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6 Home Automation Gifts Perfect for Parents

6 Home Automation Gifts Perfect for Parents

There are many things a modern “smart” home can offer, like added security, but one of the best things they provide is convenience. With home automation, you can stop worrying about trivial duties and spend more time on what’s important.

For instance, the Nest thermostat will change the temperature in your home without your guidance. This saves time and money. It can also turn down the air temperature when you’re on your way home from work, so the house is just the way you like it when you arrive.

If you need gift ideas for your parents, home automation tech is perfect. It can be used to make everyone’s lives easier, safer and ultimately happier.

August Doorbell Cam

What if you could answer your door without even opening it? What if you could communicate with visitors on your terms? That’s what the August Doorbell Cam is for. It syncs with a smartphone, so you can always see who’s at the door, even when you’re not home, and has a one-way camera to record the live feed in case you want to replay a conversation or view it later. You can even speak to people at your door, thanks to two-way communication.

It also syncs up with other smart devices via Wi-Fi – namely, the August Smart Lock. If you have both installed, you can answer the door with the Cam and then unlock the door through the lock. This allows you to let family or friends in while you’re away, or even emergency services.

The home automation comes into play while you’re away. The doorbell can send you alerts and notifications when someone rings it, or even when it detects strange activity. This offers added security and peace of mind.

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Get it: August Doorbell Cam[1] | $149-$199

    August Smart Lock

    There are several different smart locks available, but we chose the August Smart Lock because it pairs nicely with the Doorbell Cam. You can use the Doorbell to see who’s at the door and then you can use the smart lock to let them in – if you deem them trustworthy.

    But a smart lock can do much more than that. It also eliminates the need to carry around keys, because you can just use your smartphone to get into the house. It can also auto-lock if you forget to lock your door after a specified time. That also means it can auto-unlock as you approach, which is super convenient if you have your hands full.

    The Smart Lock keeps a detailed activity log of everyone that comes and goes, so you can see who’s been inside your home at all times. And you can issue digital keys to friends, family and anyone else you trust. The best part is it can sync up with Apple’s HomeKit, and other home automation systems, to keep your entire house in check and operating without input.

    Get it: August Smart Lock[2] | $199-$229

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    Canary

    Modern smart tech allows us to boost security in our homes for relatively affordable prices. Gone are the days where you need to pay for a pricey subscription.

    The Canary is an all-in-one security system that monitors your home and sends you alerts while you’re away – or when you’re home, too. It has a camera that’s also equipped with a night vision sensor, which works alongside the motion detectors. If the Canary detects movement or unusual patterns, it can send notifications and alerts right to your phone.

    This allows you to open a live video feed and see exactly what’s going on. It will record in 1080p HD video and audio, so you can use the record as evidence later if necessary. The Canary is also equipped with a speaker and emergency siren, which you can use to scare off burglars or at least put them on alert. Don’t worry, the Canary is also tamper-proof and the video is stored in the cloud.

    Get it: Canary[3] | $169

      LiftMaster MyQ Garage

      You might not think of the garage as a super high-tech area, but by adding an accessory, like an automatic door opener, it can be just as smart as the rest of your abode!

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      The LiftMaster MyQ Garage system turns any garage door opener manufactured after 1993 into a smart one. This means you can open and close your garage door remotely, all from a smartphone. You can also receive alerts when your garage door opens, or when it’s been open for too long. This is great if you leave the house and forget to close it.

      It works just fine with existing garage door openers, so if you have a custom system, you should be fine too. If your parents don’t have a garage door opener installed yet, Clopay has teamed up with LiftMaster, and can install extra bells and whistles such as automatic openers, remotes, and other accessories. [4]

      Get it: LiftMaster MyQ Garage[5] | $129.99

      Belkin WeMo Switch

      The Belkin WeMo Switch is nothing more than a power switch with Wi-Fi network support. Any devices or powered items you have connected to the switch can be activated remotely from a smartphone. So, if you have a light hooked to it, you can turn it on or off while you’re away. You can do the same for TVs, stereos, computers, fans, consoles and much more.

      If you use it in combination with an app like IFTT or home automation equipment, you can set up some pretty cool scenarios. For example, you could have lights turn on and off throughout the day to make it seem like you’re home. You can also use the plug to turn off power-hungry equipment that you might have left on by accident.

      Get it: Belkin WeMo Switch[6] | $29.99-$39.99

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        iRobot Roomba 650

        Have you ever thought to yourself, “Wouldn’t it be nice if my home could clean itself?” Well, certain chores like the dishes or the laundry may never be automated, but vacuuming and sweeping sure can be! The iRobot Roomba 650 is a smart “robot” vacuum that operates out of a charging cradle and is completely automated. It leaves the dock and cleans for an hour or so, before returning to charge back up.

        It can clean hair, dirt and dust from your floors without any input from you. Of course, when the dust bag is full, you still have to empty it – the robot can’t do that itself. Yet. This product has a lot of competition, admittedly, but we chose the Roomba 650 because it’s excellent and it’s affordable.

