Remembering Birthdays with iPhone Contacts and Calendar App

The classic approach to remembering the birthdays of friends and family involved multiple tools.  First it was common to record the birthdays on a birthday list or address book.

The second tool was to record the birthday on your calendar so that as the date approached you would remember to recognize and celebrate the event.  For some that may actually include sending a birthday card requiring you to remember the event a week ahead.


The two tool approach required you to be diligent in transferring the date between your birthday list and the calendar.  It didn’t always work.



Your iPhone offers an approach that offers you the opportunity to record the birthdays of your friends and family in the Contact app and those birthdays will automatically appear on a Birthdays calendar on the date recorded.


Here are the three steps to help with this process.

  1. Record birthdays in the Contact app
  2. Set up Notifications for the Birthdays calendar in the Settings app.  (One time set up)
  3. Display the Birthdays calendar.

Enter Birthdays in the Contact App

Birthdays that you want to remember should have a contact record in the Contacts app.

This can be added either when the record is initially entered using the Add (+) function or by editing an existing contact record with the Edit function.


You will need to scroll down the Contact information past the phone, email and address fields to find birthday.  

Also, if you are working with an existing contact record for a person, you will not see the birthday unless you tap on Edit and scroll past the email and address fields. 


Tap (Green + Plus) sign next to the birthday label.  On your tap the green plus turns to which represents how you would remove or delete a birthday.  

Swipe up and down on the month and day fields to set to the desired level.  The year if known can be also be entered by swiping.  However, the year is optional for this function.    

Tap Done in the upper right corner to save the change.  

Set Up Alerts for Birthdays

Birthdays will display on your Birthdays calendar (See section below.)  However, you can also receive a screen alert or notification for the birthday.

There is a one time setup process using the Settings app to enable alerts for the birthdays that you create.  

Launch Settings.

Tap Calendar>Default Alert Times > Birthdays.

Pick one of the predefined times when your alert should be displayed.  Only these selections are available.  A check mark will be place next to the alert.  

Tap Back (upper left corner) to set the alert time.  


Expect to see a screen alert for the birthdays you have entered into Contacts. 

Display the Birthdays Calendar

Birthdays will display on your Birthdays calendar as an all day event with a little birthday icon.  This will display at the top of a daily calendar.


In order for birthdays to display, the Birthdays calendar must be selected.  

Tap Calendars at the bottom of a calendar.  

Find Birthdays in the Other section and tap to place a check mark next to the calendar for it to display.



Your iPhone will automatically remind you about upcoming birthdays and display birthdays on the calendar.  Simply enter birthdays into the Contacts apps and setup default alerts for birthdays.  


Additional Information

The Senior Tech Club recommends the following additional resources for members that wish to pursue additional and/or advanced information on this recipe:

iPhone User Guide – Edit Contacts on iPhone

iPhone User Guide – Set Up Multiple Calendars on iPhone

iCloud User Guide – Show the Birthdays calendar on