One of my New Year’s resolutions is to find lots of little ways to save time, and this year, I’m starting with an easy one: a way to automatically add alerts to all my new iPhone calendar events.


As it stands, whenever I add a new calendar event on my iPhone or iPad, I always have to take a second or so to scroll down to the “Alert” setting, tap it, and then add a reminder time—anywhere from a week or a day before to five minutes prior, or the moment the event starts.

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Manually adding alerts to my calendar events only takes a few seconds, but after a year or so, all those seconds add up to a big chunk of inefficiency. Time to make a change, no?

iOS Calendar default alert settings

For standard Calendar events, your auto-reminder choices range from a week before to the moment the event begins.

Luckily, it’s easy to get all those seconds back. All it takes is a quick trip to the iOS Settings screen.

  • Tap Settings, “Mail, Contacts, Calendars,” then scroll down to the Calendars section.
  • See the Default Alert Times setting? Go ahead and tap it.
  • Next, go ahead and select automatic alert times for up to three different types of calendar events: birthdays, generic events, and all-day events. For birthdays and all-day events, you can set a default alert anywhere from a week before to the morning of the event. For standard events, your auto-reminder choices range from a week before to the moment the event begins.
  • All set? Just back out of the Settings screen—you’re done.

Now, head back to the Calendar app and create a new event—and when you do, you should see an alert already set up and ready to go. Looks like you just saved yourself a few seconds.

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