IFTTT essential guide: The best IFTTT Applets for your automated smart home

Alexa, Google Home, SmartThings and more great IFTTT recipes

IFTTT: Essential guide for Alexa
The Ambient is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant are all upping the home automation game, but IFTTT has been kicking ass and taking names in the space for years with its Applets (previously called IFTTT recipes).

IFTTT – or If This Then That, for those yet to make its acquaintance – is a web-based service that allows various platforms, apps and gadgets to trigger responses in one another that otherwise wouldn't be possible.

It launched way back in 2011 – historic in smart home terms – and essentially it's a free way to get bits of connected tech talking to each other.

IFTTT users now has some rival platforms to choose from, such as Yonomi and Home Assistant (Stringify, sadly is no more). These types of platforms and services are particularly useful in linking devices which aren't currently linked because they were designed for different ecosystems or protocols, and offer extras like conditional statements. The beauty of IFTTT is its simplicity and ease of use.

Below, we'll get you set up with some of the best IFTTT Applets available right now. And keep checking back, because we'll continue to update this list with more Applets as we find them.

Jump to the information you need

IFTTT: Getting started

To get started with IFTTT, just head to the site and sign up via your email/Facebook or Google details and/or download the IFTTT mobile app on the App Store or Google Play. It's available for iPhone and Android.

As far as you're concerned, IFTTT is divided into Services and Applets. Services aren't just services like Spotify, they also cover mobile apps, whole platforms and devices. Basically anything you might want to control or be controlled by something else.

Categories of IFTTT Services include appliances, baby, communication, business tools, cloud storage, environment control, security and monitoring, lighting, photo and video and shopping.

Applets are what "bring your services together" by connecting up devices and platforms. Which Applets are useful to you completely depends on what smart home tech you actually have in your home as well as what apps and services you use. That said, scroll down to see some Applets that we think are particularly cool or useful.

IFTTT: Which devices are compatible?

IFTTT is pretty damn comprehensive when it comes to smart home tech and the services you might want to use with it. There's lots of compatibility with smartphone-based triggers too.

We're not going to list every single IFTTT Service here – head to IFTTT's own Services page for that – but here are a few of the big names in each of the main categories.

In terms of platforms, IFTTT plays nicely with Google Assistant, Alexa, and Samsung SmartThings, but that's not all. You'll now find loads of handy automations for big-name tech companies like August, Philips Hue, Wyze, Ecobee, and more.

However, some IFTTT Applets replicate automations you'll find natively on those devices – so we'd recommend checking the app beforehand, as sometimes the native automations work better. IFTTT is really meant for those cases where the companies' own automations don't cut it.

best IFTTT for smart home

The best Alexa IFTTT Applets

Track the music Alexa plays

No more scrawling the name of your new favorite artists on the back of a napkin – at least not for songs coming out of your Amazon Echo. This Applet will add tracks played by Alexa to a Spotify playlist. There's also an Applet that will instead put track info in a Google Drive doc instead.


Sync Alexa to-dos with your reminders

The grocery run has never been easier. This Applet will send all of your stored Alexa to-dos to the Reminders app on your iPhone. For Android IFTTT users, there's one for syncing with the Google Calendar instead. There's also one for Evernote fans.


Also try:An Applet where Alexa will text your shopping list to your phone.

Un-silence your phone with Alexa

There's more than one way to call your phone using Alexa, but if your phone is on silent then they might be of no use. Thankfully, this workaround solves the problem by taking your phone off silent mode. It only works with Android, but if that's you, it could be a huge time saver.


Have Alexa flash your Hue lights

If you've set a timer with Alexa and want some visual cues when the clock hits zero, this Applet will flash your Hue lights so you know it's time to take the pasta off boil. This one's also great for anyone who's hearing impaired.


IFTTT and alexa smart home

The best Google Assistant IFTTT Applets

Add songs to your Spotify playlist

It does exactly as described. Just say, "Ok Google, add to [Name of playlist], [Artist name], [Song title]." As if by magic, it will appear on your Spotify playlist.


Add a new contact

If, like us, picking up the phone and punching in the digits is far too much effort, you can have the Assistant add a new contact for you, via IFTTT. When it's live, just say, "Ok Google, add [Name] to my contacts. The number is #".


Add events to your iOS calendar

Google Assistant plays nicely with Google Calendars, but if you prefer the iOS calendar then this Applet is for you. Just say, "Hey Google, add to my iOS calendar..." and then dictate accordingly.


Turn on your TV with Google Assistant

This Applet that links Google Assistant and Logitech Harmony can help you fire up your TV without retrieving the remote control from between the sofa cushions. A quick “Ok Google, turn on my TV” puts you in control.


IFTTT recipes for Alexa

Best IFTTT Applets for home security

Turn on lights when Ring senses motion

Burglars are a nuisance (kind of goes without saying, really), but they can be scared off if they think someone is at home. That's where this Applet from Ring comes from. You can set up your Philips Hue lights to come on when Ring senses something going on outside, scaring off the would-be burglars. Sure, it could just be a raccoon, but do you want to take that risk?


Lock your door behind you

Automatically locking your door behind you would be a problem if you needed keys to open it but, with a SmartThings system, one of the bonuses is that you can use your Android mobile phone to do it instead. When you and your cell cross the threshold, your location is reported to the main hub, which then bolts your house. So no more wondering whether or not you really did lock up. Just drive off into the sunset.


Use an old iPhone as a CCTV camera

If you happen to have an old iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Android phone that you're no longer using, then why not turn it into a handy Wi-Fi camera that can monitor your home while you aren't there? The app can record video and send motion activated alerts to your email using a simple IFTTT recipe.


