iPhone and iPad

How to Set Up Location Alerts in iPhone Reminders

Tim Brookes 30-11-2016

Set alerts when you head to the grocery store, remember to pick up an undelivered package when you’re near the post office, and do other neat things based on your location.


Apple introduced location-aware alerts for its Reminders app way back in the iOS 5 update, but many users are still unaware that the feature exists. Back then inefficient GPS chips were one of the biggest battery drains Avoid These iPhone Apps for Better Battery Life Killing background apps won't save your battery — in some cases you'll have to completely avoid an app in order to stop it from draining your smartphone's energy. Read More , but location technology has come a long way since.

Set Up Location Alerts

This feature hasn’t changed a lot since its introduction, and can be use to trigger and alert for any old reminder item using your iPhone’s default Reminders app. First launch Reminders and create a reminder. You can arrange your reminder items on lists and color-code them, or simply stick them all in the default “Reminders” category.


Tap the “plus” + button to create a reminder, or tap on another item in the list to use that for a location-based alert. Next tap on the information “i” button to the right of the alert to see more details. You can set a specific reminder for a date, add a priority, jot down notes, and use the Remind me at a location toggle to enable location alerts.


Once you’ve enabled it, tap the Location button and choose from the list of options or enter an address. It’s also possible to search for a business or location by name or address, then tap on your desired location to reveal further options of When I Arrive or When I Leave.


Pick one, then decide on the size of the area you want to use to trigger the alarm. Tap and drag the black dot on the map to an area you’re comfortable with — don’t make it too big or your alert will sound too early, and you might forget about it. When you’re done hit Details to return to the previous screen, then Done to action your changes.


Your reminder will allow now specify the criteria you have set beneath whatever you called it. You can move it to another list without cancelling it. To delete it simply swipe to the left and hit Delete.

Reminder: You can recycle old alerts that you’ve already completed with a simple tap — just hit Show Completed, uncheck an item, then hit the information “i” to set alerts for a location or specific time.

Use IFTTT for More Options

IFTTT, which stands for If This Then That, is a service which allows you to use triggers and actions to automate various applications and web services. You can download the IFTTT iOS app for free to connect core iOS services together including the Reminders app, your iOS location, Photos, Contacts, and the Safari feature Reading List Use Safari’s Reading List for Offline Reading on Your Mac & iPhone Want to share articles between your iPhone and Mac? Use Safari's Reading List. Read More .


As such you can use the iOS Location channel to trigger actions when you enter or leave a specific location. The area of effect can be smaller than that used by iOS Reminders, and you can do more with the feature like set up a repeating notification (using the Notifications action), log your work hours (using Google Sheets), or send a text or email.


These triggers will repeat until you disable them, so while they might not be great for one-off things like remembering to buy bread or pick up a package, they are infinitely more useful if you want to use your location with non-Apple services. Creating alerts is easy: specify a trigger (like arriving somewhere) and an action (amending a spreadsheet, sending a text, triggering a notification) and you’re done. Enabling and disabling what IFTTT describes as “applets” is a matter of tapping a toggle within the mobile app.

A Few Considerations

While GPS chips have become more efficient, and the arrival of Apple’s motion co-processor now bundled with each new mobile system-on-chip reduces the number of times your device needs to ask for a GPS fix, battery life is still a concern. Any app that’s constantly checking your location will drain your device faster than simply setting an alert to fire at a certain time or date.

If you’re already finding your iPhone is struggling to make it through a whole day without a charge, or you’re trying to save battery life How to Fix Poor iOS 10 Battery Life Battery life not quite what it was before you updated? Here's what's going on and how to improve it. Read More every way you can, then you might want to limit your use of location-based alerts and apps as much as possible.


There’s also always the chance that you will miss an alert due to poor GPS signal, particularly if you’re not in the alert zone for very long. For that reason if you have any urgent reminders set, you’ll probably want to set a time-based alert as well just to make sure that you see it.

While other third-party apps do include location alerts, none of them seem to be much better than Apple’s offering. Most of these haven’t seen an update for years, have poor reviews, and can’t compete with the might of IFTTT. If you want more location-based automation in your life, IFTTT is the way to go Put Your iPhone To Work With IFTTT IFTTT is an acronym for "If This, Then That" and it's pronounced like the latter part of the word "gift". The service promises to put the web to work for you, using a system of... Read More . There’s also a lot more you can do with the iOS Reminders app, like have Siri create alerts for you Put iPhone Reminders To Better Use With The Right Apps & Tips Adding reminders and calendar events to your iPhone should be a painless process – and it can be if you use the right time-saving apps and tricks. Read More .

Do you use location reminders on your iPhone? What cool IFTTT applets have you come up with? Let us know in the comments, below.

Original article by Bakari Chavanu.

Explore more about: GPS, IFTTT, iPhone, Notification, Organization Software, To-Do List.

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  1. csw
    April 10, 2012 at 12:27 am

    Pocket Lists appears to have same function. http://www.pocketlistsapp.com

    • Bakari Chavau
      April 11, 2012 at 6:02 am

      Thanks for the tip. It looks very similar.

  2. Josh
    April 9, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    I use them all the time, I always forget to do things when i get to places, that I meant to do. These are uber helpful

    • Bakari Chavanu
      April 11, 2012 at 6:03 am

      Thanks for feedback.

  3. dingoe
    April 9, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    What are the system requirements? I have an iPhone 3GS with version 5.1, but I don't see the option "At a location". only On a Day, Priority and Notes.

    • Mike
      April 9, 2012 at 7:34 pm

      I also have a 3GS and I don't see it either. I believe you need at least an iPhone 4.

      • Bakari Chavanu
        April 11, 2012 at 6:04 am

        Mike and dingoe, yes, I do believe you need iPhone 4 or higher, I should have noted that in the article.

    • Claire Bellmonte
      August 9, 2018 at 6:32 am

      I am agree with you!