        The best part about having a robot vacuum is that once you set it up, you can truly leave it alone. It will send alerts and notifications to your phone occasionally, like if it gets stuck. Other than that, you can power it on and just enjoy your clean floors.

        Get it: iRobot Roomba 650[7] | $159.99-$375

        Home Automation

        With these six suggested home automation gifts, you can really turn your home into a smart home. Did we miss your favorite automation gadget? Let us know in the comments!

        Reference

        [1] August: August Doorbell Cam 
        [2] August: August Smart Lock
        [3] Canary: Canary
        [4] Clopay: LiftMaster Garage Door Opener
        [5] Liftmaster: LiftMaster MyQ Home Control
        [6] Belkin: Belkin WeMo Switch
        [7] iRobot: iRobot Roomba 650

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        Megan Wild

        Editor, Freelancer

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        Last Updated on June 17, 2019

        40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2019 Updated)

        40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2019 Updated)

        Over the years here at Lifehack, we’ve discussed plenty of apps that you can use to improve your overall productivity.

        There are certain ones that many of our contributors and editors (past and present) have adopted over the long-term — there are always the stalwarts that stick around. But there are also new apps that crop up every day, adding more and more depth to the app category.

        Some of the apps are incredibly plain and simple, while others are more robust and offer more features than you can shake a stick at. And everyone has the one they prefer.

        It’s been our job (and still is our job) to keep abreast of all of the productivity-type apps out there. As a result — and as a bit of a refresher — we’ve put together a list of 40 best productivity apps for iPhone (all categorized based on their functions) to provide you with an all-in-one resource for you.

        For Getting Things Done

        1. OmniFocus

        This app is, while pricey, considered to be one of the (if not the) most robust and full-featured productivity apps on the market.

        Download it here.

          2. Forest

          Train yourself to put your phone down and stay focused on the task at hand by playing with this planting game. It’s fun and will help you achieve more.

          Download it here.

            3. Things

            Another robust choice, this app is a favorite amongst “productivityists”.[1]

            Download it here.

              4. 30/30

              Recently covered here at Lifehack

              , 30/30 is a newcomer to the game that incorporates lists and timing of tasks into an elegant and easy-to-use interface.

              Download it here.

                5. Any.Do

                A beautiful-looking app that is both easy on the eyes and your wallet.

                Download it here.

                  6. PocketLife Calendar

                  This calendar app is specifically designed to be stylish and super easy-to-use. You can organize your life easily with different modern features.

                  Download it here.

                    7. Asana

                    We’ve covered Asana here at Lifehack

                    , and it is being actively developed by a strong team committed to making collaborative task management a more efficient and effective experience.

                    Download it here.

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                      8. ToDoist

                      This app keeps track of everything – from simple errands to your most important projects – so you can get it all done and enjoy more peace of mind along the way.

                      Download it here.

                        9. FlowTasks

                        From the folks at MetaLab, Flow is a gorgeous collaborative task management app that is easy-to-use and incredibly functional.

                        Download it here.

                          10. Calendars 5

                          This calendar app focuses on events that help you to keep track of upcoming events and tasks easily. It has everything you need to organize, track and complete your to-dos.

                          Download it here.

                            11. Clear – Tasks, Reminders & To-Do Lists

                            A fun and innovative list-making app that relies on swiping and pinching to make things happen. Clear created a lot of buzz when it launched, and might be the perfect to-do list gateway app for many.

                            Download it here.

                              12. Due

                              A robust reminders app that lets you store and maintain reminders of all types. It’s replaced Reminders for me when it comes to the basics, and it’s worth a look if you want to keep the mundane stuff out of your head and cluttering your mind.

                              Download it here.

                                13. Checkmark 2

                                I use this app

                                for location-based reminders (such as groceries I need to get or single items I need to pick up from various locations). Checkmark is simple to use and a valuable addition to my productivity arsenal.

                                Download it here.

                                  14. TeuxDeux

                                  Created by Tina Roth Eisenberg and Fictive Kin — Teux Deux is simple and incredibly stellar in terms of design. If you like lists (including the popular “Someday Bucket”) and want to associate dates with tasks, then Teux Deux will be right up your alley.

                                  Download it here.

                                    15. Wunderlist 

                                    Another incredibly popular choice is Wunderlist. Part of 6Wunderkinder’s software family, it sports a gorgeous design and is incredibly functional. We’ve talked about the app a couple of times here at Lifehack, so check those posts out here.

                                    Download it here.

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                                      16. Nirvana

                                      For the GTD enthusiasts, there’s Nirvana. Straight from the source: “Nirvana frees your mind to focus on actually getting things done. If you’ve had enough of generic to-do lists, it’s time for Nirvana.”

                                      Download it here.

                                        17. Priorities

                                        An elegant-looking task management app that has received decent reviews,[2] this could be the one for you if you’re not a fan of OmniFocus or Things — especially if you need (or want) to share tasks with others.

                                        Download it here.

                                          For Building Habits

                                          18. Productive

                                          With this app, you can plan your habits with an easy-to-use interface, schedule habits for any time of the day, set smart reminders for each time of the day and stay on track with useful feedback. This app is perfect for anyone who wants to build a habit that sticks.

