IFTTT Explained For The Laymen

Quite a handy tool to automate recurring things.

By Prajith

As a matter of fact, a single day doesn’t pass by without us spending time on the internet. While every individual may spend time on the internet for myriad reasons, there’s one thing common among all of us — we all do a few tasks repetitively (on a daily, weekly or a particular time basis). Saving the photos we are tagged in Facebook to Dropbox, for instance, is one among the many repetitive tasks. 

IFTTT Explained For The Laymen


But, have you ever wondered is there a way to automate these things, so that you can spend more time on something productive. If you ever have then, IFTTT is exactly what you should look at. 

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So, without wasting any time, let’s get started with IFTTT.

What is IFTTT

Pronounced as ‘gift’ without the ‘g,' IFTTT stands for If This, Then That. It is an ingeniously simple concept that connects multiple Internet-dependent services (and devices) via two elements — a Trigger (If This) and an Action (Then That).

To put it in other words, IFTTT is all about the cause-and-effect relationship. Whenever something happens to one service, a ‘Trigger’ is generated, and an ‘Action’ takes place on the other service automatically. For instance, you have created a new contact on your iPhone (a Trigger), the contact it will be automatically added to Google spreadsheet (an Action) for easy searching and sorting in the future. 

This is just one example; there are numerous other things you can do to automate almost all of your internet activity with the trigger and action combinations. 

What are Applets

What are Applets

Speaking of trigger-and-action combinations, IFTTT terms this merger as ‘Applets.’ Previously, Applets were referred as ‘Recipes.’ As far as how things work, nothing much has changed, but now the former can trigger multiple actions as opposed to only a single action which was possible on the latter.   

There are a slew of Applets already available; you can choose any of them as you need. Also, a user can use any number of Applets. There are no limits.

Getting started with IFTTT

IFTTT can be used via the website or the mobile app. To start using it, sign up with your Google account (or any other account) and set up ‘Services’ (previously known as ‘Channels’). Speaking of Services, these are the “basic building blocks of IFTTT,” you can choose any service as you want. Check them out here. 

Once you select your Service, you’ll be able to see a good number of Applets (Triggers + Actions) that have been already created by users or service providers and product makers. If you come across on any Services you like, click on them and “Turn On” the Services. Every Applet requires permission to different services, and you’ll be requested for the same. Once you authorize the Service, and that’s it, you’re have activated an IFTTT Service successfully. Repeat the same steps as mentioned above to set up actions for particular triggers. 


Now that you have a fair idea of what IFTTT is capable of, start exploring it. Like mentioned earlier, if you are among one of those people who spend a lot of time on the internet doing recurring tasks on a regular basis, IFTTT will be very useful. 

In case you face any problems while setting it up or if you have any doubts, feel free to ask them through the comments section below. 

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