Manage your schedule more effectively using Calendar and Reminders!

Take Control of
Calendar and Reminders

Fourth Edition
Scholle McFarland
Glenn Fleishman

Learn how to unlock the full potential of Apple’s Calendar and Reminders! Take Control of Calendar and Reminders helps you get the most out of these apps, showing you how to customize them, sync data across devices, and share meeting invitations and reminder lists. You’ll also learn how to use Siri as a shortcut and how to fix common problems.

All Take Control books are delivered in two ebook formats—PDF and EPUB—and can be read on nearly any device.


In the days before personal computers and mobile devices, we had to rely on paper calendars and to-do lists to help us organize our time and activities. Now, we have powerful tools, like Apple’s Calendar and Reminders, that are much more responsive to our needs. Put an event on your schedule, invite others to join, or set yourself an alarm (or more than one). Or, keep a list of to-do items, add to it and view it on all your Apple devices, and share your list with family or friends.

This book was originally written by veteran Mac journalist and editor Scholle McFarland, and the fourth edition was updated by Glenn Fleishman, with complete coverage of macOS 12 Monterey, macOS 13 Ventura, iOS 15/iPadOS 15, and iOS 16/iPadOS 16. Scholle and Glenn guide you through getting to know these incredibly helpful apps, including lesser-known (but handy) features. For example, did you know that Calendar lets you set an alert that factors in public transportation schedules and time to get to your starting point, so you can leave early enough to catch the train, bus, tram, or ferry you need—and any connections—and arrive at your event on time? Or that Reminders can prompt you to do something not only at a certain time, but also once you’ve reached a specific destination, like the grocery store?

If you’ve never taken the opportunity to explore Calendar and Reminders, this book will show you how to make them an important part of your daily routine. If you’ve already been using Calendar and Reminders, you’ll learn how to use them more effectively, troubleshoot common problems, and delve deeper into their capabilities.

This fully revised fourth edition is now up to date with macOS 13 Ventura, iOS 16/iPadOS 16, and watchOS 9 (as well as covering the previous version of each operating system), and it has been expanded with new topics and additional tips.

Learn how to get the best out of Calendar and Reminders, including how to:

  • Customize Calendar to your liking, from setting time zones, to color coding specific calendars
  • Create events, making them repeat at regular intervals or on certain dates
  • Set up notifications and alerts, so you never miss an event
  • Invite people to events, or share your calendar with them
  • Create, manage, and share lists in Reminders, including powerful new smart lists
  • Set alarms in Reminders at a certain time or a certain place
  • Tag entries for better searching and organizing in Reminders
  • Use Siri to save time when creating events or reminders
  • Easily check events and reminders on your Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, or HomePod
  • Troubleshoot common problems in Calendar and Reminders
  • Share calendars and reminders using iCloud Family Sharing, and assign reminders to a specific person
  • Sort reminders on your Mac
  • Print a calendar (to paper or PDF)
  • Embed video links in Calendar events for quick launching
Scholle McFarland

About Scholle McFarland

Scholle McFarland has been covering the Mac since 1996 as an editor at MacUser magazine and then Macworld. During that time, she witnessed Apple transform from everyone’s favorite “doomed” company to everyone’s actually favorite company and is still amazed by the whole thing.

When she’s not working, Scholle (“Sholly”) likes to hang out with her family, friends, and many animals in beautiful Portland, Oregon.

Glenn Fleishman

About Glenn Fleishman

Glenn Fleishman is a veteran technology writer who has contributed to dozens of publications across his career, including Macworld, Fast Company, and Increment. He has also written dozens of editions of books in the Take Control series. He spent 2019 and 2020 building 100 tiny type museums full of real printing artifacts. Glenn lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.

What’s New in Version 4.1

In macOS 13.1 Ventura, iOS 16.2, and iPadOS 16.2, released Dec. 13, 2022, Apple added a new encryption option for improved data privacy and security of iCloud-synced and -stored data, available only for reminders. I discuss this in “Secure Your Reminders in iCloud” in “Set Up Reminders,” and explain why calendar entries don’t qualify in a note that follows that sidebar.

You can also now disable web app access to your data starting with those operating system releases. I explain how to disable access in “Share & Subscribe to Calendars” and “Specify Where Your Lists Will Live.”

What Was New in Version 4.0.1

This very minor update added small clarifications about notifications; see “Notifications on Your Mac” and “Notifications on Your iPhone and iPad.” It also corrected the extras link in “Ebook Extras.”

What Was New in the Fourth Edition

The fourth edition of "Take Control of Calendar and Reminders" was updated for iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS Ventura, and watchOS 9.

Apple made significant changes in how macOS manages preferences, shifting from System Preferences to System Settings. You’ll see that reflected throughout the book, where we nearly always have to explain how to find a setting in macOS 11 Monterey and earlier releases and then separately in Ventura. For instance, you might see “go to System Preferences > Date & Time (Monterey and earlier) or System Settings> General > Date & Time (Ventura).”

Apple also changed the term Preferences across macOS apps to Settings. To avoid unnecessary repetition, when I refer to options you can change in Calendar and Reminders, I note something like “ go to Calendar > Preferences/Settings > General.” Preferences will appear in Monterey and earlier; Settings in Ventura.

