You pronounce IFTTT like “gift” but without the “g”. The acronym stands for If This, Then That.

Slogan – Put the Internet to work for you

IFTTT is both a website and a mobile app 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 favourite apps and websites to app-enabled accessories and smart devices.

If you own the Philips Hue smart lighting system, for instance, you could use IFTTT to automatically turn on a light every time you’re tagged in a Facebook photo. In another example, you could use IFTTT to automatically email readers when they comment on your WordPress blog. There are numerous combinations (also called “recipes”) on IFTTT that can make your life easier.

IFTTT currently supports more than 110 services (also called “channels”) including Android devices and Apple iOS apps like Reminders and Photos, as well as websites like Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Etsy, Feedly, Foursquare, LinkedIn, SoundCloud, WordPress, YouTube, and more.

How does it work?

Well, essentially, for every request or action to get something done, you can create a  request or reaction to do it. So, say you want to start a particular email within Google Mail, by doing this, you can then create an action (recipe) that says, hey, when I star an email, create a calendar reminder and sent it to me. Or, if you upload a video on Instagram, you can create an action (recipe) to send the video out over Twitter based on your initial action of posting the video to Instagram.

So, IFTTT lets you perform multiple actions across different independent applications. Using a format of channels, recipes and Triggers, you can join up or shake hands with cross platform applications and get them to deal with each other based on your action or request to do something.

IFTTT terminology

Channels: The name given to each service available on IFTTT. Each one has its own actions. For example, choosing Gmail will let you choose any new email, attachment, sender, starred email, labeled email or searched email as the basis for your action.

Recipes: When you combine two channels together.  Using the same example, if you combine Gmail with Google Calendar, you could create a recipe where a new event is added anytime you star an email

Trigger: The action that puts everything into motion. This is the starting point for any recipe and has to be chosen automatically

Example – Turn on your Phone’s WiFi when you get home

Turning your WiFi on when you get home:

  1. So you would log into the IFTTT dashboard
  2. Create a trigger that said – When I arrive at this location (choose the location)
  3. Create a recipe that says turn on your phone’s WiFi

Example – Put your phone on Silent at a specific time before you go to bed

  1. So you would log into the IFTTT dashboard
  2. Create a trigger that said – At this time (set the time)
  3. Create a recipe that says put your phone on silent

Join IFTTT

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 and you can start to have some fun by choosing different recipes, triggers etc.