Automation is something many mobile users don’t take advantage of.
Smartphones are, well … smart. They’re capable of so much more than snapping photos, sending and receiving messages, and browsing the Web. They’re capable of being contextually aware, learning their owners, and sometimes taking care of business with no user input whatsoever.
Services like Google Now and Cortana provide automation to some degree, but as impressive as they both are, Google’s and Microsoft’s virtual assistants are just the tip of the iceberg.
Tasker is an application available on Android. If you’re into automation, it will be one of the best $3 you will ever spend on an Android app. You can control various aspects of your phone and trigger different events and states based on different types of input. For instance, when I plug my headphones into the headphone jack on my Moto X, Pocket Casts opens and Bluetooth turns off. Or if my Pebble is connected and I open Spotify, the Music Boss application on my Pebble will launch and the default music app will switch to Spotify for remote controls. There are virtually limitless possibilities with Tasker.
If you’re looking for a similar experience for free, paired with a fair amount of web services, IFTTT (if this, then that) just released its Android application, as well as six new Android channels for controlling your device: Device, Location, Notifications, Phone Call, Photos, and SMS. Those six channels can be linked and intertwined with 86 other supported channels in IFTTT, such as Craigslist, Facebook, Feedly, Instagram, Pocket, reddit, Twitter, YouTube, and more.
I could write all day about all the possibilities the IFTTT app opens up for Android and iOS users, but I’d rather share with you some of my favorite and most useful IFTTT recipes for mobile users. Enjoy!
Text to escape
We’ve all been in an uncomfortable situation – a horrible, never-ending meeting with an upset boss over forgotten TPS reports or maybe running into someone on the street you really don’t want to talk to. Text to escape can quickly get you out of such a sticky situation. If you add this recipe to your IFTTT list, simply text “helpme” to IFTTT and the service will send an automated call to your phone with a customizable message.
Turn volume up by text
Misplace your silenced phone? Did you check under the couch cushions? Under the couch? In the pocket of your jacket on the coat rack?
Call it! Oh, right. It’s silenced.
You should have used this IFTTT recipe. By sending an email to IFTTT with the subject tagged with “#volumeup”, you can restore volume on your phone, call it, and locate it. It’s clever and very useful if you’ve misplaced your phone.
Silence phone when at work/school
Using the new Android Location channel, you can create a geofence for certain locations, be it school, work, or a coffee shop you frequent. When entering or exiting that location, you can automatically silence your Android phone.
Text me the forecast each morning
Using a weather app to get your forecast every morning is so 2012. Using this recipe on IFTTT, you can have the forecast sent to you as an SMS every morning around the same time. You can set parameters like location, Celsius or Fahrenheit, sunrise or sunset, pollen index, and much more. The weather channel also allows you to send messages if current conditions change to rainy, snowy, etc.
This is a quick and easy way to know how to prepare for the day.
If you’re using an Android device, you can use the Android Notification channel instead of SMS to streamline and clean up the process a bit.
When I favorite something in Pocket, convert it to PDF and put it in Evernote
If you use Pocket to save snippets from all over the web, this recipe may appeal to you. Articles and links you star in Pocket can be automatically converted to a PDF and saved to your Evernote account.
Favorite tweets saved to Pocket
Likewise, you can use the tweets you favorite on Twitter to be saved to your Pocket account. I also use IFTTT to add saved posts on reddit to my Pocket account. From there, I can easily recall favorited tweets and saved posts from reddit while offline.
Save new watch later YouTube videos to Pocket
Similarly, if you’re perusing YouTube and find a new video you want to watch later, you can create a trigger to add watch later videos directly to your Pocket account.
If new Facebook photo, save to Dropbox
If you want an online backup of all the photos you ever upload to Facebook (moving forward), you can use this recipe. Each photo you upload to Facebook will automatically be saved in the Dropbox directory of your choosing. You can also do this with photos you upload to Twitter and Instagram, as well.
Boxoh Package Tracking sends Android notification/SMS
Mobile package tracking is slowly getting better with time. I typically use Package Buddy Pro to track packages via Android. But if you’re looking for a free option that’s not quite as in-depth but just as simple, simply drop a new tracking number in this recipe to push shipment status changes directly to your Android notification shade. If you’re not on Android, you can have tracking updates sent via SMS, email, or Pushover.
Send Android Notification for new Pocketnow YouTube video
Of course, we know you want to stay up to date on all our videos, so we created this recipe just for you. Every time a new video is uploaded to our YouTube channel, you will get a notification in your notification shade.
(I have no way to test this RSS feed, at least not until a new video is uploaded, so if anyone has trouble with this particular recipe, shoot me a mention on Twitter and I can provide a better feed URL.)
What are your favorites?
These are just a few of my favorite recipes. There are literally thousands upon thousands of pre-made recipes to choose from and thousands more for you to create on your own. If you’ve been tinkering with IFTTT, feel free to share your favorite recipes below!