Turn your phone into a powerhouse with these IFTTT recipes (and learn how to make your own!)

If you’re like many of our writers here at AndroidGuys, one of the reasons you love Android is for the customization Android offers. We’re constantly switching up our home screens, themes, icons, and wallpapers. But, the customization can run far, far deeper than that.

Some of you may be familiar with If This Then That, better known as IFTTT. The service allows you to create “recipes” via the application or the web client that will perform a specific action when triggered. A great example is that every time an article is published to AndroidGuys.com, I get a push alert on my phone. This lets me stay up to date with exactly what we’re publishing. I’m a fan of our writers just like you may be!

While there are some more powerful applications that can enable you to take even further control of your phone (see: Tasker), IFTTT is great because of how straightforward the interface is and the endless amount of services that integrate with it. Here are some of our favorite premade recipes. Scroll down a little further to find out how to make your own!

Before we get started, head over to the Play Store and download IF by IFTTT.

Automatically update your Android wallpaper to NASA’s image of the day

IFTTT nasa wallpaper

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA as its more commonly known, publishes a surprising amount of information, pictures, and videos for free! This includes a daily free image that work well as desktop and phone backgrounds. Most of these pictures are of, you guessed it, space with a great focus on nebulas, galaxies, and even more crazy things you may not have known existed! If you’re a space nerd like me, head over to this recipe and add it to your account.

Lost your phone? Text it “lostphone” to turn up ringer volume!

IFTTT lost phone

Losing your phone around the house or at work is a big problem. Often times I’ve found my phone between the couch cushions after a half an hour of searching. Why did it take half an hour? Because I leave my phone on vibrate all the time. With this recipe, you can easily avoid this frustration with a simple text message.

When IFTTT sees a text with “lostphone” show up on your device, it automatically sets your volume to 100%. After that, a quick call will alert you to your device’s location. If you need to send a text but don’t have anyone around to help you out, you can check out these instructions on how to send a text message using your email. If you want to check out this recipe (and I highly recommend it), check out the page here to add it to your account.

Mute my device during meetings

IFTTT calendar silent

If you use Google Calendar, this recipe is perfect for you. Many of us put our work meetings into our calendars to keep our busy lives straight. Not all of us, however, remember to turn our phones on silent when we go into meetings. This can lead to some embarrassing moments!

When this recipe detects you’re in a meeting via a Google Calendar entry, your phone will automatically go into silent mode and will turn your sounds back up when the meeting is over. On the page for this recipe, it will ask you to connect to the Google Calendar channel first, then you can go ahead and set this up on your phone.

Creating your own recipes

IFTTT has done an excellent job of making the creation of recipes as easy as possible. We’re going to take you through an example of how to create a simple recipe. This will get your started and then you can explore even further. We’re going to recreate the recipe that I mentioned earlier that sends a push alert anytime an article is published to Android Guys.

Step 1: Choose a trigger channel

This is the “If” in If This Then That. In this specific instant, we’re going to tell IFTTT that the If is when a new post populates in the AndroidGuys RSS feed. In the Trigger box type “RSS” and then select the orange RSS icon that pops up.

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Step 2: Choose your context

Here you can choose whether you want to be alerted every time something comes into the RSS feed or only when it matches certain criteria. If you are constantly checking our site for our daily deals posts, this is an excellent way to be alerted ONLY when those go live. For this example, we’re going to choose the first option, “New feed item”.

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Step 3: Complete Trigger Fields

This is where you’re going to enter the URL for your RSS feed. Since we’re using AndroidGuys as an example, you’ll put http://www.androidguys.com/feed into the box. You can normally find a site’s RSS feed by going to the homepage and looking for the word “Feed” or looking for the orange RSS logo. Right click on it and copy the location and paste it into the Feed URL.IFTTT 3

Step 4: Click the word “That”

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Step 5: Choose an Action Channel

This is the “That” in your recipe. This tells IFTTT what you want to happen when a new article pushes to the RSS feed. You have a ton of options here. You can save it to Pocket or Instapaper, email it to a friend, or post it to a Slack channel. For this recipe, we’re going to select IF Notifications so it shows up on our phone via the app we downloaded earlier. IFTTT 5

Step 6: Click on Send a Notification

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Step 7: Customize the alert

By default your alert will be set to “New entry from {{FeedTitle}}: {{EntryTitle}} — view more”. This is the text that will show up in the push notification on your phone. FeedTitle is the website (AndroidGuys.com) and the EntryTitle is the name of the article in question. You can change this to anything you want, but I leave mine on the default text.

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Step 8: Finalize your recipe

Before you finalize your recipe, be sure that you give it a name! You can use the default name, which in this case is “If new feed item from http://www.androidguys.com/feed, then send a notification” but you can shorten that to something like “AndroidGuys Push Notifications”. If you’re happy with your name and how everything looks, hit big blue “Create Recipe” button and you’re done! Great job!

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As you can see, it’s a very simple process. IF This Then That has almost an unlimited amount of possibilities since it integrates with so many products and services. I plan to get some Phillips Hue bulbs soon so I can have the lights turn on for me in the morning when I wake up and turn back off when I disconnect from my WiFi as I leave the house. Again, this is just one of the many examples you can create.

Do you use IFTTT? What recipes are you subscribed to? Have you created any of your own? Let us know down in the comments!

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