IFTTT: Automate your online life…and then some


If This Then That (IFTTT) is a mobile app and online service that helps you simplify your life by automating regular tasks.

If you’ve never heard of it, IFTTT allows you to create commands or instructions known as ‘recipes’ that launch triggers or actions in order to automate a task using your smartphone, tablet or desktop.

For example, you could use IFTTT to create a recipe that would automatically save your pictures to Dropbox or Google Drive, meaning that you would always have an online backup of all your photos. Other useful recipes include backing up your phone contacts to a Google spreadsheet.

IFTTT recipe Instagram to Dropbox

An example of the IFTTT recipe which automatically saves all your Instagram photos to Dropbox

Use IFTTT to automatically put your phone on silent when you get to the office or to get a notification to your Android device whenever rain is forecast.

Over the past couple of years, IFTTT that has grown from a service that only real tech aficionados used to one is gradually becoming almost mainstream.

Back when the service launched a couple of years ago there were only a limited number of functions offered. However, this has changed completely over the past year or so. With pretty much all of your favourite web apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and Dropbox have channels connected to IFTTT, with new channels being added all the time, offering up literally millions of recipes for automation.

How to use IFTTT on Android

Major news outlets have also started pushing content to IFTTT. This content then can then automatically added to read it later services or apps, which is also very handy for being able to keep up with content you see online at a time which is convenient. For example, you can save popular New York Times articles to Pocket to read at your leisure.

As well as offering automation between web apps, as given in the examples above, IFTTT increasingly offers a connection between web services and everyday gadgets that connect to the Internet of Things.

For example, WeMo and Phillips Hue both have channels on IFTTT and the idea is that you will eventually be able to you use the service to connect with appliances and gadgets in your home. For example you might be able to setup a recipe which tells your kettle to start boiling  so that it’s ready for when you get in from work. Or perhaps for when rain is forecast, a notification could tell your sprinkler system that the garden doesn’t need watering on that particular day – there are probably much better examples, but you get the idea.

IFTTT on iPhone

The possibilities with IFTTT are endless and the service is only going to get bigger (and better) as it continues to enters the mainstream.

IFTTT is available on the web, as well as for download on Android and iOS.

Give it a try and let me know how you get on. 

IFTTT: Put the internet to work for you


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