I miss many calendar reminders because they're just too subtle. I might put my phone down and walk out of the room for 5 minutes, missing the reminder, then come back and not touch my phone again for an hour; completely missing an important appointment.

If reminders worked like alarms, they would make their notification sound continuously (up to a point, like alarms: ~10 minutes), and take over the whole screen, until silenced. That would be preferable to me. Is there an app that can do this?

  • Change your notification settings A link support.google.com/calendar/answer/… Nov 23, 2016 at 20:17
  • I just took a deep dive in reminders vs events vs tasks turns out it's alarms. Set a recurring alarm if you have a scrum meeting every day at 2pm. Or set an alarm for your appointment tomorrow at 12PM, you will get a notification from your Google home. Aug 18, 2020 at 5:33

6 Answers 6


If you want to stick with your Google Calendar as backend and frontend, you might wish to check Calendar Event Reminder. You can tell that app which calendars to look at, and to annoy you until you're going crazy. I almost guarantee you cannot miss such a reminder! I've used the app for quite some time, before...

I switched to a different calendar frontend: Business Calendar. Very configurable again, also concerning reminders: vibrates and makes "subtle noises" (I've told him so) until I lose my nerves and switch it off :)

There are probably a lot of similar approaches. But I know of no way to even come near to one of them without any 3rd party tool being involved.

  • 10
    Warning: Calendar Event Reminder was using a pay-for-ratings service. It's actual ratings are far far lower. Note the precipitous drop earlier this year. I have not looked at this product myself, just warning y'all to be cautious. Sep 21, 2016 at 16:47

You can copy the mp3 file that you'd like (for example a 5-minute song) to the Notifications folder in your Android (at the same level that the Download folder). This can be done as well for ringtones (Ringtones folder) and alarms (Alarms folder). Now, go to calendar Settings, General and change the tone to your mp3 file.

  • Thanks. Can also add vibrations in Settings > General. Works for me
    – DrGeneral
    Sep 24, 2017 at 4:46
  • No such option (set a ringtone) exists on vanilla Android (as of version 11). Either it was removed or you had a custom skin back when you wrote this? Anyways, seems like a 3rd party app is the solution. Sep 21, 2021 at 20:42

I found a free app, Calendar Event Reminder, that achieves the requirement at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=sk.mildev84.reminder

  • While this is a great app, it hasn't been completely reliable. Even when I check my battery optimization settings. I have been using this and another one called "Calendar Alarm". I like calendar alarm better but it doesn't work for Outlook calendar items as of August 12, 2021 Aug 12, 2021 at 20:24
  • @KimballRobinson Could you share a link to the app that you recommend?
    – Flimm
    Sep 14, 2022 at 7:48

What I do is to set an additional alarm in my standard android "Clock" app. Alarms have the option to give them "memo text", e.g. "Reminder for meeting boss in 10 min". So the alarm will act as your intruding and persistent reminder. The alarm has also the option "Auto-start app", where you can select after switching off the alarm the calendar to be opened, showing you that you have an appointment in x min.

  • 1
    That is perhaps a tolerable workaround -- but it only works for events that are not more than a week away, and for those alarms that are further away than 24 hours you have to set a weekday which makes the alarm recurrent, i.e. you must delete or disable it after acknowledging. Dec 21, 2022 at 16:48

I had a first answer, but this is an alternative...

Use an automation app like MacroDroid

Another approach I use: set up an automation app to detect when events start, and set off an alarm. Currently I do this to remind me only in the mornings of my first meeting, but you could have it manage EVERY meeting. Here's a rough idea of a possible setup:

  • Use MacroDroid
  • Trigger on meetings 5 minutes before they begin.
    • Exclude all-day events
    • With MacroDroid you would need to duplicate this trigger for each calendar you care about, since a calendar trigger can't target multiple calendars
  • Constraint: only during working hours plus buffer (7:00am to 5:30pm)
    • Or, only during waking hours (7am to 10pm) if you target personal calendars. Note, you can add constraints to specific triggers, so you can do different time ranges per calendar
  • Action: Check variable with event title [calendar_title]. Abort if it contains words/phrases like "out of office/OOO/paid time off/PTO").
    • This would be an abort macro action with an action-level constraint based on variable pattern matching
  • Action: Set an alarm 1 minute in the future with title set to variable [calendar_title]
  • The drawback of this approach is that it doesn't allow for custom times/reminders. You could probably solve this by triggering on google calendar reminder notifications or parsing some text in a calendar description, but I haven't looked into how to do this yet.
  • You might set the alarm volume based location/wifi/bluetooth conditions. For example,
    • if your bluetooth noise-canceling headset is on, full volume.
    • If in the office, start with a loooong sequence of vibrations, then start with a low alarm volume.
    • (You might wish to prevent an alarm from going off in the middle of a meeting, or too loudly in cubicleville. If you have overlapping, conflicting, or back-to-back meetings, this might need careful refinement and testing)

Also check out my alternate answer for some apps that might get you 90% of the way there.


I use TWO apps for this: [EDIT: I have stopped using both of these, see my other separate answer]

  • Google Calendar events: Event Alarm Reminder for Google Calendar
    • One drawback of this one: No support of Outlook/Exchange calendars (yet) (August 2021)
  • Outlook/Exchange events: "Event Reminder"
    • This app DOES support outlook
    • Isn't terribly reliable so I ONLY use it for outlook/exchange, hence both apps.

Also check out my separate answer on how to use a phone automation app.


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