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Gadgets & Tech

Amazon’s Alexa gets a new shopping List widget for iPhone and Android

Adding an item to your shopping list with just your voice is a modern convenience you quickly get used to. But the pain of wrangling the app you added it to on your smartphone while wheeling a shopping cart through a crowded store can have you yearning for simpler days — and paper.

A new homescreen widget for Amazon’s Alexa’s shopping list feature makes it easier to keep an eye on your items while making a beeline for the produce aisle. The widget is available on iPhone and Android and shows your list right on your homescreen. Now the convenience of adding items to your shopping list using Alexa smart speakers doesn’t have to end when you leave the house.

To install the widget, you need to have the latest Alexa app on your phone, then add it to your homescreen just like any other app widget.

The Alexa Shopping List widget on a Samsung Galaxy Fold.
Screenshot by Dan Seifert / The Verge

On iOS, you get two size options: one that displays two items and one up to seven; each also has a numeric indicator telling you how many items in total are on your list. You can also add the shopping list as a lock screen widget, so it’s accessible by swiping left from the lock screen. Sadly, you can’t cross off items or add them directly on the widget. As soon as you tap the widget, it takes you to the Shopping List in the Alexa app.

This is still better than dealing with the Alexa app directly, where you have to open the app, tap the More button, go to Lists & Notes, then Shopping to get back to your list (unless you get lucky and it shows up on your Alexa app home page as a shortcut).

Using the widget on an Android phone, you get more interaction, including being able to check items off and manually refresh the widget. Plus, the widget is resizable, and you can scroll to see the rest of your list. But tapping the button to add an item does open the app, albeit directly to a text field to start typing in an item.

While this is still not the perfect digital shopping list experience, it’s a nice upgrade over trudging through the Alexa app. I may ditch my AnyList integration and just use Alexa directly now. It might also finally justify all those hours I’ve spent training members of my household to use their voices to add items to the shopping.

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