December App Review: IFTTT

App: IFTTT (If This Then That)
Price: Free
Developer: IFTTT
Platforms: iOS, Android

This one is honestly less about the app and more about the service, but it’s a really cool service so I decided that it was worth writing a review for.  If This Then That is a service that connects all your other web services – like Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, and so on.  You create simple statements that connect actions from one account to actions in another, things like “IF someone tags me in a photo on Facebook THEN save that photo to my Dropbox.”  Neat right?  Here I’m going to briefly cover the app, and then talk about three of my favorite recipes (what IFTTT calls each trigger-action combo).

 

The app is really simple and straightforward.  Opening the app shows some suggested recipes at the top, and below is a history of all your recipes and when they fired.  It’s really cool if you’re curious what IFTTT has been doing for you lately.  Tapping the mortar and pestle in the top corner opens up your recipes.  Here you can turn them on or off, see their individual histories, or create new ones.  Of course, you can do all this from IFTTT.com, but the app is an easy way to keep up with recipes on the go.  It also unlocks other channels, like iOS Photos and Reminders or Android Location and SMS.

Now I want to talk about three recipes I either currently use or have used in the past.  The first (in the order of the screenshot above) is for RSS subscriptions.  I have a recipe that takes an RSS feed and puts every article in my Pocket account so I can read them later.  Lately, I’ve been using Apple News for most of my reading, but iMore’s Pixel Project comic is good enough that I want to make sure I see all of them.

Second is a way to save pictures I’ve like on Instagram.  I’ve played around with different ways to do this, everything from having them emailed to me to saving them automatically to my phone.  I don’t keep most of the pictures this saves, but if a friend of mine posts a group shot of all of us there’s no way I’m going to let that pass me by.

The last one is a great way to link Twitter and Instagram.  When posting to Instagram, you can also publish your post to Twitter, but it doesn’t show up an a Twitter image, just an Instagram link (unless, of course, you’re using Tweetbot.  And you should be).  This recipe takes your Instagram post and puts it on Twitter as a regular image tweet.  This is nice first because the image looks a lot nicer, and because you don’t have to tap to publish to Twitter every single time.  It’s all automatic.

I’ve covered three recipes here, but I’ve only scratched the surface of what IFTTT can do.  IFTTT supports 245 channels, from every social media you can think of, to smart home devices, to fitness and wearables.  It’s a great service, and I totally recommend you check it out.  Oh yeah, and download the app too.  ••

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