Setting Due Dates in the OS X Mountain Lion Reminders App (updated)

With its latest OS release, 10.8 Mountain Lion, Apple added a new Reminders app to the desktop version of the OS to match the mobile version found in iOS 5. Users now have the ability to use iCloud to sync reminders across all their devices set up to access iCloud through a single Apple ID.

However, there is one important function that appears to have been overlooked that I myself deem a big deal: Due dates.

At first glance it appears that the Reminders apps for both Mountain Lion and iOS 5 only permit you to set an alert date/time, but not a due date/time. Indeed, anyone creating new reminders in either of these apps will discover the absence of the due date option, which to me is a deal breaker. However, I have discovered a workaround to make it available and add back this essential functionality to an otherwise (fairly) worthless app.

No due date option is available by default in the Reminders app

In order for the following steps to work, you must have OS 10.8 Mountain Lion installed on your Mac and/or iOS 5 installed on your iPad or iPhone. Also, you must have iCloud set up on your devices with your Apple ID.

Enable iCloud reminders in OS X’s System Preferences > Mail, Contacts & Calendars

Create all new reminders on iCloud.com. Any reminders created from the Reminders app on either OS X or iOS will not give you the option to set a due date. Instead, go to iCloud.com and click the large Calendar icon. Once the calendar loads, click the gear icon in the top righthand corner of the screen and select “New Reminder.”

Add all your new reminders through iCloud.com

Give your reminder a name, set a due date, and add whatever information you want for your reminder. But do not set an alert yet. This step must be handled through the Reminder apps on either OS X or iOS. Setting an alert on iCloud.com will prevent the due date from appearing in the Reminders app (plus, the available alert options on iCloud.com are pretty lame).

Set all the options you want except an alert

Once your reminder has been created on iCloud.com, it should now appear in your Reminders apps (assuming you set them up to sync with iCloud). Clicking on the “i” next to the name of the reminder will reveal its settings, and you’ll notice that a due date option is now available, as is the standard alert (“remind me”) option.

Voilà! The due date option available in the OS X app

The due date option available in the iOS app

Once your reminders are created from iCloud.com and appear in your Reminder app/s, feel free to add alerts to your little heart’s content.

And that’s how you add due dates to reminders. In my opinion, this process is ridiculously clunky and one can only hope that Apple does something to rectify the situation. They advertise on their website that one of the features of the Reminders app in Mountain Lion is the ability to add Due dates, yet there is no simple and intuitive way to do it. It just doesn’t seem like Apple to make an advertised feature so difficult and un-user friendly to access. But until they address the situation with future updates, we can only use this workaround and request that the situation be resolved.

If you found this tutorial helpful, please click the Like or Share button and leave a comment below. Thanks!

Update: Apparently in the OS X Reminders app you can copy and paste reminders. Doing this with a reminder created on iCloud (as detailed above) preserves the due date option. This makes creating new reminders a lot simpler since it removes the need to go to iCloud.com each time. Thanks to Kevin G. for sharing this in the comments section.

12 thoughts on “Setting Due Dates in the OS X Mountain Lion Reminders App (updated)

  1. Thanks for the tip and information; truly appreciated. I myself was very disappointed when I found out that the native “Reminders” app on OS X ML and iOS 5 did not have the “Due Date” feature. I found another easier way to get the “Due Date” issue accomplished. If you create a copy of any previous reminders which have the “Due Date” section and paste it, the “Due Date” section is available on the copied reminder. Just change the reminder title and any other information and you’re all set. This can be done directly from within the “Reminders” app in OS X ML. Have not given this a try directly from iOS 5. Let me know what you think about this workaround. Thanks again.

  2. Thanks for that, Kevin. That might be a better way to make new reminders since you won’t need to go to iCloud.com every time. However, I don’t think this will work in iOS. I don’t see any way to copy and paste existing reminders. Apple seriously needs to address this issue, IMO.

  3. I logged this as a bug with Apple back in March. They finally replied today, having reached the conclusion that it all works as intended. Supposedly smart engineers, but apparently don’t seem to get this at all unfortunately.

  4. Unfortunately, this solution is no longer available in OS X 10.8 and the new iCloud.com reminders app.

    Therefore, anyone who comes across this comment, please report this issue to Apple here: http://www.apple.com/feedback/iphone.html. I personally think it is a bug, but also report it as a requested enhancement. The more reports, the more apple will listen.

  5. I was so frustrated when I found I couldn’t find the option to set due dates. My current work around is to use Siri (if you have a device that supports it).

  6. So only option for now is some type of 3rd party application…that is horrible. 🙁

    Very tempted at this point to go back to Windows…haven’t said that in 10-years.

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