“If This Then That” (IFTTT for short) is a free service that allows you to create digital “recipes”, made up of triggers and actions that operate across different “channels” (services you have activated and authorised to use with IFTTT) that are coordinated to create your own custom automated commands.
An example might be, ‘Whenever I set ‘Evernote’ as a label to a message in my Gmail account, create a copy of that email as a note in Evernote‘. The prerequisite for all this control is a maintained internet connection to allow the triggers and actions to be processed.
Having experimented briefly with IFTTT automation soon after it launched, I was very impressed by its potential. Now it has recently launched apps on Apple and Android platforms and the list of available channels is expanding rapidly – 101 at the time of writing.
I’ll try to go through an example recipe step by step, as simply as possible, (although trying it out for yourself may be more fun!)
In this example I will set up a recipe that sends an email reminder to myself when I miss a call from the estate agent.
Step 1: Choose a “Trigger Channel”. This is the service you want to monitor to see if certain conditions change within it.
Example: We will pick the channel named ‘Android Phone Call’
Step 2: Choose a Trigger. This is the event that is checked to see if certain conditions are met.
Example: Here we’ll choose the trigger action ‘You receive a missed call from a specific number.’
Step 3: Complete Trigger fields. Here we more closely specify the exact conditions of the trigger event.
Example: Here I’m going to enter the phone number I want to check (in this case the Estate Agents) that has left a missed call.
Step 4: Choose “Action Channel”. This is the service you want to activate when the trigger parameters are met.
Example: We need to pick the Email channel, or you could use the GMail channel if you use it, as it has more options.
Step 5: Choose an Action. This is the step you would like the service to perform for you.
Example: In this case, the only option is to send an HTML-based email.
Step 6: Complete Action fields. Here we define the specifics of the action.
Example: We can define the content of the automated email using in-built “Ingredients” like ‘ContactName’ and ‘FromNumber’. We can also define what we want to receive in the main body of the email, for example:
Hi James, you missed a phone call from ‘ContactName’ – ‘FromNumber’ at ‘OccurredAt”
In this case the name of the Estate Agents’ in my contacts log on my phone plus the phone number we entered in the Trigger section. This would produce an email like:
Hi James, you missed a phone call from Western Estate Agents – 01234567891 at 10:33
Create and Activate:
Step 7: Add a description of your recipe and Create!
Example: If I receive a missed call from 01234 567891 (my Estate Agent) then send myself an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Let us know if you are interested and would like any support, or if you have any success stories using IFTTT!