Make sure your garage is closed

You get home late, you're groggy and aren't thinking clearly. You just want to sleep. The next morning you walk outside only to find that you left your garage door open. How stupid! Well, unless you had this Applet. You just have to set a time of day, and if Garageio finds that your garage door is open it'll close it. Simple and carefree.


IFTTT and smart lights

Best IFTTT Applets for smart lighting

Loop colors on your Hue bulbs

If you want to get your money’s worth from those colored Hue bulbs, try this little IFTTT applet. At the push of a button you can have all the colors of your bulb cycle, creating a light show in your living room. It will be a sure-fire hit with kids, guests and old people – less useful in everyday life.


Visual cues

Setting a timer with Amazon Echo? You can add in the bonus of visual cues from the Philips Hue lightbulbs too in case you really don't want to forget the cake in the oven or miss the latest episode of Game of Thrones. Once the timer counts down to zero, the lights will blink.


Purple Rain

Definitely the least problem-solving on this list is the IFTTT recipe that switches your Philips Hue bulbs to purple while it rains outside. Again, it's the Yahoo Weather service that provides the precipitation reports while you appreciate your homemade Prince homage every time it pours. WARNING: Might get really old if you live somewhere like Seattle or London.


Lights up as the sun goes down

This Applet, available for both Lifx and Hue bulbs, will power up your lighting when the sun goes. You can then experience a magical phasing up of your home's electric light intensity as the hues from the outside world fade out into dusk. Beautiful, baby.

Download for Lifx | Download for Hue

Match your lighting with Instagram

If you're somewhat of an Instagram addict and are the proud owner of the Philips Hue smart lighting system, you can intertwine the two to change your room's lighting to reflect the predominant colors of the latest photo you have uploaded. Want to fill your room with warmth after sunset? Simply take a snap of the setting sun and let IFTTT do the rest. This one's a bit niche, but could be fun.


best ifttt applets recipes

Best IFTTT Applets for the morning/evening routine

You wake up, everything wakes up

When you wake up in the morning, you need a couple of minutes to get yourself situated. Wouldn't it be nice if everything just took care of itself? Well, that's what this Applet from Flic does. Your lights are on, your coffee is getting ready, your co-workers are alerted. It's all good.


Get a hot coffee when you wake up

If nothing gets you going in the morning quicker than a cup of hot coffee, and you happen to own both a Fitbit and Belkin WeMo plug, the two can be used in conjunction with a simple recipe that automatically switches on your coffee machine the moment you wake from your slumber.


Turn off iDevice plugs when you leave

Nothing worse than that niggling feeling that you left something on during your usual rushed morning routine. It'll eat at you all day. If you use iDevice smart switches or outlets, this Applet will automatically turn them off when you leave a geo-fenced area - ie your home - to give you peace of mind.


Stop Sonos when you leave the house

Sonos users, activate this Applet to have your multi-room system stop playing music as soon as you leave the house. There's also one to start playing your favorite tunes as soon as you walk through the door.


Warm up your bed

Sometimes you leave your window open for air during sleep, and all of a sudden in the middle of the night it's like Elsa came along and froze your entire town. With this Applet from Eight, if your Nest Thermostat senses that the temperature is a little too cold it'll activate your Eight bed warmer. The cold never bothered you anyway.


Turn off Wi-Fi when not at home

Save power at home when you're at work by turning off the Wi-Fi. Then use the recipe to turn it back on when you get home. Your bank account will thank you when the monthly bill rolls around.


IFTTT essential guide: The best IFTTT Applets for your automated smart home

Other IFTTT Applets we're loving right now

Call my phone

Sometimes, you're going to lose your phone. Unless you have a service like Find my iPhone or an Android equivalent, you're asking someone to call your phone. Why don't you ask Google Assistant or Alexa? This Applet uses a VoiP service within the IFTTT app on your phone, so as long as you've got the app on your phone it'll work.

Download: Alexa | Google Assistant

Control your appliances

If you’re the proud owner of smart appliances, there are a host of IFTTT controls to take advantage of your new IoT kitchen. This Applet will send you a notification when your Bosch dishwasher cycle ends, but there are similar options for Whirlpool, GE, Samsung and LG devices covering washing machines, dryers, robot vacuums, slow-cookers and more.


Save water

There's an applet for watering your plants but there's also one for not watering them too. Why'd you want to do that? To save money and water by pausing your watering system automatically if it's going to rain the next day. What a time to be alive.


Stop watering when the wind is strong

You can tend to your smart garden all you want, but sometimes Mother Nature is going to get in the way, it's powerful winds sending your watering onto everything but your garden. You can avoid this by setting up this Applet, which will stop watering your garden if it's too windy to do so effectively - saving water.


Stop your teens stealing your booze

Of the many recipes you'll find on IFTTT, one of the most original is the idea of hooking it up to your drinks cabinet at home. Should anyone open the door to your Aladdin's cave of half-drunk, out-of-date holiday liqueurs, this setup will dial you straight away and let you know. The parenting end of the equation is up to you.


TAGGED    smart home

Related stories

smart home CES 2021: The Ambient's top smart home picks revealed
security cameras D-Link 2K Pan & Zoom security camera headlines revamped smart home line-up
smart home Kohler introduces the smart bathroom of the future – for a price
robot vacuums Samsung debuts the Jet Bot 90 AI+ robot vacuum at CES
smart home Sensibo Pure is a smart air purifier with voice control
smart home Ezlo Secure smart home hub has battery and 4G backup