                                          Download it here.

                                            19. Habitica: Gamified Taskmanager

                                            You can complete tasks and build habits in a more fun way with this app. Input your Habits, your Daily goals, and your To-Do list, and then create a custom avatar. Check off tasks to level up your avatar and unlock features such as armor, pets, skills, and even quests.

                                            Download it here.

                                              20. Streaks

                                              This app follows the model of the popular “don’t break the chain method” in that you use the app to track how you are donig in the pursuit of your goal. Great for goal-setting — and an easy and elegant interface to boot.

                                              Download it here.

                                                21. Remember The Milk

                                                Another popular to-do list app, Remember The Milk has a huge following. It has plenty to offer, including the ability to share tasks with others.

                                                Download it here.

                                                  22. Day One Journal

                                                  When it comes to journaling, nothing really beats Day One. Its latest update added a slew of features that will make you want to start making journaling a habit.

                                                  Download it here.

                                                    For Files Organization

                                                    23. Evernote

                                                    Touted as the world’s most widely-used productivity app, Evernote an be used simply as a notetaking app or can be customized to be your GTD app of choice — among other things.

                                                    Download it here.

                                                      24. Pocket

                                                      You can save an article, video or link you want to read or watch later to Pocket from anywhere including your computer, Safari, email, and your favorite apps like Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, and Feedly.

                                                      Download it here.

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                                                        25. Sync.Me

                                                        This app identifies unknown phone calls, warns you from annoying spam calls, and adds a caller picture to your contacts from Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

                                                        Download it here.

                                                          26. Droplr

                                                          One of the most popular file-sharing apps out there today. Straight from the source: “Stay productive on the go. Droplr for iPhone keeps you in sync and makes sharing on the iPhone natural.”

                                                          Download it here.

                                                            27. Dropbox

                                                            Before iCloud, there was Dropbox. And there still is Dropbox, which is still widely used by both Mac and PC users all over the globe. It’s like having a flash drive in your iPhone. A must-have.

                                                            Download it here.

                                                              28. iDolly 

                                                              In conjunction with Dolly Drive and DollySync, iDolly allows you to edit and share your documents from your iPhone.

                                                              Since all your changes sync automatically to all your devices, the current version of a document will always be accessible because Dolly Sync keeps everything in sync. Very handy.

                                                              Download it here.

                                                                29. Soulver

                                                                It may seem odd that a calculator app shows up on this list, but this is no ordinary calendar app. Ben Brooks over at The Brooks review describes Soulver as follows: “It is what calculators would have been if they were invented at the same time computers were, instead of what we have with most calculator apps.” [3]

                                                                Download it here.

                                                                  For Working Smarter

                                                                  30. Captio

                                                                  A simple capture tool. Straight from the developers: “It’s simple. Open Captio and start typing. When you’re done, hit Send. The note is immediately delivered to your email inbox.”

                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                    31. Drafts

                                                                    A tremendous capture tool that allows for simple capture, followed by sending items to various applications such as OmniFocus, Things and more.

                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                      32. NoteShelf 2

                                                                      This is a perfect note-taking app for you. You can take beautiful handwritten notes, type, annotate PDFs, record audio & create lists. You can organize them into categories or groups.

                                                                      Download it here.

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                                                                        33. Doodle

                                                                        This app links directly with the Doodle service, which is one that allows you to plan and organize meetings far more efficiently and effectively. Lifehack contributor Steve Dotto has written about Doodle more in-depth here.

                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                          34. TextExpander (Legacy)

                                                                          I have saved countless hours of time with TextExpander, and despite its inability to be as robust on iOS as it is on the Mac, it is still a worthy app to have in your arsenal.

                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                            35. Launch Center Pro

                                                                            A quick launcher for the iPhone that doesn’t just launch an app…with some of them it can do much more. This app saves you time by launching complex actions in a single tap.

                                                                            Download it here.

                                                                              36. GoodReader

                                                                              This may seem to be an odd one to make this list, but here are plenty of reasons why it is here with this article.

                                                                              Download it here.

                                                                                37. LogMeIn

                                                                                Want to be able to control your Mac from wherever you are? Then get this app.

                                                                                Download it here.

                                                                                  For Improving Security

                                                                                  38. 1Password

                                                                                  There is simply no better password manager out there. I’ve even put together a 1Password Emergency Kit worth looking at here.

                                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                                    39. LastPass Password Manager

                                                                                    You can store passwords and logins, create online shopping profiles, generate strong passwords, track personal information in photo and audio notes.

                                                                                    All you have to do is remember your LastPass master password, and LastPass autofills web browser and app logins for you.

                                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                                      40. Truecallers

                                                                                      Identify and block spammers, search for unknown numbers and call friends easily with this app. With a community-based spam list from over 250 million users, you’ll need this app.

                                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                                        There are plenty of other options out there (and we’ve heard from readers in the past as to what they enjoyed using), but these 40 are among the best.

                                                                                        More Great Apps Recommendations

                                                                                        Reference

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