Love the site. Quick question for you: what is the best way to launch Keyboard Maestro and/or Automator macros remotely from your iPhone. I feel like Workflow/IFTTT have to make this a possibility besides the semi-solution of monitoring a dropbox folder with Hazel. Have you heard of Otto…now Entangler? It seems it can do remote triggering, but there is no community or people using it it seems. This makes it hard to figure out best practices…..well really, any practices.
But I'd love to see a short post on triggering from your iphone to your desktop/laptop! Thanks again!
—Matthias Miller, ScenesInDreams.com
When it comes to remotely triggering macros and actions on your Mac, the automation applications, Keyboard Maestro, BetterTouchTool,and Alfred have you covered. Each of these applications has a counterpart iOS app that allows for triggering your selected macros and actions.
You might not find much use for the above remote apps, but they can come in handy if you happen to use your Mac as both a computer and an entertainment and media center. (Personally, I would love to buy a second iMac and replace my old bedroom television with it. I rarely watch television, and instead I use my Mac and iPad for browsing the Internet, watching movies, YouTube videos, and the like. )
But I do use BTT Remote on occasion because it's more useful than Apple's Remote application.
If you're curious about these remote applications, read on. You might realize how one or two of them could come in handy in your daily workflow.
BTT Remote is on the homepage of my iPhone. The app allows for creating actions that can be triggered from the remote app. I often use it for when my computer turns on late at night when I'm already in the bed.
I simply open the app and tap the action, “Sleep Computer.” I also have another action for toggling Dragon Dictate on and off. This remote action comes in handy when I'm sitting in my recliner in my office and I forget to turn off Dragon Dictate, which I leave on throughout the day as I work.
As the left image shows, the app can also be used as a remote trackpad, and it includes buttons controlling iTunes, and screen brightness. In addition, you can control your running applications in your Dock and in the menu bar.
You can trigger any action in your BTT library. Thus, this makes BTT Remote is literally over a hundred times better than Apple's Remote app, because that's how many built-in actions BTT has installed, and you can create custom actions for all your needs.
BTT Remote is free, but also has a Pro version for $1.99.
Incidentally, BTT for Mac also has support for Siri and the new TouchBar available latest MacBook Pro.
If you're interested in learning more about BetterTouchTool, check out my online video tutorial course.
Keyboard Maestro also has its own remote app that provides access to your entire library of macros. You may not not know it, but KM also allows access to your macros via the Internet from any computer if you choose to enable the feature in the application's Preferences.
The only drawback to Maestro Remote is that you can't choose which of your macros you want included in the app, which makes it for me a little cumbersome to use. However, I'm still glad app is available, for I never know when it might come in handy.
Keyboard Maestro Control is a free download.
FullControl is another remote app I’ve had on both of my iOS devices for quite some time. I used it more as remote trackpad when my old Bluetooth Apple trackpad was giving me connection problems.
FullControl is similar BTT Remote, but it offers more direct control to menu items your running applications. For example, in the Safari app, you can tap to close tabs, trigger the search and URL bar, zoom in and out of a webpage, access your Top Sites, etc. FullControl also allows for toggling screen brightness and even remotely typing in a text editor.
FullControl is a free download.
If you're new user of the popular launching and search triggering application, Alfred, you might not know that Alfred also has its own iOS remote app.
Alfred Remote triggers menu items for numerous applications including iTunes, System Preferences, Mail, Activity Monitor, as well as opening Safari bookmark and Finder folders.
Alfred Remote is $5.00.
There a few other solutions out there that may warrant another article on this subject. The apps include Entangler (pointed out to me by Matthias Miller, who raised the Ask Mac Automator question for this article), that allows allows for remotely triggering Automator workflows, AppleScript and Unix shell scripts.
Entangler for Mac is $9.99, and the iOS Entangler remote app is a free download.
I haven't tested Entangler, but I can say that it might not be needed if you're already using one of the apps discussed above, because each of them can trigger Automator and AppleScript scripts. However, iOS Entangler does have a much better looking user interface design than the Maestro remote app.
Quadro is another fairly new remote app that seems similar to Alfred Remote. Quadro provides lots of built-in macros for triggering actions on your Mac, including Safari bookmarks and new tabs, opening Finder windows, formatting text, creating new Mail messages, and the like.
Quadro has a great design, and I can see how it might used on the iPad for triggering all types of actions for different Mac applications. Again, however, many of Quadro's basic actions can be handled by the remote apps I’ve presented in this article.
I will probably do a full review Quadro in a future article.
If you've used any of the above remote apps, please share your thoughts and use cases with me and my readers. If you have suggestions for other remote apps, please also let us know about them.