How to Set Up iCloud Calendar for Alexa

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Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot just got a cool new feature, assuming you want to hear your schedule recited, because Alexa now supports iCloud Calendar. Giving Alexa access to your Calendar is a little more involved than tapping a couple buttons on your iPhone, but it isn’t too difficult to set up. Follow along to learn how.

iCloud Calendar, if you aren’t familiar with Apple’s marketing jargon, is the feature that lets you synchronize your schedule between your Mac, iPhone, and iPad. You can also see your Calendar online if you login to your iCloud account in Safari.

Assuming you’re syncing your Calendar data with iCloud, you’ll also need two-factor authentication enabled for your account. Two-factor authentication used two elements to login to your account: something you know (your Apple ID password) and something you have (a special one-use six-digit code Apple sends you).

If you haven’t set up two-factor authentication for your Apple ID year it’s time, even if you aren’t going to link Alexa to your iCloud Account.

Set Up iCloud Two-Factor Authentication

To activate two-factor authentication on your iPhone do this:

  • Tap System Preferences
Apple ID settings in iOS include iCloud and two-factor authentication settings
Tap your name to see your iCloud and two-factor authentication settings
  • Your name should be at the top of the list. Go ahead and tap it to see your iCloud settings.
  • Tap Password & Security
Enable two-factor authentication in Apple ID's Password & Security settings
Two-factor authentication is tucked away in Password & Security
  • Choose Turn on Two Factor Authentication
Enable two-factor authentication to improve your iCloud and Apple ID security
Using two-factor authentication makes good security sense even if you aren’t linking to Alexa
  • Confirm your trusted phone number
  • Enter the validation code Apple sends to your iPhone

Set Up an App-specific Password for Alexa

Here’s how to create an app-specific password for the Alexa app so it can access your Calendar:

  • Go to Apple’s Apple ID website in Safari and enter your Apple ID user name and password.
  • Since two-factor authentication is enabled you’ll need to enter the six digit code Apple sends you.
  • Tap Security
  • Look for the “App-Specific Passwords” section and tap Generate Password…
Create an app-specific password for Alexa at the Apple ID website
Use the Apple ID website to create app-specific passwords
  • Enter a name for the password. I used “Alexa” so it’ll be obvious to me later where I’m using the password.
  • Tap Create
  • Copy the password Apple generates

Login to iCloud Calendar in Alexa

Now you need to give Alexa the app-specific password so it can access your Calendar data:

  • Launch the Alexa app on your iPhone
  • Tap the menu icon in the upper left corner
  • Tap Settings
  • Scroll down and tap Calendar
Link your iCloud account to Alexa with the Calendar Settings
Tap Calendar in Alexa’s Settings to link your iCloud account
  • Tap Apple
Use the Apple option in Alexa's Calendar Settings to link your Apple ID and iCloud account to Alexa
Tap Apple to link your iCloud account to Alexa
  • Enter your Apple ID user name
  • Enter the app-specific passcode you just copied
Link Alexa to your iCloud Calendar with your Apple ID user name and an app-specific password
Enter your Apple ID user name and the app-specific password you just made
  • Tap Sign In

After Alexa is linked to your iCloud account you can choose which Calendar categories it can access. If you only want your personal calendar available through Alexa, for example, uncheck everything else.

Now you can ask Alexa questions like, “What’s on my calendar,” or “When is my next event?” You can also add events. If I’m having lunch with Bryan, I’d say “Add lunch with Bryan to my calendar.”

Using your Echo with Alexa to check your calendar is pretty convenient, but it comes with a big privacy risk: Anyone that’s near your Echo can find out what’s on your schedule by asking Alexa. If that’s not something you’re comfortable with, don’t give Alexa access to your iCloud Calendar data and maybe wait for Apple to introduce its rumored Siri voice assistant appliance instead.

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