Reminders on iOS is often out of sync with Reminders on my other devices and iCloud. How do I force it to sync?

  • Does completely close and reopen the application work? – ecnepsnai Apr 16 '15 at 1:30
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    No. (And here are some more characters.) – orome Apr 16 '15 at 3:21

Opening up the calendar and allowing it (or forcing) to sync will do the trick, though oftentimes imperfectly.

To force calendar to sync, open it up and the tap "Calendars" at the bottom, then swipe down.

As far as "imperfectly" goes, I mean it doesn't seem to sync all tasks all the time. I haven't figured out what the pattern is there, but it seems that it's usually recurring tasks that have issues.

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    This works, but it's the most counter-intuitive Reload button ever invented. It's in a different, seemingly unrelated app, in a settings screen, and on top of that it's a hidden gesture. What is Apple thinking? – Tobia Apr 8 '16 at 9:24
  • That is next level crazy/counter intuitive. After returning to the Reminders app I had to wait 5-10 seconds before it decided to sync in the background. This makes me think that syncing the calendar doesn't actually bring in the Reminders data, but somehow lets Reminders know that it needs to reach out to iCloud and sync itself. Anyway, it worked... – J. Venator Apr 27 '17 at 23:00
  • Why this answer doesn't work any more? OSX 10.12.4 and iOS 10.3.3 – Prabowo Murti Aug 20 '17 at 0:07
  • I'm also experiencing slow Reminders syncing from my iPhone to my MacBook. I had my iCloud account in the Calendar app set to sync hourly because I don't use the calendar much. I wonder if that setting applies to Reminders too? – Taylor Edmiston Sep 24 '18 at 16:15
  • I think the reminders functionality started out in Calendar, possibly back when it was called iCal. Behind the scenes, they must still be tied in to each other. – Paul D. Waite Jan 9 at 19:53

I found that adding a dummy item in a list on my iPhone initiates a sync, i.e. it fetches changes from other devices. Similarly, adding items in my iPhone updates my iMac and iPad instantly. The issue seem to be the iPhone not initiating sync without local changes on the iPhone. Note that on your iPhone, sync will not happen until after you press Done (or possibly pressing return is enough) or select another list.

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    This worked perfectly for me. It is April 2018 and this issue still exists. – Sunny Apr 1 '18 at 17:20

Unfortunately, from what I can find, there isn’t any way to manually sync reminders between devices; it just happens. There are some things that you can do, however (assuming you are on iOS 8.3 and OS X Yosemite 10.10.3):

  • Make sure that both your iOS devices and your Mac are synced with the same iCloud account. On your iOS account, go to Settings > iCloud and make sure that Reminders is on. Then go to your Mac and go to System Preferences, then click on iCloud and make sure that Reminders is on.

  • If Reminders is on, turn them off on both devices. I personally like to wait about 5 minutes before turning them back on. Things should reset and start working again.

These are the only solutions that I have right now. If I think of more, I'll edit this answer and add them.

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    This is not correct - you can use the calendar trick discussed above. – Antony Stubbs Aug 2 '18 at 10:25

Rebooting the MacOS device is the only thing that works with any reliability.


After a reset, creating one test entry in each of the reminders in iOS forced the sync/download in my case.


Invite a person to a shared list or create a shared list and it will update all reminders. This works 100% of the time for me and my family.


Reminders have to be synced manually. Go into settings, find reminders and press synch all reminders. Then reminders will synch.

  • This just specifies what reminders to sync. It will not reliably actually cause them to sync. – orome Jan 9 '16 at 13:01

Just swipe down! On your iphone, it will update everywhere else.


you can refresh the reminders on iPhone by going into calendar and tapping on calendars and pulling down to refresh. I know it does not seem intuitive for reminders at all, but it works

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    I'm not sure what this says that isn't already in the top-voted answer? – Tetsujin Aug 1 '16 at 14:28

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protected by Tetsujin Aug 1 '16 at 14:28

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