This edition also incorporates these major changes:

  • FaceTime and video links: Apple added support for creating FaceTime links for videoconferencing directly within calendar events. Calendar also recognizes URLs that point to video services, like Zoom, and create a clickable link. See “FaceTime and Other Video Call Links.”
  • Day of the week (Ventura): You can now change the first day of your calendar week via System Settings > General > Language & Region, as regions include an option for First Day of Week. See “General Preferences.”
  • Notifications in macOS: Apple has migrated through three changes in managing and configuring notifications in macOS in just a few recent releases. See “Notifications on Your Mac” to understand how to access and configure notifications on the version of macOS you’re using or are about to update to.
  • Reminders: Apple made significant changes to the Reminders app. I list the high points below and go into further depth in “Take a Tour of Reminders.” Here’s what Apple added in Monterey and iOS 15/iPadOS 15:

    • Tags: Tags for Reminders lets you type freeform hashtag entries that can be used across reminders to find matches. See “Add Tags to Reminders.”
    • Custom Smart List: Create custom smart lists with criteria. See “Manage and Create Smart Lists.”
    • Delete completed reminders: Delete completed reminders, which removes them everywhere. See “Manage and Create Smart Lists.”
    • Smart completion in Reminders (macOS only): When creating a new reminder, you can type more sophisticated natural-language phrases, as previously available in Calendar. See “Add an Item in the Reminders App.”
    • Smart suggestions in Reminders: Reminders also lets you add tags, flags, priority, and people. See “Add an Item in the Reminders App.”

    And here’s what you can find in Reminders starting in Ventura and iOS 16/iPadOS 16:

    • Completed Smart List: A new Smart List shows all completed items. See “Manage and Create Smart Lists.”
    • Pinned lists: You can pin a list, which adds it to the smart list area. See “Pin Lists.”
    • Templates: Turn a list into a template that you can reuse and share with others. See “Create a Template.”
    • Reorganized Today and Scheduled lists: The revamped Scheduled list now breaks down upcoming reminders into near-term and far-term events. See “Manage and Create Smart Lists.”
    • Remind yourself of an email message: While wonky, Apple now lets you create a reminder to review an email message within the Apple Mail app. See “Remind Yourself in Mail” for how to work with this feature (or avoid it).
  • Read Me First
    • Updates and More
    • How to Activate Siri
    • Find Notification Settings
    • What’s New in Version 4.1
    • What’s New in Version 4.0.1
    • What Was New in the Fourth Edition
  • Introduction
  • Calendar and Reminders Quick Start
  • Calendar vs. Reminders
    • Calendar
    • Reminders
  • Meet Calendar
    • Day View
    • Week View
    • Month View
    • Year View
  • Set Up Calendar
    • Connect Calendar to iCloud
    • Connect Calendar to Other Accounts
    • Create More Calendars
    • Tap into Special Calendars
    • Color-Code Your Calendars
    • Customize Calendar
  • Work with Events
    • Add an Event
    • Add a Suggested Event
    • Reschedule an Event
    • Delete an Event
  • Invite People to Events
    • Send the Invitation
    • Get in Touch with Invitees
    • Accept and Decline Invitations
  • Set Up Calendar Alerts
    • Understand Alert Basics
    • Custom Alerts
    • Time to Leave
    • Modify Your Default Alerts
    • Turn Off Alerts for a Single Calendar
  • Set Up Notifications
    • Notifications on Your Mac
    • Notifications on Your iPhone and iPad
    • Notifications on an Apple Watch
  • Share & Subscribe to Calendars
    • Share an iCloud Calendar
    • Share Calendars Hosted in CalDAV
    • Subscribe to a Calendar
    • Share a Family Calendar
  • Set Up Reminders
    • Take a Tour of Reminders
    • Specify Where Your Lists Will Live
  • Work with Reminders
    • Add a Reminder
    • Manage Reminders
    • Sound the Alarm
    • Assign a Reminder
    • Set Other Options
    • Work with Completed Reminders
    • Search for Reminders
  • Manage Lists
    • Change Your Default Reminders List
    • Manage and Create Smart Lists
    • Rearrange Lists
    • Create a Template
    • Customize Your Lists’ Look
    • Share Lists with Others
  • Check Events & Reminders
    • Check on Your Mac
    • Ask Siri
    • Check on Your iOS or iPadOS Device
    • Check on Your Apple Watch
    • Check on the HomePod
  • Troubleshoot Problems
    • How Do I Get Rid of Duplicate Events?
    • How Do I Remove Duplicate Birthdays?
    • How Do I Get Rid of Duplicate iCloud Calendars?
    • How Do I Move a Calendar to Another Computer?
    • What If I Made Too Many Calendars?
    • Why Won’t My Calendar Show Maps or Travel Time?
    • What If I Accidentally Delete My Calendars?
  • About This Book
    • Ebook Extras
    • About the Authors
    • About the Publisher
  • Copyright & Fine Print

Scholle McFarland covers Calendar and Reminders on MacVoices

Posted by Joe Kissell on February 26, 2021

Scholle McFarland joined Chuck Joiner on MacVoices to explore the third edition of her book Take Control of Calendar and Reminders. The conversation includes talk about new features, troubleshooting, and more.


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