How to Use ifttt to Run the Internet

A great cloud service called If This Then It promises to “run the Internet for you”. The service uses your various cloud-based services to help you do certain tasks more quickly and efficiently.

I started using If This Then About a month ago, Netflix notified me via email when it added new movies to its streaming collections. After seeing how well it worked, I started looking for great “recipes” that would do useful tasks for me. If This Thenor ifttt as it is more commonly called, it is often great. Sometimes you will find a recipe that doesn’t work.

Let me show you a few of the things it can do for you, like wake you up or store content in your Dropbox or Evernote account.

Setting Up Tasks

First, sign up for an ifttt account and then check out some of the great Recipes already provided. For example, you can text message the weather report every morning or save your Instagram photos to Dropbox. Search for your favorite cloud-based services like Instapaper, Google Reader or Delicious and I’ll bet you have a Recipe that works with it. As an example, let’s set up the Instagram to DropBox recipe I use. Search for Instagram and Dropbox.


You will see more than 20 pages of results. Check them out and see which one works best for you. Some save your pictures, while others save pictures you like. One even saves all the photos I’m sure will soon fill your Dropbox account.

I chose the one from the user “dmnskIt promises to save new photos I share on Instagram to a folder in my Dropbox account.

You will need to enable two services for it to work. After you sign in to the service, Control+Click (for Windows) or Command+Click (for Mac) on the Channels tab at the top of It will open a new tab with Channels page. That way, you won’t lose the recipe you chose to set. Find the Instagram channel and then click on it. Follow the instructions to activate. Do the same for Dropbox.


When you’re done setting up your channel, you’ll see a number of popular recipes using that channel. Once both channels are set, return to the page with the recipe from Instagram to Dropbox. Reload the page and it should automatically fill in the input boxes with the correct information.

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If you want to customize the recipe, click on the input boxes and you will see a pop-up box with options to add from the Instagram channel. For example, you can include the Photo Caption you’re posting with the image, the Instagram URL, the Image Source URL (the default item in the box), and the Created Date. You only need the Source URL for this recipe to work.


Click on create task and then post an image to Instagram to test it. When I first set this up, I had to hit the Check Now button at the top of the new task page. The recipe found my photos I shared on Instagram and posted them to my Dropbox account. Before posting photos on Instagram, make sure to add an Instagram folder to your Dropbox Photos folder or it won’t work.

Here is the photo I shared on Instagram:

picture 0559

And here is the photo in the slideshow feature of my Dropbox account.


Here is a list of tasks I currently use.

Note that the Google+ to Twitter recipe above doesn’t work. This happens when services make changes and the recipe does not receive an update. I suspect that’s what’s in your Google+ to Twitter recipe.

If you want to see what tasks you have set up in ifttt, do not click on the Tasks tab at the top of the page after logging into the service. You can delete them, change them or check if they work. You can also turn it off temporarily using the icon that looks like the computer’s power button.

If you don’t see a task using one of your services, you can make your own. Click on your username and then select the Create a task button in the Control Panel. The service will walk you through the steps, starting with the “This” section. If This Then equation.

To hear my wake-up call from ifttt, watch the video below:

Let us know in the comments below if you use the service and what your favorite recipes have done for you.

Moyens Staff
Moyens I/O Staff has motivated you, giving you tips on technology, personal development, lifestyle and strategies that will help you.