Have you ever wished that you could save your brain from doing some of those boring tasks that you do everyday? What about automating a simple workflow so instead of having to important emails into Evernote you could just do one simple action and they are saved, or even it happens without you thinking? Maybe you’ve even gone as far as thinking about home automation and trying to set up a system so when you return home, the lights turn on (after sunset) and you office computer is switched off as you leave work.
Well with IFTTT (today’s Free App Friday pick) you can do just this. The timing for this pick is just right as they have recently added location tracking to the iPhone and released an iPad version.
In case you’ve not heard of IFTTT before then here is the really simple overview. IFTTT stands for If this, then that. You can create or search “Recipes” which are a routine for IFTTT to trigger. These could be based on an event on the web, or an event on your phone. Notably, now they include location settings, so IF you are at a certain location THEN something will happen.
Normally we’d tell you what we like and don’t like, but today were going to go over some of our favourite recipies for IFTTT so you can either get some ideas of how you can use it or some new ideas for old hands of the app.
1. Gmail to Evernote
There are a few variations here (and as we mentioned last week, you can now use one note to store data too) but the basic premise is to get your emails into your paperless system so you have a permanent backup. You may want to place extra conditions such as only stared items, certain categories or from certain senders so that you don’t save all your junk mail into Evernote.
Oh and if you still use RSS you can save articles too.
2. Link your profile pictures
Many of us like having a unified profile picture, keeping the same one on every profile. With IFTTT you can set it up so that updating your Facebook profile picture changes your twitter profile too. In theory you can get it so that all of your accounts change at once.
3. Receive trending articles
An alternative to using yahoo news digest is to get the trending New York Times, ESPN or certain other news Channels and sites, sent to your read it later service of choice. In some cases you can do this via the trending topic or on other occasions via a search or category. It’s up to you to choose.
4. Add income to a spreadsheet
Depending on where your income sources come from, paypal, gumroad or etsy, as long as you get an email with confirmation (or certain supported services) you can log that in a google drive document.
5. Find your lost phone.
If you know that you’ve left your phone somewhere in the house but can’t remember where then you can set up a recepie so you send an email with a hashtag (e.g. #Lost) and ifttt will ring your phone for you to help you find it.
6. Space your images to flickr
Flickrs kind offering of 1tb of free space is very handy but getting your photos on to flickr can be a pain. Luckily there is a recipe that will let you back up every photo, or you can choose to save any photo you share on Facebook or Instagram.
An alternative is to backup to dropbox or Google drive if you prefer.
7. Send an event notice
Many calendars offer some form of notification before the events happen but not everyone will add it automatically and it can be nice to have a backup. You can set up a reminder to send you a text when an event starts (so you’ll have to set it in advance a bit).
An alternative is add your calendar events into reminders automatically as well.
8. Send deals to your email
If there is a site that runs certain deals and giveaways, you can set up an alert to get an email about them. This can work well from a single site or from a selection of sites but you need a separate email for each one.
9. Log your work hours
With the location feature you can now record when you are at work (or at home) and add that time into a log. This is a great feature for freelances or people who work on a site. Setting up an automatic track feature helps you forget about the need to track your hours.
10. Save gmail attachments to dropbox
Instantly save your gmail attachments to help you find them long after they were originally sent. This is great if you get hundreds of emails without attachments but fewer with. By saving the attachments you can search through fewer items. You can limit this to certain senders addresses as well so you won’t be bombarded by hundreds from different sources.
11. Update your status when you arrive.
This is a great one for the perpetual traveler or a person who goes away on work a lot. You can set your phones location perimeters to detect if you are in your country or town. Then you can update your social media status or just send a text to the relevant people.
12. Add an event for your flights
Although Google now will tell you about your upcoming travels you can do the same thing via IFTTT, simply set up a search on Gmail for flights and then create and event or reminder with the details.
13. Turn on lights at sundown
This is a great one at Christmas time when people put the festive lights out. If you have one of the range of home automation products that collaborate with IFTTT you can set it up so that when the sun goes down, the lights go on. Great for Christmas time.
You can get really clever by adding in settings to let you turn them on or off via an email or after a certain time at night.
Those are just a few examples but if you have some great examples I’d love to see them. Feel free to add them below for the benefit of myself and everyone else. Oh and if you haven’t downloaded IFTTT then do it now.
What IFTTT recipes do you use?