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How to Set Birthday Alerts on Your iPhone

birthday-calendarUsing birthday alerts for iOS contacts is a handy way to make sure you never forget another birthday of your relatives, friends and colleagues. This is a guide on how to set and use birthday alerts on iPhone, including custom notifications. We all know what it is like to forget a birthday, or be forgotten on one’s birthday. Thankfully, technology comes to the rescue!

If you tend to be forgetful or just want to make sure to remember birthdays, you can use your iPhone’s special birthday calendar to do so. This is all done without having to install an additional app or configure complicated features, thanks to Apple.

Prerequisites for using birthday alerts on iPhone

There is one tiny bit of preparation you’ll have to take care of first: Adding birthdates to the details of your contacts, if not already present. Your iPhone is smart, but it can’t (of course) guess the birthdates of your contacts. You can do this by opening your Contacts app or searching for the name of the person in Spotlight.

This is how birthdays will be displayed in the “Calendar” app on your iPhone:

birthday in day and list view

How to add a birthdate to an existing contact

Contacts > [Contact Name] > Edit > Birthday

Open up your “Contacts” app, select the respective contact and tap “Edit” in the top right corner of your screen. Scroll down a bit and you’ll see the “Birthday” field, which you can fill with the correct date for this person. Remember to check this for all of your important contacts, you may have to ask them for help if your memory is lacking.

how to add a birthdate to an existing contact on iPhone

How to show birthdays in your iPhone calendar

Calendar > Calendars > Birthdays

Enabling the display of contact birthdays in your iPhone calendar is enabled by default. You can check whether the setting is enabled on your device by opening up your stock iOS “Calendar” app and tapping the “Calendars” button at the bottom. Make sure that the “Birthdays” calendar in the “Other” section is checked.

how to enable contact birthdays in iPhone calendar


Setting additional birthday reminders

Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Default Alert Times > Birthdays

If you want that extra bit of certainty, there is a way to set extra birthday reminders that will notify you of any upcoming birthday. This way you can arrange for presents or greeting cards in advance! Your iPhone will then remind you with a notification. You can set it to either the day of the event, one, two or seven days before the due date.

Here’s how to do it. Go to your “Settings” app and select “Mail, Contacts, Calendars”, then “Default Alert Times” and finally “Birthdays”. These settings apply to all of your contact’s birthdates and need to be only set once.

how to set custom birthday alerts on iPhone