Adding an item to your shopping list using just your voice is a modern convenience that you quickly get used to. But the pain of wrestling with the app you added it to on your smartphone as you wheel a shopping cart through a crowded store can leave you longing for simpler days — and paper.
A new homescreen widget for Amazon’s Alexa shopping list feature makes it easier to keep an eye on your items as you make your way down the product aisle. The widget is available on iPhone and Android and displays your list right on your home screen. 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 and then add it to your home screen just like any other app widget.
On iOS you get two format options: one that displays two items and one to seven; each also has a numerical indicator that tells you how many items are on your list in total. You can also add the shopping list as a lock screen widget so that it can be accessed by swiping left from the lock screen. Unfortunately, you cannot cross out or add items directly to the widget. Once you tap the widget, you’ll be taken to the shopping list in the Alexa app.
This is still better than working directly with the Alexa app where you have to open the app, tap the More button, go to Lists & notesthen Shop to go back to your list (unless you’re lucky and it appears on your Alexa app’s home page as a shortcut).
Using the widget on an Android phone gives you more interaction, including the ability to check off items and manually refresh the widget. In addition, the widget can be resized 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 type in an item.
While this still isn’t the perfect digital shopping list experience, it’s a nice upgrade over trudging through the Alexa app. I can dump mine AnyList Integration and just use Alexa right now. It could also finally justify all those hours I’ve spent training members of my household to use their voice to add items to the groceries.