Why can't I share a Reminders list directly from my iPhone or iPad?

I use Apple's Reminders app to keep track of all kinds of things — to-dos I need to complete, items I need to pick up at the grocery store, movies I want to watch, and more. I can create reminders using Siri and, thanks to iCloud, I can access them on my iPhone, iPad or Mac. It's almost a perfect solution. There's just one feature I'd really love to see Apple add to the Reminders app in iOS 8 — the ability to share reminder lists right from my iPhone and iPad.

I have many lists inside Reminders that I've created over the past several years. I use Fantastical on my iPhone and both of my Macs. Since there isn't an iPad version of Fantastical yet, I stick with the stock Reminders app there. Both sync back and forth perfectly and for the most part I have no complaints. Regardless what app I use to create a reminder or list in, they play nicely together and sync my stuff with little effort on my part.

While many of my lists only need to be accessed by me there are times when I need to share lists with other people, whether it be a shopping list, a kitchen remodeling checklist, or a packing list for vacation. Some are permanent and live within the Reminders app while others come and go with specific events and projects.

Currently the only way to do that — to share a Reminder list — is from the Mac or from iCloud.com. And that's just not very convenient. My iPhone is with me everywhere I go. That's the single best place for me to not only create lists and add items, but to share them on the go. That I can create lists but not share them from iOS makes it even more perplexing.

It also makes me wonder — how many people that don't have Macs or don't log into iCloud.com even realize they are able to share Reminders lists?

Features need to be where the users are and for Reminders, an app that started off on the iPhone and iPad, that's where sharing needs to be!

Anyone else frustrated that Reminders lists can't be shared from the iPhone or iPad?

Allyson Kazmucha

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.

