IFTT, Pushbullet, Agent, Trigger: in the last few years, a new class of mobile apps has emerged. I call them Meta applications. Their aim? To make your smartphone even smarter. To clarify, these apps attempt to link the different functions of your mobile’s operating system to your every day apps. They let you automate certain functions and interconnect various services, and can also be used to help fill any gaps in the OS.
Widely used by professionals in the new technology sector, this family of apps can provide multiple services to anyone who uses a smartphone. Here, I’ll go through four revolutionary apps that can help all users automate their smartphone functions.
Before making its grand entrance in various mobile app stores, IFTTT existed as a web app. The acronym IFTTT literally means If This Then That.
What ‘s the app for? The idea is that, with the help of API-development tools made available by heavy hitters like Facebook or Google, IFTTT allows you to set up chain reactions– recipes in IFTTT language– and letting the internet do the work for you. To concoct a recipe, all you need is a trigger and an action.
If all this is still unclear, here are some useful example recipes that are popular among IFTTT users:
1. Change your Twitter status or profile picture when you update your Facebook page.
2. Email all new photos taken with your smartphone.
3. Save all your phone contacts into a spreadsheet in Google Docs.
4. Put your Android phone on silent mode when you arrive at the office.
Trigger is an app that’s only available in the Google Play Store. Similar to IFTTT, it uses the idea of action and reaction, while focusing more on your smartphone’s operating system. The only downside is that if you want to access all the features of Trigger, you need to root your Android device.
Trigger allows you to, for example, put your phone on silent mode when you arrive at the office. The trigger used in this case is none other than your location, which is calculated using your phone’s GPS; once the trigger is activated, the phone reacts by activating silent mode.
Contrary to what you might think, the configuration of Trigger is actually quite simple. You can, of course, use the models offered by the editor to help you. Here are some other possibilities with Trigger:
1. Launch the GPS application when you sync your phone to your car radio via Bluetooth.
2. Automatically change your ringtone and adjust the volume depending on where you are.
3. Perform automated check-ins on Foursquare.
Also, note that the paid app Triggers for iPhone and iPad can also be used to automate smartphone functions, although this app has nothing to do with Trigger for Android.
Download Trigger for: Android
Developed by the same team as Trigger – Egomotion Corp– Agent is a mobile app that again, is only available on Android.
Once installed, Agent offers 5 predefined actions, which can then be changed one by one using the app’s advanced settings. Advanced users will benefit from all the possible functions of this app.
Agent allows you to control five different smartphone functions:
1. Battery: to better regulate your battery consumption.
2. Sleep: to activate silent mode when you go to sleep.
3. Parking: to automatically record the geographical location of your vehicle when you park.
4. Meeting: to switch to silent mode when you are in a meeting.
5. Drive: to automate sending messages while you’re driving.
Download Agent for: Android
Unlike If This Then That, which focuses on third-party services, Pushbullet (for iOS and Android) aims to facilitate the exchange of data between computers and smartphones.
The main principle: rather than sending an email to one of your contacts or to yourself in order to access a link or an image on another device, why not push the content directly? To communicate between your phone and your PC, you must first install Pushbullet on your phone, and then install the Pushbullet extension in your web browser.
Using this function is even quicker than uploading links or media to traditional online storage services.
Pushbullet’s extra advantages? The Android app also lets you synchronize your smartphone’s Notification Center with your computer. Using this easily configurable system, it becomes possible to, for example, display a pop-up notification on your PC or Mac whenever someone calls you.
Here are some of Pushbullet’s most common uses:
1. Send photos from your computer to your phone.
2. When you send a link from your smartphone, it opens the URL directly in a new tab in your browser for PC or Mac.
3. If you’re at your PC, there’s no need to get your Android phone out of your pocket; your notifications will also be displayed on the computer.
Make your own recipes
While these apps gained popularity among bloggers and professionals in the new technology sector, anybody can take advantage of these apps and invent their own recipes based on the services they use.
If you want even more tips to help optimize your device, check out how to sync Android with Mac.
Follow me on Twitter @bbrassart