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.
Sorry for the couple of days delay. Flu bug got me!
If you are not familiar with IFTTT, here’s a quick introduction:
Cloud service used to automate actions.
Create applets from various services.
It’s free! Businesses pay to have their devices connected.
Only drawback is the lack of complex applets.
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:
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.
Battery drops below 15%
Device is plugged in
Device is unplugged
Service 2 - Android Device
This service provides both triggers and actions based on phone actions.
Notification received from a specific app
Connects to a Bluetooth device
Disconnects from a Bluetooth device
Connects to any WiFi network
Disconnects from any WiFi network
Connects or disconnects from any WiFi network
Connects to a specific WiFi network
Disconnects to a specific WiFi network
Connects or disconnects from a specific WiFi network
Update device wallpaper
Play a specific song
Launch Google Maps Navigation
Set ringtone volume
Turn on Bluetooth
Turn off Bluetooth
Turn on WiFi
Turn off WiFi
Service 3 - Android Phone Call
This service provides both triggers based on phone calls.
Any phone call placed
Any phone call answered
Any phone call missed
Phone call placed to a specific number
Phone call answered from a specific number
Phone call missed from a specific number
Service 4 - Android Photos
This service provides triggers based on photos.
Any new photo
New photo taken in area
Service 5 - Android SMS
This service provides triggers and actions based on SMS send or receipt.
Any new SMES received
Any new SMS sent
New SMS receive from phone number
New SMS sent to phone number
New SMS received matches search
New SMS sent matches search
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:
Turn off security cameras when Pixel Phone connects to home WiFi
Automatically update the Pixel Phone wallpaper with NASA’s astronomy of the day image
Automatically backup SMS messages received or sent to a Google sheet
Mute your phone when a meeting begins in Google Calendar (and turn it back on afterward with another applet)
Locate your Pixel Phone with your Google Home Hub
Send an SMS to your phone that increases the ringtone to 100% (when you lose your phone) - you will need to provide Do Not Disturb access to the IFTTT app
Turn off WiFi when you leave home
Keep a log of specific calls that you receive from a specific number (spouse, work, etc.)
Mute your Pixel Phone at a specific time (bedtime)
Preview a Picture taken on your Pixel Phone on a your Wear OS device
Upload Pixel Phone screen shots to Google Drive
Blink your smart-home lights when you have a missed Pixel Phone call
Receive a notification on your Pixel Phone when it starts to snow (or rain)
Pause audio on Sonos when you receive a phone call
Use Google Assistant devices to find your phone
Send a text to someone when you enter a specific geographical area
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.
Google Assistant: Continued conversations were wrecking our Google Hubs experience in the home.
YouTube Music: We’re on a one month trial (includes ad free YouTube).
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.
Messages: Also a progressive web app (ran into this one by accident) on my work Mac.
Crostini: On-screen keyboard doesn’t work, but we do get a polite notification that seems to indicate it is coming.
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.
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.
Google Store: Daughter had a good experience getting her Pixel 3 phone replaced after random shutdowns issue.
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).
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.
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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