Review: If you want an app to control your other apps, then try IFTTT

If This Then That - IFTTT

Being a good chef takes a lot of hands on experience, plenty of failed attempts, and some well-honed taste buds to decipher what flavors work well together. We have none of those skills. If only making a good meal was as easy as executing a recipe in IFTTT (If This, Then That), the mobile version of the web service that first appeared in 2010. The app makes all of your other apps work better by creating ways for them to work together.

IFTTTbIFTTT is all about creating what it calls “recipes.” These recipes are essentially commands that you create within the app that it then dictates to other apps and services to create a new function that otherwise wouldn’t happen. It’s kind of confusing when you’re trying to imagine it, but when you see it in practice it makes total sense. An example recipe would be something like “If tomorrow’s forecast calls for rain, send me a text message.” IFTTT then sends that command to the two apps that it runs through, Weather and your SMS service of choice, to provide you with a text update if there is rain incoming.

If you’re unsure of how to make the most out of IFTTT, don’t worry – you don’t have to sit and try to come up with recipes on your own to actually get use out of it. You can borrow recipes that others have created. You can sort through existing recipes by popularity and use to get ideas or try out commands that others have found helpful. You’d be surprised at some of the combinations that people have mixed and matched to come up with and just how useful they end up being (and why the app creators didn’t come up with the idea in the first place). You can even search for recipes by app to see what others have come up with before you head into the laboratory yourself.

You shouldn’t feel too intimidated to create your own recipes with ifttt, though. The most amazing part about the app is that it allows you to make events happen without any programming knowledge. All you have to do to make a recipe is pick a service that you’d like to get a new function out of, figure out how you’d like it to manifest, and hit the “Finish” button to put it into action. It’s extremely simple and essentially just has you pick options from a list of possible actions to come up with your creation. Those actions are so plentiful though that you’ll never have a shortage of ways to make apps interact and work together.

It is possible to make recipes that do not work. You can come up with a brilliant idea to make some feature that you believe should exist but you were never able to do only to have it shut down by the fact that it’s just not possible. IFTTT isn’t great about letting you know why something isn’t working or where the hang ups seem to be, but you’ll also know it’s not working as soon as you try it out so you aren’t totally left in the dark about it. Hang ups caused by the apps themselves are the only downside of IFTTT.

Whether you’re looking to get more use out of particular apps, create specific types of events that will make your life easier, or just take a look at what other tech-centric minds out there have come up with to improve app features, IFTTT is worth a download.

Warning: If you’re someone who is especially concerned with apps sharing information with one another, reconsider downloading this app. It’s going to ask you to log in to everything and give permission to use your information when needed. If that’s something you’re comfortable with, then get into IFTTT, play around, and see if you can’t turn your apps into services you never knew you couldn’t live without until you made it.

IFTTT can be downloaded for free from the iTunes App Store.

Smart Home

Ring and National Night Out partner to make Neighbors app more effective

Your home is only as safe as your neighborhood, and no one understands this better than Ring. To continue on its mission of enhancing safety for everyone, the company launched the Neighbors app, partnering with National Night Out.
Computing

The best Windows apps

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks!
Mobile

The world can be your oyster with a little help from the best travel apps around

Traveling doesn't need to be a time-consuming nuisance. Our handpicked selection of the best travel apps will keep things simple, whether you need cost comparisons for hotels or directions to renowned eateries.
Virtual Reality

Got a Gear VR headset? These are the apps and games you've got to try

Before you put on your new Gear VR headset, you should know which apps and games are worth downloading. Whether you're a fan of documentaries or arcade games, here's a list of the best Gear VR apps and games to be had.
Mobile

Best iOS app deals of the day! 6 paid iPhone apps are free for a limited time

Everyone likes apps, but sometimes the best ones are a bit expensive. Developers put paid apps on sale for a limited time, but you have to snatch them up fast. Here are the latest and greatest iOS app deals offered in the iOS App Store.
Mobile

These are the best video chat apps to help you stay in touch

Though still relatively new, video chat apps can help you connect with people from around the world. Here are our personal favorites to help you keep in touch regardless of smartphone OS.
Mobile

Some Samsung phones aren’t alerting users of app background processes

Worried that Facebook is spying on you? Some Samsung phones aren't correctly showing some apps on the App Permission Monitor, so users won't be alerted if an app tries to access certain permissions.
Outdoors

The AllTrails app gets even better, adds more details in new map layer

AllTrails updated its app with an all-new map layer that is easier to read, more clearly defines state and national parks around the world, and offers more points of interest for hikers.
Home Theater

What is MHL, exactly, and how does it work with your TV?

There are more ways to mirror your smartphone or tablet to your TV than you might think. Check out our rundown of MHL for everything you need to know about the wired protocol and its myriad uses.
Computing

Ripple is a different kind of cryptocurrency. Here's how to buy it

Need to know how to buy Ripple? You've come to the right place. In this guide we'll walk you through the process step by step, as well as offer an alternative for those who want to get more hands-on with their trades.
Computing

Watch out for these top-10 laptop buying mistakes

Buying a new laptop is exciting, but you need to watch your footing. There are a number of pitfalls you need to avoid and we're here to help. Check out these top-10 laptop buying mistakes and how to avoid them.
Mobile

How to play Steam games on Android

With Steam Link, you can officially bypass your laptop or desktop computer and play games directly on your Android device using a number of different controllers. Here's what you need to know to get started.
Product Review

The Moto Z3 Play packs a lot of juice with its included battery mod

Motorola’s latest phone is the mid-range Moto Z3 Play. It costs $500, so why wouldn’t you just get the OnePlus 6? The answer isn’t so simple. There’s a lot to like here, and the phone comes with a battery mod that extends its life…
Mobile

Apple stops offering free repairs for iPhones with grayed speaker buttons

Getting a new iPhone should be a pleasurable experience, but if you run into an issue, it can quickly become frustrating. Luckily, we’ve gathered a few potential solutions for any iPhone 7 problems you may be facing.
Mobile

Here’s how to unlock your phone automatically with Android Smart Lock

Tired of unlocking your smartphone with a PIN or passcode? Android Smart Lock unlocks it automatically using your location, face, and more. Here's how to set it up, and everything you need to know about it.
Outdoors

Dirt-cheap camping gear that’s actually worth spending your money on

Buying new camping gear can get very expensive, but these products offer great performance without breaking the bank, proving that you don't need to buy name brand equipment to have a good time in the backcountry.
Cars

Uber may soon turn into your personalized mini convenience store

Taking an Uber may soon be an all-inclusive experience. The transportation giant recently partnered with Cargo, the startup that offers in-car shopping experiences to those on the move.
Mobile

FCC begins accepting petitions to deny the T-Mobile and Sprint merger

T-Mobile and Sprint are hoping the third time is the charm for a merger. It comes just months after the carriers cited an inability to find common ground, extending yet again the long dance between the two telecom giants.
Mobile

Huawei may use a perforated LCD display to create a bezel-less Huawei Mate 20

Huawei has apparently put in an order for massive, 6.9-inch OLED screens, which will be used on a new smartphone coming later this year. Potentially its 2018 Mate series phone, it will challenge other big-screen devices we're expecting.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best wireless earbuds around.