What Is IFTTT?

Cause and effect never looked so good.

Brianne Sandorf
Feb 22, 2022
Icon Time To Read1 min read

Sometimes in a review, we say a product or service is IFTTT compatible. If that makes you think, “Okay, but what is IFTTT, anyway?” then this piece is for you.

IFTTT definition

IFTTT (pronounced Ift, not I-F-T-T-T like some of us inevitably say in our heads) stands for IF This, Then That. Sound familiar? That’s the basic recipe for cause and effect. IFTTT is a (mostly) free tech service that takes this principle and makes it more concrete.

How IFTTT works

To use IFTTT, you first download the app. Then you create mini programs called applets that create cause-and-effect chains.

If someone else previously created an applet that performs the action you want, you can use that applet instead of making a new one.

Applets
Light Bulb

We know “applet” sounds like a tiny Mac, but we think it means something along the lines of “mini application.” Sort of like an app within an app.

The phrase “IFTTT applet” is sometimes used interchangeably with “IFTTT recipe.”

If you want to create more than three applets, you have to pay $9.99 a month. You can use other people's applets without paying, though.

Things you can do with IFTTT

Applets create chains between platforms, software, and physical smart home devices. That means you can do almost anything with IFTTT (as long as the platforms, software, and products are compatible with the service).

You can do almost anything with IFTTT.

For instance, you could potentially create applets that do any of the following:

  • Turn off smart sprinklers if your weather app says it's raining
  • Unlock the door, turn on the lights, and crank up the smart thermostat when you arrive home
  • Play the Spider-Man theme song through your Sonos speaker whenever Tom Holland tweets something new

Almost anything works as the trigger for the IF part of the IFTTT applet. For example, the chain can be set off by any of the following:

  • A specific time of day
  • A specific time of weather
  • An event on a social media platform
  • Use of a smart product
  • Geofencing when you go to a certain place

Recap

IF This, Then That is a mostly free service that helps you set up event chains. It doesn’t work with everything, but it’s incredibly convenient for making your smart home smarter.

IFTTT FAQ

We’re sure you still have questions, so here’s some extra info about IFTTT.

Download the IFTTT app, then create an account. (It’s free.) As we mentioned earlier, you’ll both have access to existing applets and be able to create your own.

When you make a custom applet, it can use one simple conditional statement, or it can be more complicated with multiple actions. It’s all up to you.

A lot of things are compatible with IFTTT. Notably, you can connect IFTTT with the following:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Reddit
  • Dropbox
  • Evernote
  • Google Sheets
  • Nest
  • Abode
  • Ring
  • Samsung SmartThings
  • Amazon Echo/Alexa
  • Google Home/Google Assistant
  • Sonos
  • Fitbit 
  • Raspberry Pi
  • Philips Hue
  • LIFX

It depends on the device. Some devices that use Z-Wave or Zigbee protocols will also work with IFTTT.

People often mention IFTTT in the context of the Internet of Things, or IoT. IoT refers to networks of smart devices like the ones IFTTT can control.

Thread is still a bit of a mystery to us! IFTTT is a lot more accessible than Thread, which doesn’t seem to have officially launched to the public.

There are precautions that should be taken when using any app. Especially ones that have the ability to control your applets like IFTTT. We recommend always setting up two-step verification to keep your information safe. 

Brianne Sandorf
Written by
Brianne Sandorf
Brianne has a degree in English and creative writing from Westminster College and has spent 6+ years writing professional, research-based content. Before joining Reviews.org, she wrote safety and security content for ASecureLife.com. Her pieces and quotes are published across the web, including on MSN.com, Social Catfish, and Parents.com. Hobbies include wearing a seatbelt, wearing a life jacket, and keeping her arms and legs inside the ride at all times. Contact her at brianne@reviews.org.

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