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Two-way sync between Alexa Reminders and iOS (both ways) – SOLVED, mostly.

Amazon Alexa on table with TV, Apple TV Remote and XBox controller
Amazon Alexa – ‘you already have that on your list, would you like me to add it again?’ | Source: Make Life Click

Update: June 2020 – the issues that existed with the iOS 13 update and reminder app overhaul seem to have resolved themselves now. I’ve tested the integrations from IFTTT with Google and Alexa and both are working fine.

Update: Nov 2019 – it seems the latest update to iOS 13 is a total gong show for Apple. There seems to be issues now syncing the new version of Reminders on iOS 13 with Alexa or Google Home.

If this is you comment below as we’re looking to solve this collectively. What have you tried? Is your IFTTT still running correctly?

We have our grocery list in iOS Reminders. My wife prefers it as it saves us having to use too many apps. We have our Alexa and iOS grocery list connected via IFTTT. When we add an item to our Alexa list it appears in our iOS list automatically.

This works great but the problem with all the help posts when searching on the web is they all tell you how to ‘Sync your Alexa grocery and to do lists with iOS Reminders’ lists but they don’t mean sync, more like push. They explain how if you add things to Alexa, IFTTT will send the reminder one way to Apple iOS. They don’t cover how to sync your iOS reminders list to Amazon Alexa, back to Alexa.

When you update the iOS reminder as ‘Done’ it will not update back to Alexa.


So using Bananas as an example. Let’s say we’ve added Bananas to the Alexa list and that has synced to iOS Reminders. We’ve then gone to the grocery store and bought Bananas. You mark of the item in your Apple iOS grocery list and you’re done.

The next time you need Bananas you ask Alexa to ‘Add Bananas’ and she says ‘You already have Bananas on your Grocery list, would you like me to add them again?’. Then you have to say ‘Yes’.

It’s a little thing but it gets really annoying! The problem is that Apple iOS reminders cannot sync back to Alexa so the grocery item has not been cleared off your Alexa grocery list.

Essentially, iOS can not sync back to Alexa and Alexa cannot remove items from your iOS list, it can only add items.

The Solution?

It’s not good news as Alexa is working exactly as it’s meant to. It does not know you have been shopping and cleared you iOS list.

It is doing a good thing by reminding you that the thing you are asking for already (still) exists. It doesn’t know you’re syncing your list with your iPhone. It assumes your using the Alexa app to manage your grocery list.

The good news is there is a workaround. It’s not perfect but it works.

After you have done your grocery shopping, or as soon as you know your iOS grocery reminders list is up to date (which is a few seconds after you last added an item to you Alexa list) then you can say:

Alexa, clear my grocery list’

She might say ‘You want me to you clear your Grocery list, is that correct?

You can then say yes.

This will clear all the items on your Alexa list and because it can’t remove things off your iOS list, your iOS list will be unchanged.

It might be that you have added some things to you grocery list already and you’re worried about losing things you might have added to your iOS list.

You don’t need to worry that clearing Alexa will also clear your iOS list, it can’t happen.

It’s not a true 2-way sync between Alexa and iOS but it’s next best thing.

It’s easy and it works.

By clearing your Alexa list, ideally after you have gone shopping and ticked off your iOS list, you won’t have Alexa saying ‘you already have that item on your grocery list’.

I really hope that helps some of you out there. It seems simple but it took me a while to have the revelation because I thought I would have to clear all my Alexa grocery list one item at a time.

Another solution is to just use the Alexa app lists and not bother syncing. ?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Why this is worth it, Alexa and Grocery lists.

If you do sync your grocery lists and reminders between Alexa and Google, you’ll know how cool it is. Grocery lists are the most common use of reminder lists with Alexa in our house. I love them, they have to be one of the best things about having Alexa.

To be standing in the kitchen and say ‘Alexa, add Bananas‘ and then know that when you are at the grocery store it will be on your list is awesome.

To have your hands full or be busy in the kitchen and be able to add things to a list without having to stop and write things down or manually enter them into your phone shopping lists is priceless.

Using IFTTT, it is possible. In fact, we have Alexa and Google in the house and we can add things to our one shared iOS shopping list from either using IFTTT with Alexa or the native google integration.

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11 months ago

Since the latest iPhone update IFTTT has stopped syncing my Alexa and iOS reminders.

11 months ago

IFTTT is not working correctly anymore but the bigger issue for me is that the Alexa app is no longer pushing notifications to my phone for my Alexa-set (“Alexa, remind me to…”) reminders. (NOT Alexa to-do list items.) It’s become completely pointless to ask Alexa to remind me about things unless I set it for a time that I know I’ll be home, because the reminder only notifies me through the speakers now.

If I could just get IFTTT to copy any Alexa-set reminder into iOS (including the date/time) I’d be set.

Jeffrey Bunch
Jeffrey Bunch
10 months ago

I am someone who is having sketchy performance with IFTTT and the new iOS reminders.

8 months ago

The IFTTT applett only works if I go into IFTTT and manually run it using the “CHECK NOW” button in the applet configuration. It will no longer run automatically in the background.

6 months ago
Reply to  Mark

did anyone find a resolution – having the exact same problem — have to click “CHECK NOW”

5 months ago

Thank you – this neat workaround has helped me as I also use reminders for my shopping list.

3 months ago

How is it possible that having third party “skills” customizations and development there is no way of building up a skill that achieve complete integrations between the 2 ecosystems or at least cutting off IFTTT middle man? Is it a developmental barrier from amazon side?

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