How to set hourly reminders iPhone apple watch wash hands don't touch face

With the coronavirus outbreak becoming more serious in the US and around the world, you’ve likely heard many times about the important steps to stay healthy and curb the spread of the virus, like washing your hands often (and well) and not touching your face. However, those can be tough habits to change. Let’s look at how to set up hourly reminders to wash your hands and stop touching your face on iPhone and Apple Watch.

iPhone and Apple Watch can be great tools to help stay healthy and flatten the curve of the coronavirus outbreak. Just like the hourly stand reminder Apple Watch users get, we’ll look at a couple of options including Apple’s Reminders app and third-party app Due that can really make sure you stay on top of washing your hands regularly and change your habit of touching your face by creating a new feedback loop.

Research shows that it often takes up to two months to make a new habit stick (not touching your face is probably more difficult to change than adjusting your handwashing routine), but constant reminders on your iPhone or Apple Watch could significantly shorten that timeframe.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially recommends washing your hands with soap thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, while other resources recommend 30 seconds (check out the difference time makes in killing germs with this neat image here).

For a fun way to remember how long 30 seconds is, check out this tool to create handwashing lyrics out of your favorite songs (via The Verge).

You might also want to check out our guide on cleaning and sanitizing your iPhone, particularly after Apple changed its recommendations earlier this week.

How to set up hourly reminders to wash your hands on iPhone and Apple Watch

Option 1

  1. Open the Reminders app on iPhone and create a new reminder
  2. Tap the “i” to the right of your reminder
  3. Tap the toggle next to Remind me on a day
  4. Tap the toggle next to Remind me at a time
  5. Choose Repeat and choose Hourly (or choose Custom)
  6. Tap Done in the top right corner

Pro tip: Skip the manual set up and use a Siri command to set up hourly reminders. Something like “Remind me to wash hands every hour starting at 3 o’clock.”

You’re all set to get regular reminders on iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac. Here’s how these steps look on iPhone:

How to set hourly reminders iPhone apple watch wash hands don't touch face walkthrough 1

You can choose hourly or set a custom reminder interval. You can also pick a time for the repeating reminder to end, or leave it set at the default, “Never.”

How to set hourly reminders iPhone apple watch wash hands don't touch face walkthrough 2

Option 2 — third-party apps

If you’d like to use more persistent reminders than what Apple’s built-in app offers, Due is a great choice. It’s a paid app but offers power-user features like:

  • Auto Snooze repeatedly* notifies you of missed reminders until marked done or rescheduled. Choose between intervals of every 1, 5, 10, 15, 30, and 60 minutes.
  • Fast to Set, Fast to Postpone: A time picker with 12 preset and fully customizable times lets you set due dates and postpone reminders in record time.

  • Countdown Timers: Precise to the second, perfect for making the perfect soft-boiled eggs, brewing your coffee, and more. Set them up once and reuse them forever

Due is a $6.99 download from the App Store with lots of positive reviews from users.

If you like the idea of dedicated software for handwashing, there’s the free Wash Your Hands! app. You can set custom intervals and there’s also a built-in timer to make sure you’re washing long enough.

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About the Author

Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.