5 Great Free Apps for Automating Mundane Tasks

Bulk-install software, back up your photos, price-match your purchases, and more.


So many clicks, swipes, and taps; so few hours in a day. These apps can make short work of otherwise annoying tasks.


1. Teach Your Phone Some Context

Trigger (Android) is a handy app that can minimize time spent poking around your phone’s settings menu. For instance, when you get to work and your phone automatically connects to your office’s Wi-Fi network, you can set it to lower or mute notification tones so you don’t interrupt meetings. Or once you get in the car and automatically connect to your car’s Bluetooth system, you can have your phone open your favorite music app.

2. Install A Ton Of Windows Apps At Once

Visit Ninite (Windows) for a great click-and-pick selection of popular Windows apps. Whether you’re setting up a new computer or want to update a bunch of your apps to their latest versions, the site will build you a customized onetime installer that packages up the programs you want and installs them all in one fell swoop. No need to go from site to site, sit through download after download, or weather installation after installation.

3. Safeguard Your Snapshots

There are plenty of photo services on the market, but Shoebox (Android, iOS, Mac, Windows) is worth a look, thanks to its simple synchronization features and generous storage limits. Install the app on your phone, and it’ll automatically back up all of your photos in high resolution (10-plus megapixels). Install the app on your computer, and you’ll be able to access your photos without any cumbersome transfers. The free version gets you unlimited photos and 15 minutes’ worth of videos, while the paid edition lets you upload photos at their original resolutions and houses up to 10 hours of videos.

4. Keep An Eye On Price Drops

Slice (Android, iOS) is an excellent free package tracker in its own right, with push notifications and map-based visual voyages of your shipments. But the app pulls double duty to monitor products you’ve purchased from popular retailers for price drops. If it spots a discrepancy, it’ll let you claim a price match right from within the app.

5. Sanitize Your Social Profiles

No need to comb through and delete your embarrassing weekend posts every Monday morning; Xpire (Android, iOS) lets you set your social updates to self-destruct at various times. The iOS version is far more fully featured, hooking into your Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr accounts (the Android version just handles Twitter for now), but both versions facilitate quick deletion of past posts, offer easy expiration settings for new ones, and analyze your updates to return a “Social Score” that highlights potentially risky content.