How to get alerts when iOS games and apps go free

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Free game alerts
Who wouldn't want to play UNICORN 3D - Colour by Number?
Photo: Cult of Mac

Are you an iOS gamer? Do you love games so much that your iPhone may as well be a pocket games console? And do you also hate paying developers to make those amazing games for you? Then good news! because today’s how-to shows you how to get alerts whenever a top game gets its price reduced to free.

If This Then That

There are several apps which track app store comings and goings, but today we’re going to use IFTTT, aka If This Then That, aka the handiest web service known to mankind. IFTTT lets you glue together different web services and automate them. You could use it to automatically post your newly-published Cult of Mac articles to Twitter, for example, or to save a selected user’s Instagram photos to your iPhone Camera roll. The possibilities are legion. What about getting having HomeKit lights flash red whenever there’s a new post from Charlie Sorrel on Cult of Mac?

Today we’re going to use IFTTT to send you alerts whenever a top game’s price is reduced to zero dollars.

Get cheap game alerts

Free games!
Free games!
Photo: Cult of Mac

First, you’ll need the IFTTT app. You could do this on the web, and get email alerts, but the IFTTT app is so useful it’s worth grabbing anyway. Plus, it’s free. For more tips on what you can do with IFTTT, check out our IFTTT tag, or just do a search.

Download the app, and/or sign up for the web service, and you’re almost done. If you want to let the IFTTT app send you alerts, make sure to grant it access to notifications when you first set up the app.

The game-alert part of this is provided by AppZap, which has its own app. Usually on IFTTT you have to sign up for one of the supported services to add it to a recipe, but in the case of AppZap, you don’t have to bother.

This recipe will alert whenever games go free.
This recipe will alert whenever games go free.
Photo: Cult of Mac

The recipe we want is here. Just tap the Turn On button to add the recipe to your own “applets.” When you do so, you’ll see a list of options. You can pick:

  • The country of the App Store you’re interested in.
  • You iOS device of choice — iPhone, iPad, both, or Mac.
  • The app store category.

You’ll want to set the last option to Games, but you can also use multiple copies of the same recipe to give you alerts for any App Store category you like, and you’ll receive notifications for any and all of them.

And that’s it. Now, whenever one of the App Store’s top games goes down to the low, low price of $free, then you’ll get a standard iOS notification. And if you don’t want to use the IFTTT app on your iPhone, you can also configure a recipe to send an email instead.

IFTTT is pretty great, and you might like to take a look around the site/app for more automation ideas.

Price: Free

Download: IFTTT from the App Store (iOS)