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29 January 2020

0042: Part 1 - Using IFTTT on a Pixel or Android Phone

by Steven B. Combs, Ph.D.

This is part one of a three-part series on the use of the free service IFTTT to automate actions on the Pixel Phone, Google Assistant, or G Suite. In this episode we begin using IFTTT with our Pixel or Android phones. If you really want to up your Pixel-powered game, learn how to create IFTTT applets to automate functions on your phone.

The three-part series includes:

  1. Part 1 - Using IFTTT on a Pixel or Android Phone
  2. Part 2 - Using IFTTT with the Google Assistant
  3. Part 3 - Using IFTTT with G Suite applications

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Show Notes


Sorry for the couple of days delay. Flu bug got me!

If you are not familiar with IFTTT, here’s a quick introduction:

  1. Cloud service used to automate actions.
  2. Create applets from various services.
  3. It’s free! Businesses pay to have their devices connected.
  4. Only drawback is the lack of complex applets.
  5. Numerous devices and services offered.

You create applets from triggers and actions or select from a huge library of applets created and shared by other users. You should browse the library just to see what’s possible and generate ideas for your own applets. We’ll take a look at some toward the end of this segment.

IFTTT Android services

IFTTT includes five services specific to Android phones as shown in the image below:

IFTTT Android services

In order for these services to work, install the IFTTT app from the Google Play Store.

Services can provide both actions and triggers and some will only include one or the other. I will discuss both but below is an overview screenshot:

Service 1 - Android Battery

This service provides triggers based on the battery status of the phone.

Triggers include:

Service 2 - Android Device

This service provides both triggers and actions based on phone actions.

Triggers include:

Actions include:

Service 3 - Android Phone Call

This service provides both triggers based on phone calls.

Triggers include:

Service 4 - Android Photos

This service provides triggers based on photos.

Triggers include:

Service 5 - Android SMS

This service provides triggers and actions based on SMS send or receipt.

Triggers include:

Suggested Applets or Applications

Now that we know what actions are triggers are available, what are some recommended applets? Here are some I think you might find valuable with your Pixel Phone:

And that’s just a smattering of option designed to get you thinking about ways you can use IFTTT on your Pixel Phone to automate routine tasks or just have some phone.

In the next episode we will look at using the IFTTT service with the Google Assistant for even more useful applets.

If have an IFTTT routine you would like to share, send them to me via email or post them on the Pixel Power Podcast Subreddit as a reply to this episode’s post.


  1. Google Assistant: Continued conversations were wrecking our Google Hubs experience in the home.
  2. YouTube Music: We’re on a one month trial (includes ad free YouTube).
  3. Google Drive: Progressive web app (install from URL). Google seems to preparing for a day when Chrome OS apps are now more and use the more crossfunctional PWAs which allow extensions (such as TextExpander) to work within the apps.
  4. Messages: Also a progressive web app (ran into this one by accident) on my work Mac.
  5. Crostini: On-screen keyboard doesn’t work, but we do get a polite notification that seems to indicate it is coming.
  6. Crostini: Error updating Crostini in latest version of Chrome OS beta version 80 when using sudo apt update because signature keys not renewed. It’s a known issue.
  7. Crostini: I was able to get the latest version of the Arduino IDE running on my Pixelbook and Pixel Slate. It even connects to the Arduino and you can upload code. Read the blog post to learn how and watch the video below to see it in action.

  8. Google Store: Daughter had a good experience getting her Pixel 3 phone replaced after random shutdowns issue.
  9. OBS Studio: Speaking of video, I’ve found an amazing free application to produce multi-camera videos. Plans to use to supplment the podcast (although 4 above is already a good example).
  10. OBS Studio: Want to capture Chrome OS screen from a device into application. First solution was a bust. Hopefully I can find something. Let me know if you have ideas.
  11. Podcast Web Site: Still working on transfering past episodes to the new web site and hope you are enjoying the new format. Let me know.


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tags: ifttt - automation - pixelphone - android - automation