If you’ve even glanced into the world of automation, you’ve probably heard of the website If This Then That, or IFTTT (ifttt.com). It’s the renowned leader in automated software used to integrate your services and devices and make them work together.
How does IFTTT work? It takes a part of coding, the “If/Then” statement, which says “If” something happens, “Then” do this other action. IFTTT broadens this code by using Applets built within the website to receive the “If” statement or trigger and then does the “Than” action.
For example: when I first signed up for IFTTT, I wanted to be more aware of the weather in preparation for what I would wear to work. WeatherUnderground has an Applet that would help perfectly: their Applet would run at a specific time each day and email you the requested weather report. It took the trigger of “If it gets to 7 o’clock in the morning” and the action to “Then send an email with the weather report”. IFTTT connects a ton of different services and devices to set up as triggers and or as ways to receive actions.
While there are apps for both Android and iOS, your first step will be to go directly to ifttt.com and sign up there. When you first get to ifttt.com, it will ask you to sign up using your email, Facebook, or Gmail account. I knew that I was going to be using things tied to my Google account (Gmail, Google Assistant, etc) so I choose that. Choose whatever works for you, because you will have the opportunity to sync other services/accounts later as well.
This next page has you choose different services and devices that you want to connect to IFTTT. I chose Gmail, Spotify, Android, Instagram, Google Drive, and Google Calendar to start off, as I knew those were the ones I used the most. Again, don’t feel any sorts of pressure to make this perfect, as you can disconnect and connect options later.
Next, IFTTT gives you recommendations of Applets based on your choices on the previous page. I was instantly drawn to two different Applets: one that would notify me every time the International Space Station based over my house (because, science), and another that would turn my phone’s ringer to loud if I texted a code to it.
When you choose an Applet, it will take you to the setup page. The first initial page has you turn on the Applet; clicking on the gear in the upper right hand corner takes you to the settings of Applet. The ISS applet had a pretty simple setup: it had me find my house on a map, and asked me if I wanted a notification every time the applet ran.
The Lost Phone Applet was a little more intensive, and by that I mean there was just a few more options to choose. Honestly, all of these apps are so simple to setup I was pleasantly surprised. This one had me choose my secret code to text, how loud I wanted my phone’s ringer to be set at, and what sound I wanted to play.
Alright, so what if there isn’t an Applet that doesn’t do exactly what you want? This was the situation I ran into with the WeatherUnderground Applet. The prebuilt app they have runs at 7, but I’m at work by then, and there’s no option in the original applet to change the time it was sent.
In order to build one, you’ll simply click on the My Applet option in the top part of the screen, and then New Applet.
This next screen was probably the most confusing of the whole site. It took me longer than I’d like to admit before I realized that you click on the word IF to set up the trigger, and then the THEN to set up the action.
I clicked on the IF, chose the WeatherUnderground option, and then chose the option for Today’s Weather Forecast. In that option it allowed me to choose a time when to trigger.
I then clicked the THEN, chose the Gmail option, and told it to send myself an email.
If you ever decide that you don’t want to use an Applet anymore (the ISS goes over our house at least 3 times a day) you can turn the Applet off. This is done by going to My Applets, selecting the Applet, and changing it to “off”
And that’s it! Have you tried anything with IFTTT? What’s your favorite Applet? Let us know in the comments below!
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