A Beginners Guide to IFTTT

Posted by Jack Zhang on


In the world of IoT, there’s a lot to absorb. So much in fact that it may seem intimidating at first. True, there’s a lot to learn but often it isn’t as complicated as it seems. One area which seems confusing to many at first is the world of IFTTT, or “If This, Then That.”


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What Is IFTTT?

“If This, Then That” is a free web service that helps to automate certain processes, especially as it pertains to other tasks. This is done through the use of Applets. Applets may sound like complex jargon, but really are just small applications (programs). In fact, when you hear “Applet,” you should be hearing “small, simple program.”

By using these Applets, you are able to use the IFTTT service to tie certain programs together and create conditions which dictate further actions. Lost yet? Relax. It’s simple!

By using certain “recipes” from IFTTT you can join devices, set conditions, and otherwise link specific actions. For example, let’s say you’d like to receive a notification whenever one of your contacts has a birthday, there’s an Applet for that. 

Want to receive a notification whenever the International Space Station flies over your house? There’s an app for that too. No pun intended, but the sky is the limit and there are 1,000’s of Applets to choose from and creating your own is easy as well.


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How Does It Work?

What the Applet does is essentially create a set of conditions that, when met, trigger an action. The meaning is in the name IFFFT.

If THIS happens then THAT happens. For example, If the International Space Station flies overhead, then you get a notification. Notifications can come through email, text, or via the IFTTT app.


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There are many IFTTT Applets to choose from as they pertain to your IoT devices. For example, you may want to set your smart thermostat to maintain a certain temperature once you’ve left the house. You may want to set your smart lights to a certain level when you approach the front door, etc.


There are many existing recipes that can accomplish this task and more are being added every day. If your devices are compatible, there’s an IFTTT recipe to be found or made.


Why Would I Use IFTTT?


Many smart devices have built-in notifications or allow for a certain level of customization. Why then, is IFTTT helpful? IFTTT bridges the gaps where proprietary services may fail as well as links separate services to one another.

Your smart washing machine may already send you a notification when the wash cycle is done. However, perhaps you’d like to be informed differently? Your smart washing machine probably can’t flash your smart lights to let you know the wash is ready to be put into the dryer. IFTTT is most useful in this way. When two programs or services are not otherwise joined, IFTTT can provide the bridge.

Want to automatically save all your Tweets? Create a saved copy of your emails in Google Drive? Now you can.


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Getting Started With IFTTT

Getting started with IFTTT is as simple as signing up online and/or downloading their mobile app. This can be done by signing up with your Google or Facebook account, or even just an email address if you’re “old school.” From there you’ll be able to link services, create and browse recipes, and more. The system is user-friendly as well as intuitive.

Have fun creating your own recipes or browsing existing ones. IFTTT has an extensive list of partners which are constantly adding new recipes to the list. Facebook, Dropbox, Twitter, Google, and more are all compatible with IFTTT. When creating or implementing your recipes, you will need to allow IFTTT to connect to certain accounts (Such as your Facebook account) if that’s when that recipe calls for. 

IFTTT sounds spooky, but it really isn’t! It’s a sleek, clean way to automate processes, set up cool combinations, and get the most out of your devices, subscriptions, and services. So, don’t be shy. Try a recipe today. IF you do, THEN we guarantee you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.



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