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How To Turn Your Phone into a Fully Automated Machine with IFTTT

You’ve got “IF This Then That” set up on your Android device.

You’ve played around with it a little bit, and now you’re ready to take your automation to the next level. Here we’ll explore some of the ways you can maximize control, creativity, and automatic processes with IFTTT.

More than anything, we’ll be exploring this service’s versatility. Some of these recipes might not appeal to your specific needs, but maybe they will inspire you to create some truly unique mechanics.

This article will provide you with a handful of methods to maximize your IFTTT experience. You will learn how to create custom recipes and use IFTTT features like the DO Button and DO Camera. Once you’ve mastered IFTTT, you will realize how truly creative you can get while automating your repetitive daily tasks.

Method 1) Craft a Basic Recipe

Before we do anything complicated, let’s take a look at how to make a basic custom recipe in IFTTT. This sample recipe will post any pictures you take on Instagram to Twitter using an image post instead of the typical link to Instagram if you tag the image with “#twitter”.

Even if you don’t have any interest in this particular mechanic, it will at least show the basics of recipe creation.

Step 1:

Open the IF app on your phone.

IF Home Screen.
IF Home Screen.

Step 2:

Tap the mortar and pestle “Recipe” icon.

Recipe icon.
Recipe icon.

Step 3:

Tap the plus icon ( + ) next to the gear.

Recipe menu.
Recipe menu.

Step 4:

Tap the plus icon ( + ) at the bottom right of the screen.

Add a custom recipe.
Add a custom recipe.

Step 5:

Add an “if” condition.

Step 6:

Swipe left and right to find Instagram.

Slide to select.
Slide to select.

Step 7:

Select “New photo by you with a specific hashtag.”

Select trigger.
Select trigger.

Step 8:

Enter the hashtag you will use to indicate which Instagram pics should be sent to Twitter.

Enter a tag.
Enter a tag.

Step 9:

Tap Next.

Step 10:

Add a “then” effect.

Step 11:

Swipe left and right to find Twitter.

Step 12:

Tap “Post a tweet with image.”

Step 13:

IFTTT will attempt to fill out any appropriate information in the form. It does a pretty good job on this one.

IF auto-fills info.
IF auto-fills info.

Step 14:

Tap the Erlenmeyer flask icon to see other possible variables.

The kinds of variables available in this menu will always be dependent on the kind of “if” trigger you selected, so in this case they are all Instagram related.

Flask icon.
Flask icon.

Step 15:

Tap continue.

Step 16:

Choose whether or not to receive notifications with this recipe runs. Since IFTTT is presenting itself as you online, it’s a good idea to stay in touch with what it’s doing.

Toggle notifications.
Toggle notifications.

Step 17:

Tap finish to complete the recipe.

Note: At some points along the way, you will need to activate a channel if you haven’t already done so. If this happens, you will need to enter the requested credentials, and IFTTT will reroute you back into the workflow described here.

Method 2) The DO Button

The DO Button is a versatile addition to the IFTTT family that lets you create a simple button on your home screen. When you tap the DO button… something happens.

What exactly?

Well, that’s up to you!

Step 1:

Download the DO Button at the Google Play Store.

Download DO Button

Step 2:

Open DO Button.

Step 3:

Login with your IFTTT credentials.

Step 4:

Let’s create a new recipe!

Tap the mortar and pestle icon to begin.

Tap the recipe button.
Tap the recipe button.

Step 5:

Tap the plus ( + ) button.

Add Recipe.
Add Recipe.

Step 6:

The DO button has many pre-built recipes available. Try exploring a little bit to see if any pique your interest.

My favorite is a button that, if tapped, prompts an automated call to my phone which I can use to get out of awkward social situations.
“I’m sorry. As much as I’d like to keep talking about this multi-level marketing scheme you’re selling, my grandmother has just caught fire, and I need to go.”

You can also make your own DO Button recipes.

Method 3) The DO Camera

The DO Camera is similar to the DO button in that it performs a scripted task instantly.

However, rather than act when you tap a button, the DO Camera executes the task as soon as you take a picture with the app.

To see what kinds of things you can do with the DO Camera, check out the steps below!

Step 1:

Download the DO Camera from the Google Play Store.

Download Do Camera

Step 2:

Open DO Camera for the first time.

Step 3:

Login with your IFTTT credentials.

Step 4:

Time to  create a new recipe! Just like in other IFTTT apps, tap the mortar and pestle icon to begin.

Tap the recipe button.
Tap the recipe button.

Step 5:

Tap the plus ( + ) button.

Add a new recipe.
Add a new recipe.

Step 6:

Like the DO Button, the DO Camera has many recipes available. Look around and see if any of the pre-made recipes interest you.

My favorite recipe uses DO Camera to send any business cards I receive directly to a specific notebook in Evernote. That way I never have to carry around other people’s business cards!

Collect business cards!
Collect business cards!

Of course, you can also make your own DO Camera recipes.

What clever concoctions can you think up?

Cautions and Concerns

Be careful when connecting IFTTT services together. When IFTTT makes a public Facebook post or tweets a link, it’s for all purposes acting on your behalf.  It’s totally possible to create feedback loops that may make your friends think you’ve lost your mind.

Moreover, IFTTT can blur the line a bit between what is private and what is public. Private information, like a note you may record in Evernote, can be linked to public information, like your Google+ account.

Although IFTTT won’t ever do something unless you program it to, it’s easy to accidentally link together causes and effects you didn’t anticipate.

Experiment carefully.

Conclusion

IFTTT is an excellent way to automate tasks and simplify your experience with a variety of services. If you’re a creatively-minded person, IFTTT gives you the freedom to create any number of elaborate procedures.

I’ve found that the best way to use IFTTT is just to know that it’s there. Often, when I try to invent something off the cuff, it winds up not being particularly useful.

Instead, play around with it a little bit and understand how it works. Then the next time you hit a procedural snag in your day to day life, you might think, “Hey, I could totally write a recipe to do this for me!”

That’s when the service shines.

What is the coolest IFTTT recipe you’ve made?

Share a link to it in the comments and let us know what it does for you so we can give it a try.

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2 Comments

  1. I read this article and it’s pretty easy it seems. I am still apprehensive about actually using it because I’m afraid I’ll mess it up. Either way, it’s holding my interest. Good job and thank you. B

    1. HI Barb,
      It is easy, but I understand what you are saying about being worried about making a mistake. If you ever do decide you want to go ahead with it, know that we are always here to help with anything that you need.

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