We reveal how to automate almost anything you do on the internet with IFTTT
IFTTT is one of the most useful services on the internet. For those who’ve never heard of that rather ugly string of initials, it stands for If This Then That and betrays the service’s reason for being: to automatically perform a task when triggered by a predefined event.
If you’re struggling to wrap your head around the concept, let us give you some concrete examples. IFTTT can be programmed to send your partner a message on Twitter to tell them you’re on your way home the moment your phone detects you’ve left the office; it can automatically change your Twitter profile photo to match your Facebook one; or if you’ve invested in the Philips Hue lighting system, it can make your lights flash every time you receive a new email.
IFTTT is compatible with over 150 different web services and devices, meaning there are countless different “recipes” that can be generated. Tens of thousands have already been created by other users, all of which are free to download and tweak, but it’s often difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Here, we’re going to pick ten of our favourite IFTTT recipes, but it’s easy to create your own using the web interface or your smartphone. Follow our guide on how to create and use IFTTT recipes for more information.
Our Top 10 recipes
1. Missed call reminder
This recipe will detect any missed phone calls received on Android devices (iOS devices aren’t support unfortunately) and put a reminder to call the person back in your Google Calendar at 7pm that evening, complete with their phone number. Times can be edited.
2. Mute phone at work
A great location-based recipe for those who work in offices/shops that don’t allow personal calls. Search for an “unmute” recipe to switch the ringtone back on when you leave. Again, this is an Android-only recipe, as iOS devices won’t allow IFTTT to interfact with them at this level.
3. Never forget a friend’s birthday
This really is for the clinically thoughtless, but this recipe will post a happy birthday message on Facebook to anyone whose birthday is in your Google Calendar. Hint: you may want to vary the message text from time to time.
4. Make the lights flash when your team scores
One way to ensure you’ll never miss a goal when your team scores: make the house lights flash when they bang one in. This recipe works with the Philips Hue system, but can also be set for Belkin’s WeMo light switch.
5. Save articles spotted on Twitter for later reading
Seen someone Tweeting a link to an article that you’d like to read but haven’t the time right now? This recipe will extract the article and save it to the fantastic, free Paper app when you favourite the tweet.
6. Focus the job hunt
The business social network, LinkedIn, routinely sends you suggested job vacancies based on your background. This saves them all to a spreadsheet in Google Drive, so you don’t miss any opportunities.
7. Receive emails about free PC games
This recipe uses a combination of Reddit and Gmail to alert you to free new games posted on the Steam service. It even sends you the keys to access the free games.
8. Stock price crash warning
This alert will inform you if a chosen stock falls bellows a certain price, by pinging your Android phone. Could also be set up for iOS, Gmail or others if you prefer, with some simple editing.
9. Keep tabs on eBay auctions
This recipe lets you search for auction items on eBay, set a maximum price and then automatically adds all matching results to a spreadsheet in Google Docs. One for auction power users.
10. Tweet YouTube uploads
Save yourself the bother of tweeting people when you’ve uploaded a new video to YouTube. Let this script do it instead.