By Dan Moren
March 2, 2016 12:44 PM PT
Last updated July 27, 2020
Automate This: Turn on your Xbox One from afar
Note: This story has not been updated since 2020.
A few weeks ago, I wanted to download a really big file–the beta for the upcoming game The Division–to my Xbox One. Given how large it was–several gigabytes–I figured it would be best to do it while I was out of the house anyway.
Using Xbox Live’s web-based marketplace, it’s pretty easy to queue up a download from anywhere, but the trick is that the Xbox has to be powered on in order to start the download. I spent a while trying to find a way to turn the Xbox One on remotely, including messing around with Microsoft’s Smart Glass app over my VPN and trying a Python script installed on my Mac mini, but ultimately had no luck.
Fool that I am, I didn’t realize until I got home that it was far, far easier than I’d thought. As I described in an earlier post, I’ve set up a Harmony Hub so that I can use my Amazon Echo to activate my various entertainment components, including the Xbox One. At first I was thinking through stupid ideas like triggering the Echo using speech synthesis via Terminal on one of my home apps, until I remembered that the Harmony Hub is hooked up via IFTT, so all I needed to do was trigger that particular recipe via the web or iOS app.
I even took it a step further, thanks to IFTTT’s Do Button app which lets you create nice big buttons to easily initiate a recipe. (Do Button also has a Today widget for the phone and an Apple Watch app, which makes it even faster.)
So now, when I want to start something downloading on the Xbox while I’m out of the house, all I need to do is reach for my phone or my Apple Watch, and I’m never more than a few taps away.
[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at @firstname.lastname@example.org or reach him by email at email@example.com. His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is out now.]
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