20 ways the IFTTT app can streamline your life
The IFTTT service allows your apps — like Instagram, GMail and WeMo — to talk to one other, streamlining your life through simple combinations of actions and reactions. Here's some of our favorite ways it makes life easier.
Tue, Jan 28, 2014 at 02:38 PM
If this then that. It's one of the basics of life, cause and effect. If this happens, then that will happen. It's also one of the basics of programming, and with the IFTTT (which stands for, you guessed it, If This Then That) app you can create custom combinations for how the different apps you use interact with one another to make life a little easier, or at least a little more interesting.
IFTTT connects apps — like GMail, Evernote, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, the Weather app and so on — allowing them to talk to each other, and one app reacts based on the input from the other app. For instance, you can have your Instagram and Facebook apps talk to each other, creating an IFTTT for "If I post a photo to Instagram, then Facebook will create a status update about the photo." The app has even created a feature so you can control apps based your location, such as turning on lights when you arrive home, or sending yourself a reminder to silence your phone when you arrive at work.
The combinations are called "recipes" and there are many listed on the IFTTT website that have been created by different users. There are plenty of ideas for posting anything you publish to Instagram on your Facebook feed, or Tweeting any photos you publish on Flickr. But what about going beyond just social media sharing? How can you use IFTTT for improving daily life? While it's not a life-changing service, there are many great ways to use the app to streamline your day and save you a few minutes here and there. Here are some of our favorites.
Be prepared for the day ahead:
- NOAA Severe Weather to SMS - get text updates about incoming storms.
- Send me an e-mail if there will be rain tomorrow - always know when to pack your umbrella.
- Create a Google Spreadsheet for your room's rising carbon dioxide levels - keep track of what's going on with your indoor air quality.
- Carbon Dioxide levels are in the ~Danger Zone~! - and know when to get some house plants for more O2!
- Text me a reminder to check the pipes if the temperature drops below - never let those pipes freeze and crack.
- Nearly home? Direct message the person who should know - alert anyone who needs to know you're home safely.
- Remind yourself to silence your phone when you get to work - because shhhhh.
- National Geographic Photo of the Day delivered to your inbox - you know, you could also customize this to get MNN news. Just sayin'.
Create a digital diary of your life:
- Archive your checkin history to Evernote - keep a record of where you've been in one easy place.
- Dear Diary, a running log of where I am - or instead of using Evernote, use Google calendar.
- Save a timeline of Facebook statuses to G Cal - use Google calendar as a quick reference for your daily social media updates like a diary.
Focus on work-life balance and health:
If I star an email in Gmail, create a reminder to take care of it - never let those emails sit for days on end.
Call your mom! - she'll love you for it.
Log how much time you spend at home/work/etc. - discover how you spend your time and create a better balance.
Remind me to exercise when I enter an area - Heading anywhere near the gym, or your workout weights at home? Use 'em!
Pollen count >7, post to Jawbone UP - don't let allergies catch you by surprise.
Manage your home:
- Use Siri to turn lights on & off - Siri can help you control the lighting in your home.
- If 11 p.m., shutoff lights - create and stick to a lights out schedule.
- Automatically turn on the lights when I arrive home - be greeted by a bright and welcoming home every night.
What else can you come up with? Let us know if you try any of these, or if you come up with other clever ways of taking advantage of IFTTT service.
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