There used to be a time when we had diaries and notepads where we jotted down important things. These little notebooks had everything, from those fleeting ideas to important dates and appointments.

But most of us have long ditched those notebooks in favor of the apps on our phones. And quite right too! The Notes and Reminders apps on our iPhones have come a long way since their first introduction to the device way back. Now with iOS 15, they have become more sophisticated than ever.

iOS 15 has introduced tags in both the Notes and Reminders apps. With the use of tags, you can manage and filter through your notes and reminders in a much more natural manner. Considering how much we already use hashtags in so many apps on our phones, getting used to them in the Notes and Reminders apps won’t even require any effort on our part. It’ll be as easy as rolling off a log. Here’s everything about this newest addition in iOS 15.

Using Tags in Notes

Tags are a quick way to categorize your notes. You can add a tag anywhere in the note, even in the title, or add multiple tags in a single note. You can also use tags with your existing folders to organize and filter through notes across multiple folders.

Adding a Tag to a Note

To add a tag to a note, simply type # and follow it with the tag. Then, add a space after the tag. It’ll become the classic yellow color of the notes app. You can add the tag in the title, the beginning, the middle, or the end of the note – virtually anywhere you want. The tag should be one continuous word with no space in it. But you can use underscores (_) and hyphens (-) to make the tags longer.

If you already have any tags in notes, they’d appear in the suggestions menu above the keyboard. You can also choose a tag from the suggestions. You can also add tags as drawings from your Apple Pencil in a note. Just draw the # and the tag name with the Apple Pencil in the note. You can also add multiple tags in a note if it belongs in more than one category to keep track of it.

Any tags you add in the note would automatically appear in the Tags Browser below your list of folders in Notes. But only the tags you add to Notes in the ‘iCloud’ or ‘On My iPhone’ folders will work as tags. If you have other folders in your Notes for accounts such as Google or Yahoo, adding a tag to it won’t work. That is, they won’t appear in the Tags Browser.

Note: You can’t add a tag to a locked note or lock a note that has a tag.

Adding a Tag to Multiple Notes

If you want to organize any existing notes, you can also add tags to multiple notes in one go. Go to the folder with your notes and tap the ‘More’ button (three-dot menu) in the top-right corner of the screen.

Then, tap ‘Select Notes’ from the options that appear.

Select the notes you want to add the tags to by tapping them. Then tap the option ‘Tags’ at the bottom of the screen.

Your existing tags will appear. Tap one or more of the tags to add them to the notes. You cannot create a new tag while adding tags to multiple notes.

If the notes already have a tag, you can also deselect it from here. Then, tap ‘Done’ in the top-right corner of the screen.

Using Tags to Find Notes

The whole point of adding a tag to the note is so that you can find it easily. To view a note using a tag, go to the Tags Browser. To view the tags browser itself, go to the list of Folders in the Notes app. If you’re in a folder, tap the ‘Folder’ option in the top-left corner of the screen.

Then, scroll to the down and you’ll see the Tags browser. Tap ‘All Tags’ to see the notes that have any tag at all.

To find a note with a particular tag, tap that tag, and all the notes that have that specific tag will open.

You can also select two or more tags to narrow down the search if you’re searching for a note that might have one, two, or more of those tags. From the Tags browser, tap any one of the tags that you’re note has. All the notes with that tag will appear. The screen will also have all your tags at the top. Tap one or more tags from there to select multiple tags. If there is a note that has all the tags that are currently selected, it’ll appear on your screen.

You can also similarly deselect the tag and select another tag from the ones available.

Removing Tags from your Notes

To remove a tag from your note, all you have to do is delete it. To delete a tag from the Tags browser, you’d have to delete that tag from all the notes that have it. Only tags that appear in the tags browser are the ones in use in the notes. So, delete it from the notes and it’ll be deleted from the tags browser. But the only way to do that is manually deleting the tag from the notes one by one.

Tap the tag you want to delete from the tags browser. Then, go to each note and delete the tag from those notes.

Using Smart Folders in Notes

Along with tags, iOS 15 has also introduced Smart Folders. Smart Folders are built upon tags. They let you categorize all your notes with the same tag or multiple same tags into one place so you can quickly refer them. It’s a great way of pre-filtering the notes on basis of tags, especially those you refer often. When you’re using Smart Folders, your notes also remain in the original folders you created them in.

You can create new smart folders from scratch or convert existing folders to smart folders.

Creating a New Smart Folder

Go to the Folders screen in Notes. Then, tap the ‘New Folder’ button in the bottom left corner.

Then, choose an account from ‘iCloud’ or ‘On My iPhone’ to create the folder.

