The Best Apps to Use With Automatic Pro

Automatic Pro is a powerful app and OBD-II adapter that lets you monitor your car from afar, log your trips, and even get assistance in an accident. Best of all, you can expand its capabilities by connecting it to third-party apps and services designed to enhance what Automatic Pro already does. Some of them are pretty niche, but these are the ones that are probably worth your time.

Ask Alexa About Your Car

Automatic Pro has its own Amazon Echo skill that lets you find out information about your car from any Alexa-enabled product in your home. The Alexa skill isn’t super robust, but it offers a few key voice commands that are handy from inside your home:

  • Say “Alexa, ask Automatic where my car is,” to find out where your car is currently located. This is particularly handy if you’ve installed Automatic Pro in your kids’ car to monitor their driving.
  • Say ““Alexa, ask Automatic how much gas I have,” to find out if you’ll need to fill up the next time you leave the house.
  • Say ““Alexa, ask Automatic how far I drove last week,” to get a brief report on how much time you’ve spent in your car recently. You can also ask for how much you drove in the last month or year.

If you have an Amazon Echo in your home, this is the essential app to set up. You can enable the Automatic Pro Alexa skill here, or find it in the Automatic Pro app gallery.

Get Your Home’s Temperature Ready With Nest

Your Nest can already detect when you’re away from home and turn itself off automatically, but out of the box it can only tell when it needs to turn back on once you’re already home. It could learn your habits over time, or you could just tell it when you’re leaving work directly. Automatic Pro’s Nest app can help with this. Automatic’s Nest app has a special feature that allows you to precondition your house on the drive home so it’s ready by the time you get there, using your location at work and traffic data to gauge how long it will take you to get home.

The Automatic Nest app also has some special tools that give you a bit more control than the regular Nest app. For example, you can schedule your Nest to start warming up the house when you leave work between 4PM and 8PM. This means that when you leave the office at noon to get lunch, Nest won’t assume you’re on your way home and turn on the air conditioner. You can connect to the Nest app for Automatic Pro here.

Use IFTTT and Stringify to Connect Your Car to the Rest of Your Digital Life


How to Put Together Your First Smarthome (Without Getting Overwhelmed)

If you want to make your home a little smarter, but aren’t sure where exactly to start, we’ve got you covered. Here are the best starter smarthome gadgets, and how to find ones that will work well together in your house (or apartment).

Smarthome is more accessible than ever. Once upon a time, you either needed to install a complex X10 system, or you needed an expensive, dealer-installed whole-house system like Savant or URC. And while all of those are still options, most people are opting for a more user-friendly, wallet-friendly piecemeal approach: buying individual smarthome gadgets from tech companies like Amazon, Google, and Samsung, and integrating them together. That’s what we’ll be talking about today.

Ask Yourself: What Do You Want to Do?


Before you start completely decking out your house with all sorts of smarthome gear, it’s important to establish why you want a smart home in the first place. Is it for convenience? Then you might want devices that support voice control through something like the Amazon Echo or Google Home. Do you wish everything was automated? Then you’ll probably narrow down products with good automation features or IFTTT support. Do you want good home security? Then you’ll want a line of products with sensors and sirens. Maybe you want a bit of everything.

Once you’ve answered those questions, you’ll have a better idea of what kind of things to look for as you shop. Not every smarthome product works with other smarthome products, so as you build your home, you’ll want to pick ones that support the devices and services you want.

For example, if you want voice control for everything, then the Amazon Echo is the “glue” that holds your entire smarthome together, and you’ll want to only pick products that work with the Echo. Or, if you’re an automation nut, search for products that support IFTTT. If everyone in your house is an iPhone user, and you want to control all of your devices with Siri (or through the Home app), you’ll want to make sure as many products as possible are compatible with HomeKit.

Luckily, it’s easy to narrow down products by which standard they support. Not only can you look for the proper badge on the packaging, or look at its website for compatibility, but many devices and services have pages with official lists of products they support, which can instantly narrow down your search:

Once you decide which services will be central to your smarthome experience, it’ll be a lot easier to decide which products to buy.

The Best Products to Start You Off

When you begin to finally buy your first products, things can feel overwhelming—where do you even start? Here are some of our favorite smarthome products perfect for beginners:

How to Get an Automatic Reminder to Fill Up Your Car’s Gas Tank When It’s Low

Your gas light comes on right after you pass your favorite gas station on the way home. That’s okay, you’ll fill up in the morning, right? Except you know you’re going to forget. If you’re using Dash with an OBD-II adapter, you can set a reminder so you know when you need to fill up.

For this, we’re going to use a service called IFTTT (If This Then That). If you haven’t used IFTTT before, check out our guide to getting started for info on how to create an account and connect apps. Then, come back here to create the necessary recipe.

We’ll be using the Dash IFTTT channel to detect when your car is low on fuel. You can use several channels to create a reminder for you, including Todoist, iOS Reminders, Google Calendar, and more. We’ll demonstrate with Todoist, but you can adapt the recipe for any service you want to get a reminder however you prefer. Activate the Dash channel and your preferred to-do list or reminder app before we get ready.

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To get started, head to IFTTT’s home page and log in. Then, click your profile picture

Next, click “New Applet.”

Click the word…

How to Add IFTTT Shortcuts to Your Phone’s Home Screen

IFTTT lets you automate a ton of your favorite web services, but you can also create convenient home screen shortcuts for a whole host of different tasks. Here’s how to set them up.

In addition to applying rules that work automatically in the background, like most IFTTT applets, IFTTT also has “button widgets” that streamline applets into a single button press. You can put these butotns on the front page of the mobile app, in your iPhone’s Notification Center, or right on the home screen on your Android device.

In the past, IFTTT had a separate app for this, called DO, but the functionality is now built right into the main IFTTT app. And though these button widgets are still slightly limited compared to what you can do with IFTTT as a whole, the convenience of accessing the applets from a single location can’t be overstated. Here’s how to set up these widgets.

How to Set Up IFTTT Button Widgets on the iPhone

Start off by opening up the IFTTT app and tapping on the “My Applets” tab down in the bottom-right corner of the screen.

Tap on the settings gear icon in the top-left corner.

Select “Widgets” from the list.

Tap on “Get Widgets”.

Next, scroll through the nearly infinite widgets that you can enable. Unfortunately, though, there’s no search function and no way to create your own custom widget. However, the widgets that appear are based on IFTTT services that you have enabled.

Once you find a widget that you want to to enable, tap on it and then tap “Turn On”.

Next, you’ll likely need to configure the widget. In this case, we need to select which Belkin WeMo switch we want to be able to control, so tap on the dropdown menu at the bottom.

Select which switch you want the widget to control and then hit “Done”.

Hit “Save” in the top-right corner.

Next, a pop-up will appear at the bottom. Tap on “Go” within that pop-up.

Tap on the widget that you just created.

From here, you can choose where you want the widget to appear on your iPhone. You can even add a home screen icon…