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

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

By Justin Pot · August 11, 2021
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.

Bring context to your calendar by connecting other apps
Learn how

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.

Option 1: Get started quickly

The template below will help you get started quickly. Just click on Use this Zap button below and you'll be guided through setup. You'll need a Zapier account; it's free to sign up.

Here's how it works:

  1. Click on the Use this Zap button above to get started. 

  2. Connect Google Calendar to Zapier and select the calendar you want to use.

  3. Set up SMS by Zapier by confirming your phone number.

  4. Select the phone number you want SMS by Zapier to send texts from.

  5. Select the Google Calendar information you want to include in your SMS notification.

  6. Test your workflow and turn it on.

This is the fastest way to set up SMS notifications for Google Calendar.

Option 2: Create your own Zap

If you want more control over these notifications, including filtering so you only get notifications for particular events, you should create your own Zap instead. 

How to use Zapier to get SMS notifications for Google Calendar events

Here's how to do that:

  1. Log into Zapier.

  2. Connect and customize your Google Calendar.

  3. Set up your SMS message.

  4. Turn your Zap on.

Log into Zapier

Head to Zapier.com and log into your account, or create one for free if you don't already have one. Once you're logged in click the Make a Zap! button at the top right. Now we can get designing.

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.

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.

Choose and configure your Google Calendar

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 SMS by Zapier

Next, we'll work on what happens when a calendar event is approaching. Add a new step, then choose SMS by Zapier as your app.

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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.

Setting up SMS by Zapier

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.

Customize your message

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.

Zapier fields selection

Play around until your text looks just right, then click Continue. Click Test & Continue and your phone should get a text message.

Test SMS

It's working!

Text notification!

Turn your Zap on

Now that everything is set up, it's time to turn on your Zap. Give it a name and optionally save it to a folder on Zapier.

Save your Zap

You will now get SMS notifications for every event on your Google Calendar. Enjoy!

This article was originally published in October 2019. It was updated in August 2021 by Zapier staff writer Krystina Martinez.

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Justin Pot picture

Justin Pot

Justin Pot is a staff writer at Zapier based in Hillsboro, Oregon. He loves technology, people, and nature, not necessarily in that order. You can follow Justin on Twitter: @jhpot. You don't have to. But you can.

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