If This Then That (IFTTT) is a very powerful and customizable service that allows you to hook some of your phone features to your favorite social networks, like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, and news services. They have recently released an Android app for their service, after the existing iOS app and web interface that used to be the only way of using the service. Today, we take a look at the app and see how it can be used to automate and directly feed you the stuff that matters, either through customizable notifications or emails.
IFTTT works by using “recipes” for figuring out what you want to do. The recipes follow a “If X, then Y” formula, like “If any new photos by me, then change my wallpaper”. As you can see, while it seems that the formula is basic, you actually can do a lot with it. Compatibility is guaranteed through “channels”, which allow you to interface with specific services. For example, there is an Instagram channel, a Facebook channel, a Twitter channel, and so on. From there, you can then feed the content into something else, like receiving a notification, a phone, a text message, an alarm, the possibilities are endless. But an image is worth a thousand words, so let’s take a look at how to use the app.
You can get IFTTT for absolutely free through this Play Store link. Install the app and open. Once you do, like most Android apps these days, you’ll see a little explanation of how it works and what it can do. Swipe through the screens and create an account when prompted so you can use the service.
After that, you should see a screen similar to this, that shows you your recent activity:
You’ll need to add a few recipes to get anything useful out of the app, though. Tap the top right icon to add a new recipe. Once you do, you’ll see two more icons pop out: tapping the plus icon lets you create a recipe from scratch, while tapping the eyeglasses icon lets you browse premade, shared recipes. Let’s start with the premade recipes for now. Tap the glasses icon and you should see this screen:
In here, you can see several recipes divided into categories. The “Collection” category lets you see recipes useful for certain scenarios, like for the beach, as you can see above. Tap that collection and you’ll see a bunch of recipes useful for that scenario: for example, notifications about UV index, e-mails about waves on your local beaches, surf reports, temperature information, and so on:
Besides Collections, you can also see featured recipes in the “Featured” category, which shows you useful general purpose recipes that are approved by the IFTTT team:
The “Trending” sections shows you popular recipes in recent times, and can be a good way to find something cool and popular right now:
The “All Time” category allows you to see the most popular recipes of all time:
Of course, you can also tap the search icon to search for a specific term or recipe in the IFTTT catalog:
Like we mentioned before, you can also make your own recipes. You are limited by the existing channels, but you can do a lot with them! Let’s make one! Tap the Plus icon on the Recipes screen instead and you should see this screen:
Tap the blue icon and select a trigger. You can scroll left or right to see the various channels, each with different fields. For example, let’s take a look at the GMail channel:
Select, for example, “New Starred Email”. You’ll need to activate the channel after you pick your trigger, which involves logging in or registering with the service in question. If you’re interested in using it, chances are that you already have an account, but in case you don’t, create one. In this case, we just login with our usual Google account:
Then, we can select what our trigger does by pressing the orange icon. For example, you can make your wallpaper change, send or receive a text and change your wallpaper. It’s up to you! You can use recipes to automatically get an email from a specific subreddit or RSS feed, for example, or use triggers to change your device’s ringtone or get a notification right away. It’s a great way to replace an app, or get instant feedback about a certain topic or a particular website! What recipes do you have to share? Let us know in the comment section below!