An Interesting App: If This, Then That (IFTTT)

The Wall Street Journal had a story today about an app that I had not heard of, but is apparently quite popular among the geek crowd. Since I am an honorary member of the geek crowd (by virtue of my high school picture),


I figured this was the type of app I needed to look into.

The app is called If This, Then That, or IFTTT for short (pronounced like LIFT without the L).

The premise behind IFTTT is quite basic – you use it to connect two services. These connections are referred to as recipes, and it takes just a minute or two to create such recipes within the IFTTT app.

The reporter breaks down the creation of a recipe into three simple steps:

  1. Choose a trigger, the IF part of the recipe. Triggers can be external events like the weather, or something you do, like taking a photo
  2. Choose an action, the THEN part of the recipe. Actions can be something that happen online, like posting to Facebook, or something in the physical world, like turning on your smart lights at home.
  3. Once you have created the recipe, you just sit back and the IFTTT robots do their magic

The article offers some examples of existing recipes, which you can copy and use for yourself. Here’s a sample of what’s possible:

  • you can connect the GPS service of your smartphone to your text messaging app so that when you are within one mile of your house, a text message will be sent to your spouse
  • the reporter used IFTTT to turn his holiday lights red for a minute every time someone tweeted #ChristmasSpirit.

I just created a couple recipes myself, but haven’t had the chance to see if, and how, they work. The first one I created was to have ESPN send me a notification of the final score of the Phillies game, and the second one was to have my blog posts automatically posted to Medium as well.

I’ll update this blog right after I post to let you know if the WordPress to Medium recipe works, and I’ll let you know if the ESPN to notification recipe works tomorrow.

Go Phillies!

Update: The WordPress to Medium recipe worked – you can check out the post on Medium.

Published by

Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

8 thoughts on “An Interesting App: If This, Then That (IFTTT)”

    1. Hi Suzy. I did add one line at the end of the original post after I noticed that the blog did post to Medium. Not sure if there is a better, more standard way of providing an update. I also noticed that you have created a recipe. Did it work the way you hoped? Have you tried any others? I agree, the possibilities are endless, and I read somewhere that it is possible to link more than just two apps together…


      1. I tried it, but I don’t know if the recipe I invoked was even necessary. I told it to save screenshots to a separate iOS album. I thought it would save only the screenshots that I took after creating the recipe, but all my screenshots are in a Screenshots album. I think that album was already there by default.

        My iPad Mini, to which I have NOT downloaded the app, has a Screenshots folder. My husband’s iPhone (with no IFTTT app) has a Screenshots folder on it, too.

        I’m gonna have to do more recipes to see how awesome it really is. There’s a WordPress channel. Promising …



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *