man-using-smart-watch-feed_shutterstock

Everything you need to know about IFTTT

man-using-smart-watch_shutterstock

IFTTT allows you to connect your smart devices even when they're not directly compatible.


What is IFTTT?

IFTTT, or If This Then That, is a simple automation platform for linking digital services and smart devices through instruction sets known as Applets. In their simplest form, Applets consist of a group of actions that link two different devices or services. For example, there's an Applet that will automatically turn on your Philips Hue smart lights when the weather forecast service Weather Underground reports the sun is about to set. All Applets follow this framework of one action triggering another – hence the "If This Then That" moniker.

Applets are especially useful in the realm of home automation as they allow different smart devices and services to work together even if they don’t support it out of the box. From posting to Facebook by dictating a status update to Google Home to turning off your house lights, locking your doors and silencing your phone with a single voice command, Applets give you an extra layer of control over your smart home.

How does IFTTT work?

The IFTTT platform provides a standard communication protocol for detecting and triggering actions through both online services and Internet-connected hardware. For any service or device that implements it, IFTTT acts as a middle-man that handles translation of commands from one system to another, saving service providers and device manufacturers the hassle of building in compatibility for each and every other service or device they want theirs to work with.

Individual IFTTT Applets combine a "trigger" and an "action", with available triggers and actions defined by the creators of an IFTTT-compatible service or device. Anyone can create the Applets themselves, whether they are official Applets from companies like Samsung SmartThings and Belkin WeMo, Applets from experienced IFTTT "Makers" or custom Applets you create yourself using the IFTTT creation tool.

How do I use IFTTT to control my smart home?

If you own smart-home devices that support it, the simplest way to make use of IFTTT for home automation is by searching for existing Applets on the IFTTT website. You'll need to create a free IFTTT account first, then browse the IFTTT repository for an Applet that suits your needs. Once you've found one, turning it on is a simple matter of linking the Applet to the relevant services or devices – for example, linking your Google account for your Google Home or your LIFX account for your LIFX smart lights.

If you need help connecting your smart devices, IFTTT has a helpful video walking you through the steps involved.

While there are hundreds of official Applets available through IFTTT, you might find the specific trigger/action combo you're after just doesn't exist. In this case, you can use the IFTTT creation tool to build your own Applet from any combination of trigger and action you desire. The process is thankfully straightforward:

  • Select the service or device to trigger the Applet (eg, Z-Wave smart devices).
  • Log into the relevant account and grant IFTTT the necessary permissions.
  • Select a trigger (eg, motion detected by a Z-Wave motion sensor).
  • Select the service or device to perform an action (eg, Philips Hue smart lights).
  • Log into the relevant account and grant IFTTT the necessary permissions.
  • Select an action (eg, turn on all house lights).

Your Applet will now be active, and any time the trigger conditions are met, the connected action will be executed.

What devices and services support IFTTT?

IFTTT is compatible with an extensive range of services, ranging from basic systems like email, date and time scheduling and location tracking to popular platforms like Skype, Dropbox and eBay. For smart-home owners, the following are some of the most relevant IFTTT-compatible services and devices:

Services

Devices

  • Samsung SmartThings
  • Logitech Harmony
  • Z-Wave smart devices
  • Android devices
  • iOS devices
  • WeMo smart plugs

Latest technology news

Picture: Shutterstock

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Get more from finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, read the PDS or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.
Ask a question