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How to create a shared shopping list using Siri

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September 20, 2012

An easily-unnoticed change in iOS 6 lets you create shared grocery lists with Siri

An easily-unnoticed change in iOS 6 lets you create shared grocery lists with Siri

When Apple launched Siri with the iPhone 4S, "she" instantly became a household name. The internet buzzed, casual consumers took notice, and Apple used it to market the incrementally-upgraded handset for nearly a year. But those who have spent time with the personal assistant know that Siri is very much a beta product.

Though Siri's voice recognition is solid, and she does a few things well (like sending messages, setting reminders, and now booking dinner reservations), there's a lot that Siri can't do. One of the biggest omissions is an API to connect to third-party apps. Apple naturally wants to keep it simple, but until Siri accesses a wider variety of services and databases, she'll be filled with more future potential than present practicality.

There are, however, roundabout ways for third-party apps to play nicely with Siri. Starting in iOS 6, App Store apps can access Reminders (with user permission). This opens a variety of doors, including this nifty trick for creating shared shopping lists.

Creating a Shared Shopping List

They may lack sexiness, but shopping list apps can be game changers for couples and families. These cloud-based services let you and your housemates share an always-in-sync list for those necessary trips to the store.

Though it isn't as popular as rival Grocery IQ, AnyList is a simple iOS shopping list app that has been updated to use Siri. The setup is easy:

  • Make sure you've updated to iOS 6 on a Siri-compatible device (iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, 3rd gen. iPad).
  • Install the AnyList app; it's free in the App Store.
  • Set up an account and sync it with someone that you share shopping lists with.
  • Make sure your shared shopping list has a simple name that makes sense when talking to Siri. For example, "grocery list" will be more natural than "Oscar and Felix's Shared List for Shopping at Walmart."
  • In AnyList's Settings, turn on Reminders Import.

That's it: now you can add items to your shared grocery list via Siri. So, say your significant other is on the way to the store; you want to add fun dip to the list, but you're occupied behind the wheel. Evoke Siri, and say "add fun dip to my grocery list." She will confirm the addition, and fun dip will appear in your shared grocery list.

Is this a groundbreaking revolution that will rock your world? Probably not. But, in addition to showing more of Siri's true potential, this is a handy tip that wasn't even possible a few days ago.

As Siri gradually evolves, what are the features you're most waiting for? Greater comprehension? Spotify or Rdio integration? Sound off in the comments!

About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin covers consumer technology for Gizmag. He's previously written for Android Central, Geek, GottaBeMobile, Android Police, and The Huffington Post.
He lives in New Mexico, U.S., with his lovely wife, Jessica.
  All articles by Will Shanklin
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1 Comment

For the strictly iOS household, just use the new shared Reminder List feature, instead.

Andrew Love
20th September, 2012 @ 07:35 pm PDT
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