared, use the Manage Link sub-menu instead to update the shared list (if you have changed the template since you last shared it), send the link anew or stop sharing.

Will others be able to change the template?


People who have received a shared list template from you can create new lists (in their own Apple Reminders) from the template but cannot alter the template itself.

(How to use templates in Apple Reminders tested with macOS Sonoma 14.5 and iOS 17; first published May 2024)

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