There’s an incredibly useful service called ifttt, which stands for “If This Then That,” and it helps make users more efficient. The creators released an iPhone app last year and finally released an Android version with some great Android specific Recipes.
When ifttt uses the term Recipe, they don’t mean a list of steps to bake white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. Instead, a Recipe takes a Trigger and then performs a resulting Action. For example, when we post a new article to GottaBeMobile, readers can add a link to their account on Instapaper, which people use to collect Internet news links and read later them on an iPad or when they’re at their computer.
Users can create Recipes on the new Android app, in the old iPhone app or through the website. We’ll focus on the Android app, but the process works much the same on iPhone or online.
A Recipe takes input from various channels. For example, one channel might include a user’s Twitter feed. Connect ifttt with Twitter. Then the user can then take input from Twitter and create an outcome on another channel. For example, use ifttt to share Tweets on their Facebook account.
The new Android app includes six new channels as follows:
- Android Device – use functions on an Android phone, like change the background picture when the user takes an Instagram photo or silence the phone when the user arrives at home
- Android Location – when a user arrives at work, post the time to Evernote
- Android Notifications – do things when a user’s phone shows a notification
- Android Phone Call – when a user receives a call on their phone, they can send the caller a text message
- Android Photos – back up photos after a user takes one to various onlines sites like Google Drive
- Android SMS – when the user receives a text message they can back it up to DropBox
How to Configure ifttt
First, install the free ifttt app and sign up for an account. Then log into the app and check out the special Android Recipes that the app lists upon first launch. The user can also look at other recipes by tapping on the Recipes icon in the upper right corner of the app’s main screen. It looks like a pharmacist’s mortar and pestle (the marble mixing bowl crushing tool).
An icon that looks like a pair of glasses lets the user find recipes. It shows tabs of special Recipe Collections, Featured Recipes selected by the app’s creators, Trending Recipes which show popular Recipes at that moment and All Recipes.
To use Recipes, the user must connect ifttt to other services used in Recipes, like Facebook, Twitter, DropBox and more. To do this using the Android app, tap on the Recipe icon in the upper right corner. The user’s Recipe list will slide out from the right side of the screen. Tap on the Android menu button represented by three vertical dots in the upper right corner of the screen. From the menu choose Channels. A grid of icons shows up with connected channels in color while unconnected channels show up grayed out.
Best ifttt Recipes for Android
Here’s 10 of my favorite ifttt Recipes for use with Android phones. Android makes it possible to do some things that iPhone ifttt users can’t, since Apple locks down iOS.
- Automatically set your latest Instagram as your wallpaper – take a picture on Instagram and the ifttt app will automatically use that picture as the phone’s screen background.
- Mute my ringer at bedtime – this silences the phone’s ringer at a determined time. Use it to also mute the notifications by editing the recipe using steps below.
- Text my wife when I leave work – use this to send an SMS to someone based on a location, like one’s spouse when the person leaves work.
- Rain tomorrow? Get an Android Notification – get a notification on the Android phone when the weather forecast calls for rain or edit the trigger to signal when the temp will drop below or above a predefined temp.
- Get a notification when your favorite team starts a game – use the ESPN channel to send notices to the phone when certain sports teams begin a game. Edit the trigger for game endings with scores.
- Let me know when I’m kicked off my home WiFi so I don’t burn through my data plan – a great recipe for people who own a temperamental Wi-Fi router and subscribe to a limited data package on their phone.
- Text my wife when I call 911 – people hopefully will never use this one, but its great to set it up for when an emergency happens.
- Sorry, I don’t do voicemail (missed calls get an SMS) – for people who get a tone of voicemail, this Recipe could save some time. It will text people who leave a voice message to tell them they can text what they need and get it handled quicker. It won’t help when someone calls from a landline.
- When you miss a call send them a text a text saying you’ll call later – like the above Recipe, but responds to all calls that the phone owner doesn’t answer.
- Upload Android screenshots to Google Drive – for people who do a lot of app reviews or how to posts, this Recipe will make the job easier. Google+ and Dropbox already backup such photos, but they sometimes take a long time or never work until the user opens the DropBox app.
How to Edit ifttt Recipes for Android in the App
Open the ifttt app and then click on the Recipe icon in the upper right corner (see screenshot above). The user’s Recipes will slide out from the right. Tap on the Android-specific Recipe that needs editing. Tap on the Edit button (see second image below). Delete actions in the box to remove them and tap on the plus icon to add new ones.
This doesn’t let users replace the trigger or action with a different Channel. It only lets users tweak the trigger or action already part of the Recipe.