Google shut down SMS notifications for Google Calendar events in 2019, encouraging users to use in-app notifications instead. This makes sense for most users—the Google Calendar app is ubiquitous—but there are still a few cases where SMS notifications come in handy, such as users without access to a reliable internet connection.
Zapier can help if you want to keep the SMS notifications flowing. We offer simple automations called Zaps that can move information between your favorite apps—including sending you an SMS message when a Google Calendar event is about to begin.
Let's dive into setting everything up.
Note that as of right now we only support sending SMS messages to phone numbers in the U.S. and U.K.
Get SMS alerts for approaching events
Zapier lets you create automated workflows called Zaps, which send your information from one app to another. You can create your own Zap from scratch without any coding knowledge, but we also offer quick templates to get you started.
If you'd like to start with a template, click the button below, and you'll be taken to the Zapier editor. You'll need to create a Zapier account if you don't already have one. Then, follow the directions below to set up your Zap.
Get SMS alerts for new approaching Google Calendar events
Set up your Google Calendar trigger
We'll start at the beginning (which, as I understand, is a very good place to start). We need to set up our trigger—the event that starts our Zap. Select Google Calendar as the trigger app and Event Start as our trigger event. This will be the source of our notifications. If you're using the Zap template above, this will already be selected for you.
Next, you'll be asked to sign in to your Google Calendar account or to choose from any accounts you've already signed into. Click Continue once you've signed in and connected or chosen an account.
For each app you connect, Zapier will ask for a general set of permissions which allows you to be flexible with your Zaps. The only actions Zapier takes on your app accounts are those a given Zap needs to accomplish what you've set up.
Customize your Zap by choosing a calendar and when texts are sent
Now we can choose which calendar we want to see events from and decide how many minutes before an event the text should be sent.
Zapier scans Google Calendar every five to 15 minutes (depending on your plan), so we recommend setting this to 15-25 minutes ahead of time if you want at least a 10-minute SMS warning of your upcoming calendar event.
Note that you can also set a search term to filter your calendar. This is useful if you only want notifications for particular events, such as events on your calendar that include words like "meeting" or "important!".
Click the Continue button when you're ready. You'll be shown some sample data; check it out, then click the Continue button again.
Set up your SMS by Zapier action
Now let's set up the action—the event your Zap will perform once it's triggered. Select SMS by Zapier as your action app and Send SMS as your action event.
If you've set up SMS by Zapier before, you can reuse that account, but don't worry if you haven't, it's simple. You’ll need to enter your phone number, then request a PIN. Enter this PIN to prove you own the number in question.
Once that's done, pick your account and click Continue.
Customize your SMS message
Now you can customize your SMS alert. The default tells you that your event is starting soon.
As you can see, I've got a busy afternoon ahead of me.
You can edit this text to say whatever you want. You can also insert a Field to pull other information from your Google Calendar event, such as the start time. Click inside any empty field and you’ll see a variety of information pulled from your calendar event.
Play around until your text looks just right, then click Continue. Click Test & Continue and your phone should get a text message.
Begin using your Zap
Once everything is set up correctly, you're ready to begin using your Zap. Then, you can give your Zap a name and optionally save it to a folder on Zapier.
You will now get SMS notifications for every event on your Google Calendar. Enjoy!
This article was originally published in October 2019. It was previously updated by Krystina Martinez and most recently by Elena Alston in April 2022.