Definition

IFTTT (If This Then That)

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

If This Then That (IFTTT, pronounced to rhyme with "gift") is an online service that automates Web-based tasks so that when user-specified events occur, follow-up tasks are triggered and handled.

IFTTT breaks tasks into "Do recipes," which are single actions such as "dim the lights" initiated by a smartphone tap, and "If recipes," which allow users to create chains of simple conditional statements, which are triggered based on changes to other web services.

Here are a few examples of If recipes, from among many possibilities:

  • If I post an image on Instagram, save the file to Dropbox.
  • If the president signs any legislation, send me a text.
  • If I star a message in GMail, save it in Evernote.
  • If motion is detected in my home when I'm away, send a text alert.
  • If I post a file to Dropbox, sync it to Google Drive.

Beyond the purposes foreseen by IFTTT's creators, developers are finding various ingenious ways to use the service. An iPhone app called Manything, for example, uses IFTTT to turn old phones into a CCTV monitoring system, setting up two iPhones to work as motion sensors and triggering video recording if motion is detected.

See an IFTTT tutorial:

This was last updated in October 2015

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