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Google Calendar shut down SMS notifications. Here's how to keep getting them.

By Justin Pot · September 15, 2023
google-calendar-sms-tutorial primary img

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.

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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.

Send Twilio SMS messages for Google Calendar events

Send Twilio SMS messages for Google Calendar events
  • Google Calendar logo
  • Twilio logo
Google Calendar + Twilio

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.

A trigger event in the Zap editor with Google Calendar selected for the trigger app and Event Start for the trigger event.

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.

Fields to customize a Google Calendar trigger step which show a specific Google calendar selected.

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 action

Now let's set up the action—the event your Zap will perform once it's triggered. You can use any SMS app that connects with Zapier, but we're going to use Twilio in our example.

Select Twilio as your action app and Send SMS as your action event.

An action event in the Zap editor with Twilio selected as the action app and Send SMS as the action event.

Next, connect your Twilio account. You'll be asked to go to your Twilio account to grab your Account SID and Auth Token.

An authorization pop-up window asking for your Twilio account SID and auth token.

Gather this information from your Twilio account (the pop-up includes a link to your account settings), paste it in the authorization window, then click Yes, continue to Twilio

Once you're back in your Zap, click Continue to move on to setting up your action step.

Customize your SMS message

Now you can customize your SMS alert. At minimum, you'll need to add your From Number, To Number, and the message for your text.

Note: You'll need to make sure you've set up a phone number in your Twilio account before you set up this step of your Zap, otherwise no number will show up in the From Number dropdown.

Fields to customize a Twilio action step, including fields for a phone number and message.

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 step and your phone should get a text message.

A test for a Zap that shows details for an SMS.

Begin using your Zap

Once everything is set up correctly, you're ready to begin using your Zap. You'll now get SMS notifications for every event on your Google Calendar. Enjoy!

This article was originally published in October 2019 and was most recently updated in September 2023.

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