Prescription drugs help us with everything from chronic pain to birth control, but it can be tough to remember to take your pill every day, especially if you have several medications to track. Regularly missing pills or taking too many can seriously harm your health and make your medicine ineffective, so it’s a good idea to keep tabs on it.
Some medications come in packs organized by day, and you can always snag a cheap pill box like this one ($10), but it’s also easy to set up medication reminders on your phone. We’ll run through a few different ways you can have your Android or iPhone remind you to pop that pill and track your medications.
Special offer for Gear readers: Get a one-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.
How to Set Reminders on iPhone
There are a few ways to set up medication reminders on your iPhone.
Use the Health app on iOS 16
Several enticing new features are coming in iOS 16, including a Medications feature baked into the Apple Health app. The final iOS 16 version lands this fall, and we have been using the Medications option in the iOS 16 beta. Here’s how it works:
- Open the Health app, tap the Browse tap at the bottom right and scroll down to tap Medications.
- Loss Add a Medication, start to type in the name, and suggestions should pop up. If you tap the camera icon on the right you can use your camera to scan a medication label. (NOTE: This only works in the US right now. Using this feature in iOS 16 beta in the UK, I had to add the name, medication type, and strength manually.)
- Choose the Frequency you need to take each medication by selecting At Regular Intervals, On Specific Days of the Weekor As Needed.
- You can then set a time of day to take your medicine. If you need to take it multiple times a day, you can continue to tap Add a time to choose different times and doses.
- Now choose the shape of your medication to make identification easier (handy if you have to take multiple pills).
- Finally, you can choose colors for the pill and the background. You can also add an alternative display name and notes.
- Once added, you will see Medications listed in the Health app via Browse > Medications with a timeline along the top and a log of what you need to take each day. You mark off medication as you take it by tapping The roof (you can also log doses via the Medications app on your Apple Watch).
- Below Your Medications you can review consumption and loss Onion to add any doses you may have forgotten to log earlier. Tap the time stamp to change it if you need to record something you took earlier.
- If you are finished with a medication and no longer need to take it, you can select it in Your Medications and scroll down to the bottom two Archive Medication or Delete Medication.
- You can also share health data, including medication data, by tapping the Sharing tab in the Health app and selecting Share with Someone.
Apple also offers information about medications in the Health app and will flag potential interactions if you are taking multiple medications that could interact to produce side effects or reduce efficacy.
Use Siri and Reminders
If you don’t have iOS 16 yet, you can always set a basic reminder with Siri. For example, you can say, “Hey Siri, remind me to take my pill every day at 9 am.”
You can also set up, review, and edit reminders in the Reminders app on your iPhone. Open the Reminders app, tap Add List at the bottom right and name it something like “Medication.” Now you can tap New Reminder at the bottom left and add the medication name, pick a time for the reminder, and set other details.
Use a Medication App
The App Store offers several dedicated pill reminder and medication tracking apps. If we had to pick one, it would be Medisafe Medication Management (or Medisafe Pill Reminder in the UK). It’s a quick process to set up a profile, add your medications, and set reminders to take your pills. You can mark when you take medication, and the time is recorded and tracked. It is easy to see what you still need to take and what you have already taken each day. You can also enter how much you have of each medication and have the app alert you that you need to get a refill when you are running low. You can share all this information with caregivers.