Guide: IFTTT vs Work­flow: Comparison and Review

IFTTT and Workflow are two apps that want to take some frequent tasks out of your life and either make them easier or do them completely for you. Although they share this goal, the apps use quite different approaches to achieve it. Automate the chores in your life with IFTTT or Workflow | Shutterstock Workflow is all about creating multiple sets of tasks that you can recall at any time with one tap. Workflow takes care of them all to achieve the desired goal. IFTTT, short for “If This Than That,” lets you set it up up one task to activate another automatically and integrates with a wide variety of services. To get a better idea of ​​the differences between the two and which one best suits your needs, we’re going to compare the good and the bad in each.

IFTTT and Workflow have different definitions of ‘automation’

It’s true that IFTTT and Workflow help you automate your life, but really only one app meets the true definition of automation, meaning you don’t have to do anything. That app is IFTTT.

With IFTTT you set up run your “recipes” automatically without even thinking of checking or launching them. You can tell IFTTT to pick you up again every day at 8am or automatically upload your Dropbox photos to Facebook and it will do that for you from now on. You never have to go back to the app for this. However, workflow requires you to choose your “recipe” and run it on demand. If you want to get the lyrics of a current song that is playing, you need to open Workflow and choose the Get Lyrics recipe to start the flow of tasks that can do this for you. For example, it is unable to automatically open lyrics for you when a new song is played. Workflow requires your attention to complete, IFTTT does not.

Workflow can do much more at the same time

IFTTT focuses on just two things with every recipe you make, the “this” and the “that”. This is useful and allows for a wide variety of automated tasks, but essentially limits it to completing one important task per recipe. Ultimately, the goal of Workflow is the same, but it does a lot more to get you there. Take the Pizza Assistant workflow available in the gallery. This would never be possible in IFTTT because it has too many different steps – far more than the two allowed. When you tap your Pizza Assistant in Workflow, it will proceed to search for local pizza restaurants, ask you to choose one, call the place for you, and set a reminder to start choosing up the pizza based on how long it takes to travel there and how long they specified it will take to be ready. That’s more than a dozen steps in one gigantic workflow.

IFTTT works very differently. It’s unable to find pizza places and call them for you, but instead uses most of the power of what third-party services can do. For example, you can have it automatically set a reminder to call a restaurant when you add a new Foursquare location to your to-do list. You can set up one more recipe to tweet the Instagram photo you took with hashtag #pizza. Little by little, these things certainly add up and become useful, especially since you set it up and forget it with IFTTT, but Workflow can still complete more steps at once and is therefore capable of performing more complex tasks. Tip With Workflow you can even add workflows directly to your home screen to start without opening the app. Just tap on it Share icon in a workflow, tap Add to Home Screen and follow the onscreen instructions.

IFTTT can be integrated with more services

Remember how IFTTT gets most of its power from third-party services? That’s the main advantage over Workflow, if not the real automation itself.

Each service then has its own list of options. For example, my trigger for Pocket could be when I add a new item, when I archive an item, a favorite item, or tag an item. Next, I’ll move on to the action that IFTTT automatically starts based on the trigger. All services are here again for something to choose from, meaning there are endless combinations. I could say that every time I favorite an item in Pocket, it should be shared on Twitter. Done. In Workflow, you can choose between a normal workflow and an action extension, so that alone adds some flexibility. It integrates with quite a few services (and wisely suggests them based on what apps you have installed), but seems more geared towards localized tasks.

IFTTT is worlds easier to use

I have absolutely no doubt which of the two apps is the easiest to use. IFTTT is extremely easy to set up up and configure while I found Workflow downright difficult in a number of cases.

Workflow requires that you have a little more programming knowledge than the average consumer probably has. You will save a significant amount of time and stress by simply browsing Workflow’s gallery of pre-made workflows and downloading them for free. While I was through the “Share Most Played Songs, ”I realized I never thought these were the steps it took to share your most played songs when calling a workflow. It feels a bit too much like running code and hoping for the best. There is always a high probability that the workflow you create will not have the desired result because of the way you mixed and matched steps, or maybe left out the steps altogether. IFTTT will almost always produce the desired result as there are only two steps and both are crystal clear in their explanations.

Workflow is $ 5 more expensive … than $ 0

This is a pretty easy one, but let’s break it down anyway. Workflow costs $ 4.99 in the App Store. While the number features it offers the potential to be extremely powerful, it doesn’t support as many services as IFTTT, can’t run tasks in the background or on repetitive, and isn’t nearly as easy to use. IFTTT is completely free and on top of what it can do, it can do everything on more devices – iOS, Android, and the web at The workflow is limited to iPhone and iPad. IFTTT is the better value.

Winner: IFTTT

Workflow proves to be extremely powerful by dividing dozens of tasks into one or two taps, but this is about which app can better automate your life. In that regard, the winner is IFTTT. There are incredible options to set up up a recipe and forget it. IFTTT just quietly works its magic in the background. However, both apps serve slightly different purposes, so if you’re looking for something with more on-demand capabilities from Workflow, it’s still worth checking out. Otherwise, IFTTT will at least make your life easier in some way.

IFTTT vs Work­flow: Comparison and Review: benefits


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