The smart home is a constantly evolving beast, and not always for the better. But as platforms integrate, disintegrate and sometimes break entirely, IFTTT is the glue trying to keep it all pieced together.
It's not perfect. As Nest users are made to migrate to Google's platform, IFTTT integration will actually break entirely. And you still can't use Alexa actions within IFTTT ‚Äď i.e. you can't use IFTTT to trigger routines ‚Äď which means there are still limits to what it can do.
Still, for those who are willing, IFTTT can add another layer of smarts on top of existing platforms, and help tie them together.
We already have a list of our best IFTTT Applets for the smart home, but below we've listed our top picks for Alexa specifically. And if there are individual platforms you're looking to integrate, such as Philips Hue, you can peruse them here.
Track the music Alexa plays
If you're anything like us, your way of remembering a new song you like is to take a note, either on your phone or by scrawling the name of artist and track on the nearest piece of paper. No more ‚Äď or at least, no more for any songs coming out of your Echo. There are different Applets that do a similar thing, but our fav is the Spotify one, which actually adds those songs to a Spotify playlist. You can also get an Applet that instead the track info to a Google Drive doc instead.
Sync Alexa to-dos with your reminders
If you're a serial list writer, this one's a doozy. It's only for iOS users, mind, but if that's you, this Applet will send all of your stored Alexa to-dos to the Reminders app on your iPhone. Android users, there's one for syncing with the Google Calendar instead. Oh, there's one for Evernote fans too.
Unsilence your phone with Alexa
There are heaps of ways to call your phone using Alexa, including some IFTTT Applets, but what if your phone is on silent? Here's a handy workaround. This does exactly what you think it does: turns your phone off silent mode. Sadly it only works with Android, but if that's you, it could be a huge time saver.
Turn on your phone's Bluetooth or Wi-Fi
Look, we're lazy so-and-sos, and therefore if you tell us we can ask Alexa to switch on our phone's Wi-Fi or Bluetooth rather than go and pick it up, then we'll absolutely take that route. Again, Android only.
Have Alexa flash your lights
Set a timer with Alexa? If you'd like some visual cues, you can have Alexa mess with your smart lights so you can see when it's time to take dinner out of the oven. As the description on this Applet also points out, it's great for anyone in the home who's hearing impaired.
Arm your Arlo camera with Alexa
Again, there's an official Arlo Skill for Alexa, but this Applet does something that Skill can't: It can actually arm your Arlo cameras using Alexa. Just say, "Alexa, trigger Arlo" to do so.
Have Alexa control your computer
This one requires some additional work, but it's a neat trick. You'll need to download a piece of open-source software called AssistantComputerControl, either to Dropbox or to OneDrive. You'll then connect the IFTTT Applet to one of those two, and from then on out you'll be able to say things like, "Alexa, turn on my computer" or, "Alexa, hibernate my PC." If you're willing to make some further modifications, you can even have Alexa open certain folders on command, or create files.
Use Alexa to control your Harmony remote
While Harmony remote users can use the Alexa Skill (or pick up the Harmony Express, which has Alexa built-in) you can also go the IFTTT route ‚Äď and we're including it on this list due to how damn popular Harmony is. Using this Applet, you can trigger a range of Harmony actions using Alexa.