Then, tap ‘New Smart Folder’ from the options that appear.

Enter the name for the folder, select one or more tags from the ones available or create new tags by entering the tag name in the ‘Create New Tag’ textbox. Tap ‘Done’ to create the folder.

The Smart Folder will appear in the folder list but with a gear icon next to it rather than the traditional folder icon.

You can also create a new smart folder from the tags browser. When one or more desired tags is selected in the tags browser, tap the ‘More’ button (three-dot menu) in the top right corner.

Then, select ‘Create Smart Folder’ from the options that appear at the bottom of the screen.

Enter the name for the Smart folder and tap ‘Save’.

Any new notes you create with these specific tags will automatically appear in the Smart folder. But if you create a new note from within a smart folder itself, it won’t automatically have the tags of that smart folder. You’ll have to create the tags yourself.

Convert an existing folder to Smart Folder

You can convert any of your existing folders to a smart folder. When you convert an existing folder, all the notes from that folder will move to the ‘Notes’ folder along with the Smart Folder. The original folder will cease to exist.

The notes from that folder will be tagged with the name of the smart folder.

Note: You cannot convert shared folders, a folder that has subfolders, or one that contains locked notes.

Open the folder you want to convert. Then, tap the ‘More’ button (three-dot menu) in the top right corner.

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Then, select ‘Convert to Smart Folder’.

A prompt will appear on your screen that the tag <Folder-Name> will be added to all the notes. Tap ‘Convert’ to proceed.

The folder will be converted to the smart folder with the original folder name as the tag and you cannot undo this action.

Using Tags in Reminders

iOS 15 also lets you use tags in reminders that work similarly to the tags in Notes. Using these tags, you can sort and organize your reminders quickly. You can have tags for errands, shopping lists, and just about everything else.

Just like tags in notes, the tags in reminders can only be single words that don’t have a space but you can include hyphens (-) and underscores (_).

Creating Tags in Reminders

Reminders have a more straightforward way of creating a tag. Just like other fields (date, time, etc.) a reminder has, there’s also a field for tags.

Note: You can only create tags for reminders in the iCloud account and not your other accounts.

When creating or editing a reminder, you can create a tag from either the quick toolbar or the details menu.

To create a tag from the quick toolbar, tap the # icon from the quick toolbar.

Then, type the tag name. When you’re typing the keyword for the tag, suggestions will appear in the suggestions menu above the keyboard, including tags from the notes app. Tap the tag from the suggestions to use it.

To enter multiple tags, enter space after the current tag and type the second tag name.

To enter tags from the details menu, tap the ‘i’ icon in the right corner of the reminder.

Then, go to the option for ‘Tags’.

Your existing tags in the Reminders apps will appear. Tap the ones you want to use. Or type new tags in the ‘Add New Tag’ text box. Then, tap ‘Done’ in the top-right corner.

Tip: You can also create tags directly in the Reminder’s name by entering the # symbol followed by the keyword for the tag.

Adding Tags to Multiple Reminders

You can also add tags to multiple existing reminders at once. Go to the Reminder list and tap the ‘More’ button (three-dot menu) in the top-right corner.

Then, tap the option for ‘Select Reminders’.

Select the reminder you want to add the tags to. Tap the ‘More actions’ button (three-dot menu) in the bottom right corner of the screen.

Select ‘Add Tag’ from the menu that appears.

Select one or more of the existing tags or create a new tag from the ‘Add New Tag’ textbox and tap the ‘Apply’ button.

Using Tags to Find Reminders

Now that you’ve added tags to reminders, it’s time to use them. That’s the whole point of adding them: to use them to filter through and find your reminders.

Go to the home page of the Reminders app and scroll to the bottom. There, you’ll see the tags browser. It’ll have all the tags you’ve added to your Reminders. Tap a tag to open all the reminders with that tag.

If you’re looking for a reminder with more than one tag, tap the additional tags and the list of tags will be filtered to match with the ones containing all the selected tags.

If the option to show the completed reminders isn’t on, any completed reminders that have the tag you’re currently searching for won’t appear.

Deleting Tags

To delete a tag from a reminder, go to the reminder and tap the tag. Then, tap the delete button on your keyboard.

To delete a tag from the tags browser, the only way is to delete it from all your reminders. And the only way to delete a tag from all the reminders is to manually delete it one by one. Even if the tag exists in your complete reminders, it’ll show up in the tags browser. You can also delete the reminders that have the tag to remove it from the tags browser.

Tags are a great new addition to the Notes and Reminders apps in iOS 15. They are a powerful feature for the power users who often use these apps to keep their life organized.