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

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?’ – gets frustrating.

Update: Nov 2019 – it seems the latest update to iOS 13 is a total gong show. 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.

Example

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.

4 thoughts on “Two-way sync between Alexa Reminders and iOS (both ways) – SOLVED”

    1. Hi Sue – yes. It’s a bit of a mess this iOS 13 upgrade. It seems they have done quite a rebuild on the reminders app and all the integrations have broken.

      Admittedly they never said they wouldn’t update it in such a way. Might take some time before we a new IFTTT widget to use.

      If you see one – let us know!

  1. 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.

    1. Hi Sarah – that is odd if you mean your Alexa reminders list, in your Alexa app is not working.

      Not to make any obvious suggestions but I would unplug and plug in your Alexa echo dot (or what ever device your talking to.)

      If you’re speaking to your Alexa app on your phone that’s different.

      Also restart your phone. You may have done that.

      Lastly, and most importantly, make sure you are running the latest iOS software. Apple have made about 4 updates since the first one and one of those was meant to help fix issues with the reminders app.

      Sadly, this hasn’t fixed the iOS IFTTT reminders to Alexa list syncing issues. I think we’re going to need a new IFTTT applet for that…

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