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How to Set Up Shared Reminder Lists in Mountain Lion

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Read Time: 5 min

One of the new features to included in Mountain Lion and iOS 6 is the iCloud-enabled reminders app. Reminders is a basic reminder list management application that incorporates the ability to wirelessly synchronize reminders across your iOS and desktop devices using Apple’s iCloud. Reminders can also share reminder lists with other people. Let's see how.

Reminders App Functionality

On the face of it, the Reminders on the Mac looks like a pretty basic app with little functionality, but this belies its true complexity and the breadth of its features.

Reminders App will allow you to create multiple to-do lists and enter separate items, or reminders, into each of those lists, as one would expect.

Further, you can set priorities, add deadlines, view your reminders as a single reminder list, view more than one reminder list at a time, use your Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad to swipe between reminder lists, use the calendar to view reminders by particular dates, set reminder notifications to appear in Notification Center, set reminders to trigger at a particular location, mark reminders as complete, view completed reminders and search Reminders app for particular reminders.

And all of this is shared, via iCloud, between your iMac, MacBook Pro, iPad, iPhone and/or iPod touch, making it an extraordinarily powerful way to manage your home, work and leisure time.

When you add in functionality to share particular reminder lists with different people, this turns a relatively simple app into one that can be quite powerful for managing reminders between teams or even just managing your shopping list with your partner at home.

An Overview of the Reminders Interface

For a relatively simple looking app, there is a lot going on in Reminders.

Reminders AppReminders AppReminders App
An overview of the Reminders App in OS X Mountain Lion

It is possible to use Reminders very simply by toggling the view to show a reminder list alone. If you have multiple reminder lists, then you can easily move between them by swiping left or right with one finger on your Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad.

If you prefer a more comprehensive view, you can reveal a left-hand pane to show your different reminder lists and you can toggle the calendar into or out of view as well.

A dot below any given date on the calendar signifies that there are tasks assigned for that day.

To create a new Reminder list, simply click on the plus icon at the bottom left of the app. To create a new task, or item, click on the plus icon on the top right of the appropriate Reminder list.

How to Share Reminder Lists With Reminders App

To share one of your Reminder lists, assuming that you have set up a number of different Reminder lists already, simply hover the mouse icon to the right of the title of your Reminder list.

Locating the Reminders Sharing IconLocating the Reminders Sharing IconLocating the Reminders Sharing Icon
Locating the Reminders Sharing Icon

Tip: A small icon will reveal itself only when you hover your mouse pointer in the right place. Hover over the title of a reminder list listed in the left-hand pane and move the mouse pointer towards the right of the title to reveal the sharing icon. When you have it, click!

You will then see a small pop-up window which will invite you to share your reminder list with other people. You do this by entering their names and, if those people are in your Contacts, their name and email address(es) will be displayed. Select the entry for the person with whom you would like to share your Reminder list.

If the person with whom you wish to share your Reminder list is not listed, simply type their email address in full.

Inviting someone to join your Reminders listInviting someone to join your Reminders listInviting someone to join your Reminders list
Inviting someone to join your Reminders list

If you wish to share your Reminder list with more than one person, you can do this by repeating the process. When you have selected all of your intended recipients, click the button on the bottom marked ‘done’. Apple's iCloud service will then send an email to each of the people that you chose to collaborate with, inviting them to join.

Accepting an Invitation to Share a Reminder List

A condition of collaborating on a Reminder list is that your partner, friend or colleague accepts your invitation to share the your Reminder list.

To do this, they will simply need to click on the button marked “Join Reminders” in the email that they receive inviting them to share your Reminder list.

Accepting an Invite to Join a Reminders ListAccepting an Invite to Join a Reminders ListAccepting an Invite to Join a Reminders List
Accepting an Invite to Join a Reminders List

If your recipient is not presently logged into iCloud, the link will take them to the iCloud website where they can login and approve the request.

The sender of the Reminder list invite(s) will receive a notification in the OS X Notification Center to confirm that the list has been shared successfully.

OS X Notification Centre ConfirmationOS X Notification Centre ConfirmationOS X Notification Centre Confirmation
OS X Notification Centre Confirmation

Notes About Sharing Reminder Lists

Any particular reminder list may be shared with one or more people. It is important to note that the ability to add new items and edit or delete existing items will be available to all people who share that reminder list. There are no permissions to set; each person will have the same rights - there are no read-only participants.

Tip: There are no read-only participants, everyone in a shared reminder list has equal rights.


While not pretending to be a fully-fledged GTD app, or a heavyweight project management tool, Reminders is a useful way to begin collaborating on projects with other people or even just managing, with your partner, shopping lists or those countless DIY jobs that need doing around the house.

Furthermore, the ability to synchronize Reminder lists across all of your Apple devices, via iCloud, is invaluable. If you have a stack of jobs to do and don’t know which way to turn next, perhaps you should try Reminders.

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