While you can scribble down your Grocery Lists in Apple’s Notes app, the Reminders has always been a handier way to keep a running list. It’s easier to add new items using Siri, reorganize lists, and even check things off on your Apple Watch while you’re shopping. Plus, Reminders’ location-based features can give you a nudge to pick something up when you happen to be near the store.
However, there’s never been anything special about a Grocery List in Reminders — it’s just another list of tasks. That’s set to change in iOS 17, though. You’ll soon be able to designate one or more of your lists as a “Grocery List” and have it automatically organized for you.
Doing this will automatically organize your items into grocery categories using your iPhone’s machine-learning smarts. It’s already pretty intelligent in the first beta, not only recognizing obvious items like “Bacon” and “Ground Beef” but brand name items like “Oreos” as “Snacks & Candy.”
If Reminders gets it wrong, you can drag and drop any item to place it into another category, and the app will learn from this to better organize your items in the future. There’s also a Reset Grocery Categories button in the settings app to clear out that learning and return to the defaults.
This organization passes over to the Apple Watch Reminders app, so you can see it on your wrist while you’re out at the store. The headings can also be collapsed to let you focus on whatever aisle you’re currently in. Of course, you can access the list on your iPhone or iPad and even check things off from your home screen without opening the Reminders app, thanks to the new interactive widgets in iOS 17.
Designating a list as a “Grocery List” is done by setting the “List Type” when creating or editing a list’s settings. Right now, the choices are “Standard” or “Grocery List,” but we can see Apple expanding that later to encompass other special types of lists.