What Is IFTTT and How Can it Improve Your Digital Life?




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What is IFTTT?

IFTTT or “If This Then That” is a web service that launched in 2010 and has the slogan “Put the Internet to work for you”. The idea is that you use IFTTT to automate everything from your favorite apps and websites to app-enabled accessories and smart devices. It’s an automation that will enable you to connect two services so that, when something happens with one service, a trigger goes off and an action takes place automatically on the other. If something happens, Then perform an action.

It’s really easy! Here are some typical examples of something you can have IFTTT set up to do:

  • If you own the Philips Hue smart lighting system you could use IFTTT to automatically turn on a light every time you’re tagged in a Facebook photo.
  • If you like a photo on Instagram, a picture of that photograph will be saved in a folder on your Dropbox.
  • You could use IFTTT to automatically email readers when they comment on your WordPress blog.

It works like this: users are guided through a process to make simple combinations (also called “recipes”) where some type of event in one device or service automatically triggers an action in another. The best part about this website is that it is free to use and has a ton of popular web apps that you can set to trigger and perform an action. IFTTT currently supports more than 110 services including Android devices and Apple iOS apps, as well as websites like Facebook, Dropbox, Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Etsy, Feedly, Foursquare, LinkedIn, SoundCloud, WordPress, YouTube, and more.

How does IFTTT work?

Sign up for an account on the IFTTT website. It’s a one-step process that only requires an email, username, and password. Once finished, you will see that IFTTT has automatically created a recipe for you (this recipe will send a recommended recipe to your email inbox every day). From here, IFTTT should show your dashboard. On the dashboard, there is a brief explanation of how IFTTT and recipes work. The “This” in “If This, Then That” stands for a trigger, while the “That” stands for an action. These two linked events create an IFTTT recipe. Thus, referencing the Philips Hue example mentioned earlier, the trigger could be a Facebook photo tag and the action would be the Philips Hue light turning on. Also on the dashboard, you will see links to create custom recipes or browse (and then use) recipes already created by other IFTTT users. You can also share recipes and save recipes to a favorite section on your dashboard. If you’ve added a recipe to your dashboard, you will have options to turn off, delete, and edit that recipe.


And that’s it. You’re now a beginner IFTTT user and recipe creator so go have fun exploring the countless ways to automate and simplify your life. It’s only a matter of time before you become an expert. If you’re interested you can on https://ifttt.com/ for more information.






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2 thoughts on “What Is IFTTT and How Can it Improve Your Digital Life?”

  1. Hi Megan,

    Thank you for your post!
    I had subscribed to IFTTT myself and I’ve been meaning to make full use of it! From my friends and colleagues I hear that IFTTT and Zapier are the best tools out there to automate any repetitive task there is! and I think they are amazing! An example that seemed relevant here is how one can automate social media posting, thank you follow ups to all new twitter fans or to any new comment; to save pictures liked on dropbox, among many others.

    What is your favorite IFTTT recipe?

    1. Hi Dzintra!

      Thank you for your comment. My favorite recipes are if I pin something on my pinterest it automatically uploads the picture to my Tumblr and if I take a picture with my phone it will automatically be uploaded to my dropbox, so I won’t lose any pictures. I really like the fact that there are so many possibilities. You can find hundreds of recipes online I’ve never thought about.


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