IFTTT, which is short for If This Then That, is a free Web service that lets you create an "applet," a simple program that triggers an action if something else occurs. Following its name, IFTTT simply allows you to fill in the "If/Then" blanks. For example, "If the Atlanta Falcons score a touchdown, Then change my Philips Hue lights to red."
IFTTT works with a wide range of devices and services, from Alexa and Google Home to the Nest thermostat. Connecting gadgets and services is not difficult, but it takes some patience. First, you'll have to create a free IFTTT account, as well as one for whatever product or service you're going to be controlling, such as the Philips Hue lights. Once you do, activating an applet is as simple as a virtual toggle switch on the IFTTT app or website.
Now here's a clever way of admiring everysingle photo you've ever been tagged in by your Facebook friends (and enemies, I suppose). Turn on the applet using permissions from the social network and the ability to add photos to an iOS album. Voila! You'll never again miss another photo of you practicing your red-carpet pose, or eating massive amounts of wasabi.
Great for internet dating and dodgy craigslist buying expeditions, this applet creates a strawman emergency situation by calling your phone at the perfect time. Just send a text to a dedicated IFTTT number with the hashtag #help and you’ll get a call to your mobile lickity-split. Now you’ll always have the excuse, “Sorry, I have to go, my dog is sick” the next time your date looks nothing like his or her profile photo.
You wear a Fitbit for an obvious reason, right? Well, why not get a little daily "inspiration?" This applet works with any Android or iOS-enabled device, and works very simply: If you haven't reached your daily Fitbit goals by a certain time (of your choosing), you'll get a push notification politely reminding you to get moving and make your goals.
Photo: Jeremy Lips / Tom's Guide
If you've got Philips Hue lights in your home, you can use this applet to turn on the lights in your home at sunset every day, thanks to data from Weather Underground. After configuring the applet in the IFTTT app, your lights will automatically turn on each day as the sun begins to set. Insert God-complex joke about "letting there be light" here.
Quick temperature adjusts are just what internet-connected thermostats such as the Nest and the Ecobee were designed for. Now, you don't even need to pull out your phone to get it done. The next time you feel cold, say, "OK, Google, set thermostat to 74 degrees," and you'll be toasty in minutes. (It works with Alexa, too.) Keep in mind that this applet is set to Fahrenheit, not Celsius.
Misplaced your phone again? Have an Android device with the Google Assistant (aka OK Google) widget installed? Well, instead of suffering moments of terror as you retrace your steps, just say, "OK, Google, find my phone," and Google Assistant initiates a call to your phone. When you answer, you'll hear a recording say, "Hooray! You found your phone." Of course, this is only useful if your phone is on and not silenced. In which case....
How times have changed. There was once a time when only people who watched C-SPAN daily cared when the president signed a bill into law. Now, it's mandatory watercooler fodder. Why not be prepared for President Trump by having the official text of each of his new laws loaded right into your iOS reading list, thanks to ProPublica?