  • Yes, I've been hoping for the same feature built into the reminders app too. Sent from the iMore App
  • Allyson, I feel your pain. Reminders on iOS is poorly executed. Why doesn't it at least remotely resemble its counterpart on Mavericks‽ At least in Mavericks Reminders automatically sends a to-do scheduled for a specific day in a today view. That's what computers are good at: automating chores to make our lives easier. The root of the problem is that nobody at Apple seems to understand time-management principles. I taught my staffs time management, and it made a world of difference in their productivity and stress levels. There are basically three things necessary to manage your day-to-day life: a calendar, a to-do list, and an address book. They're supposed to work *together*. It's easier to use a paper Day-Timer <http://www.daytimer.com> than Apple's software. That's sad… and unnecessary.
  • Not sure if this is what you meant, but, if you tap on the little alarm clock icon in the upper right corner, you get a view called "Scheduled" that show reminders by date starting with the current date.
  • No. I want to share a list with someone. Sent from the iMore App
  • Hmm. emjayess, I can't find a little alarm clock in the upper right hand corner of Reminders and Calendars in either Mavericks or iOS 7.1. Am I misunderstanding?
  • Well, in iOS, you pull down the top part of the app until you get the master list of all your reminder lists. That's when the alarm clock appears in the upper right hand corner. Then you tap on that to get the "Scheduled" list. There's no need to look for it on the Mac because there Reminders has a "Today" view/tab built in.
  • <sarcasm>Well, that's intuitive!</sarcasm> The Scheduled window display the entire list of scheduled events, but doesn't specifically show today's to-dos. Thanks for the tip, but what is needed is information at a glance.
  • Not sure what you mean by "but doesn't specifically show today's to-dos" because, for me, it does. The first list under the "Scheduled" title reads "Today", has the items, then the next section is "Tomorrow" with the following days listed by date for all scheduled to-dos with a reminder. Perhaps there is confusion because I originally responded to your statement: "At least in Mavericks Reminders automatically sends a to-do scheduled for a specific day in a today view" which implies you wanted to see "scheduled" to-dos, not all to-dos. Those without a date to be reminded will not show up in the "Scheduled" section, as you might expect. And that's why Ally's reply to my first reply about the fact she wants to share a list is irrelevant because I was not addressing the sharing problem, just your comment about scheduled to-dos in iOS relative to Mavericks. I hope that's clear!
  • Agreed! Been considering Silo for sharing lists. It's universal on iOS. I use Fantastical on my iPad as well as phone, but only for the sake of adding tasks via Drafts, since I can hit up Fantastical and Clear or Fantastical and Due with a single action and the natural language parsing is so great. GoodTasks, formerly This Week, provides a very nice interface for handling reminders on iPad, since iPhone apps are so ugly on iPad. It syncs with reminders like Fantastical does, and thus with Fantastical, so I use that for viewing, but it's URL scheme is unnecessarily complex compared to Fantastical's, hence why I do keep the latter on my iPad. As for sharing, the problem remains un solved. I hope they add it though. I'd like to be able to use it as a *list* app! not just a *reminders* app! and sharing is central to that IMO.
  • I was thinking this exact thing two days ago. Thanks for the post Sent from the iMore App
  • Wait a second, you can also share reminders lists? :o I didn't even know that!
  • Yes! I was looking for an option to share but total disappointment. Hope iOS 8 brings thats support. Sent from the iMore App
  • Same here Sent from the iMore App
  • Maybe they think it would be too easy to accidentally break the sharing if it were in the mobile UI? They already make a big deal about joining a shared list, asking the recipient to enter an AppleID and password to do it. Maybe they want you to think long and hard before adding yet another synching thing to icloud. You'd think that functionality would take precedence over the rainbow colors in the ios7 reminders. My spouse and I use shared reminders for shopping lists, gifts, movies we want to see, the stuff in our freezer, "honey-do's" and more. It is a nice feature and the fact that it's both shared and cross platform is super useful to us. Question: when you set both a time and a place, for a reminder, which one wins? The one that happens first?
  • This is indeed very frustrating. I didn't even know the functionality was there until someone on ADN pointed it out a while back. I enabled and tried it, but it seemed slow and a hassle to set up. Plus the recipient must have an iCloud email address and iDevice. No cross platform sharing at all. And you cannot simply email a list to someone either. Ever since I've been looking for a list app that is iOS 7 updated, is well designed; a universal app; offers their own sync and share service so that anyone can access it in a browser; and which has the ability to email someone a list too. Tried Silo and Listastic but neither had all those features and are very limited and simple. Glad to say I finally found one which has all these features: it called Pocket Lists and the website is at http://www.pocketlistsapp.com/
  • Maybe I'm weird, but I just use the Calendar app if I need to remind myself to do something at a specific date/time/location. That way I have everything trackable in one place, and it's ubiquitous. I hardly ever use my Reminders app (just for quick shopping lists or gift ideas... and even then I'll often just put those in my Amazon Wish List).
  • Allyson, I'm in the same boat as you and use the same apps. Great article. Sent from the iMore App
  • It would be nice if this was easy to do. In the meantime, my wife and I have a second iCloud account for "shared entries" and we out our shopping list and "shared" calendar on that account. That account is loaded to both our phones and laptops. Not as elegant as a "share reminder/share list" option, but works since this is going to a trusted person.
  • Use AnyList. When you share a list with someone, the results are amazing. The list is editable by all parties its' shared with and works really well! https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/anylist-grocery-shopping-list/id52216764... http://www.anylistapp.com/
  • I've never needed to share one, but it's a good idea. My problem with Reminders is that I preferred the original UI, and find the new "clear inspired" version to be lacking. I like to use lots of lists to keep track of various things and in the old app, switching back and forth between them was super easy (side-swipe), now we have this bulky, and unnecessary for the app, "passbook style" set of cards. It really slows things down to have to click that little folded part at the bottom to exit a list, scroll to find the next list and then pick a slightly larger touch target to open the next one. Thumb swiping between lists was easily twice, as fast if not faster. The colour coding is also a bit useless for me since once you have more than a few lists, you run out of colours anyway. For me, Reminders is one of the many apps that has been functionally ruined by the application of iOS 7 "design dogma." The entire thing was overhauled simply to have it match the rest of the apps and the overall design, but in the process it was made worse (at least for me). None of the changes really added anything, it was just change for change's sake alone, which is always irrational by definition.
  • I haven't a need to share a list, but. I can certainly see it's usefulness.
  • I would love for Siri to be able to set a location based reminder for somewhere besides home or work. That would eliminate my need for any Google service. Google Now has that capability and that is the only thing I need Google for. I would definitely need the sharing capability if Siri was better. But for now, it really doesn't matter.
  • This would be an awesome feature. My friends and family are amazed that I was sharing a shopping list with my wife. This would be so convenient to be able to do this right from your iphone.
  • My top 3 complaints about iOS:
    1- can't share reminders lists
    2- can't create a custom repeat in calendar
    3- can't access iCloud.com (The only reason I would want #3 is so I could do #1 or 2)
  • The only way to do #1 and #3 from iOS is to use chrome to access iCloud.com and request desktop site and add the person to share with from there. Not ideal but it's a work around if your not at a mac.
  • Thanks for the tip. The only problem is iCloud.com shows up huge on the iPhone with no way to scroll up or down or zoom. What a pain. But at least I could get in now. :-)
  • Thanks for this! No scrolling or zoom on iPhone, so it was tricky navigating to, but it is possible. However when I got to sharing a list, my typing was not picked up in the "add person....." Neither could I get letters entered into "search all reminders." So chrome did allow me to access iCloud.com from iPhone in desktop mode, but I still could not create a shared list. :(
  • I agree... Sent from the iMore App
  • I agree. I use shared reminders with my wife and love how it works, but not being able to set them up on the iPad or Mac is frustrating. I find folks that are on PC's are even less likely to know about or use this feature. This is high on my "wish list'.
  • Since I have yet to use this feature on either Mavericks or icloud.com I have a question about it. Does anyone know if I were to share a list using an invite from either of those two options if the list would then show up in Reminders for iOS of the person I am sharing it with?
  • As far as I can tell, the situation hasn't changed for iOS 8. I really need this feature to work from my iPad to all my family members on iPhones. I finally installed the iCab browser and changed the user agent to Safari for Mac. This lets me log into iCloud desktop and activate the feature there. This shouldn't be needed but alas it is. If anyone comes up with a better way to do this directly from the iPad, please let us know.l
  • I'm just looking for the most similar app on Android. The reminders app is very comfortable to me an I like it but rerecently switched to android an I'm trying to find the most similar app to the apple reminders app. Can anyone help