Whether you're an ‘If This, Then That’ pro or a first-timer, these 32 must-use 'recipes' or 'applets' can ease the burden of holiday shopping, backup all your celebratory photos, auto-send tidings of good joy, help you stay healthy and even squirrel away some cash.
If you’ve not yet used or created any IFTTT “recipes,” the holiday season is as good a time as any to start. After all, who wants to take valuable attention away from a New Year’s Eve celebration to post a greeting to your social media followers?
If you’ve never heard of IFTTT, it stands for “If This, Then That.” And it’s a free service that connects other services and invokes automated actions, such as auto backup of your Instagram photos to Google Drive. Automated IFTTT tasks used to be called “recipes,” but they are now referred to as “applets.” IFTTT says the new applets offer more functionality than recipes and developers can reportedly integrate them into their products more easily.
We combed through thousands of IFTTT applets to find the best options to help you through the holidays. You need a free IFTTT account to them. And you usually need to give IFTTT access to the apps or accounts the applets utilize. The process is relatively painless, and you can use IFTTT’s website or its mobile apps to complete the required steps.
IFTTT applets for holiday shopping
Receive a daily summary of Best Buy sales
A Best Buy IFTTT applet emails you a daily digest of new products that were added to specific categories at the popular retailer. Categories include headphones, laptops, and portable or wireless speakers. You also can set the time of day you want to receive the email alert.
Receive a daily email of relevant eBay listings
If you still view eBay as a place to buy junk from someone’s garage, think again. To compete with Amazon, eBay now sells everything, including new merchandise. This eBay IFTTT applet sends you a daily email digest of eBay listings that match your previous search term, and you can set a maximum price limit to filter results.
Another separate applet automatically emails you when a particular item is listed for sale on eBay.
Get push notifications for shipping updates
No doubt you’ll be expecting at least a few packages during the holiday season. This IFTTT applet automatically sends you a smartphone notification when you receive shipping status updates via email, from FedEx, USPS, UPS, OnTrac, DHL or Airborne.
If you own an Amazon Echo or other Alexa-enabled device, you can tell it to add items to your shopping list by saying, “Add [name of item] to my shopping list.” With this IFTTT applet, whenever you ask Alexa, “What’s on my shopping list?,” you receive an email (via Gmail) of your entire list. The email can be sent to you and up to four more people.
IFTTT applets for health during the holidays and beyond
Get gentle nudges when you slack off
As a busy day progresses, it’s easy to forget about that daily 10,000-step goal. However, you can use an applet to remind you if you haven’t hit your Fitbit goals by a certain time of day. You can specify goals for which you want reminders, including calories burned, floors climbed, distance covered, active minutes and steps. And you can choose the time of day you want to receive reminders.
Automatically add weight data to Fitbit
Fitbit’s Wi-Fi-enabled Aria “smart” scale ($130) automatically adds daily weight and fat measurements to your Fitbit account. On the other hand, Withings’s Body scale ($130) measures muscle mass, water and bone mass, and the display even shows the day’s weather.
If you’re a Fitbit user who wants the functionality of the Withings scale, an IFTTT applet can bridge the gap, by automatically adding the weight records from your Withings scale to your Fitbit account. However, you’ll still want to use Withings’s Health Mate app to check other stats the scale records.
Receive a Nike+ summary
An applet exists to send you weekly Nike+ activity reports via email. You can specify the time of day and which day of the week you want to receive them.
Get a sleep reminder
This applet reminds you to go to bed early if you slept lightly the night before. For example, if you slept 6 hours last night, as recorded by Fitbit, you automatically receive an iOS reminder to “go to bed earlier.” Both the target hours and reminder message are customizable.
Save money — and improve your health
Qapital is an app that automatically rounds up purchases you make using designated accounts and then funnels extra cash into a savings account. You can assign the accounts to specific goals, such as “Pay off debts” or “Get something.” An IFTTT applet lets you set Qapital to transfer a designated amount of money ($1 to $50) whenever you hit your daily Fitbit step goal.
James A. Martin is a seasoned tech journalist and blogger based in San Francisco and winner of the 2014 ASBPE National Gold award for his CIO.com blog. He writes CIO.com's Living the Tech Life blog and is also a content marketing consultant.