Automate Your Phone with Tasker
I’ve been using Tasker since I got an Android phone several years ago. To be honest I haven’t blogged about it before because it was such a pain to take screenshots with Android. That’s changed with Jellybean and with the recent 4.0 Tasker update I thought I’d finally break down and write about it!
- First things first. Tasker is Android only. Sorry iPhone.
- Tasker isn’t free. Its a whopping $7.00 and there is a 7 day trial. (on sale for $1.99)
- Tasker isn’t ’easy’. You DO have to RTFM and tinker a bit to get things working.
So what is Tasker?
Tasker is an application for Android which performs Tasks (sets of Actions) based on Contexts (application, time, date, location, event, gesture) in user-defined Profiles, or in clickable or timer home screen widgets. This simple concept profoundly extends your control of your Android device and it’s capabilities, without the need for ‘root’ or a special home screen.
What can you automate with Tasker? Almost anything you can imagine. There is a long list of ideas on the Tasker wiki.
- AutoSync only when on WiFi
- Turn WiFi on at Home
- Run task before application launches
- Automatic call forwarding when in a location/context
Lifehacker also has a great series of blog posts on Tasker.
As the description above states - Tasker performs ‘Tasks’ based on ‘Contexts’.
There are tons of Tasks available:
And usually within each Task group there are many Tasks:
Here are the Net tasks, allowing you to control various network related things on your phone:
Tasker also has some Task related logic commands so you can do if/else type logic:
Once you have defined WHAT you want to do (your task), you then define a profile or context WHEN or WHY you want that task to run:
You can see in the screenshot above the main contexts:
- Application (do something based on application)
- Day (do something on a certain day)
- Event (do something based on event, for example a missed call)
- Location (do something based on a location, for example when you are home)
- State (do something based on a state, for example when you plugin headphones)
- Time (do something based on time)
You can of course combine these so you could combine location + time to open your podcast player if you are at home and it is lunch time.
Tasker has recently received a much needed facelift with the 4.0 release so many of the ‘recipes’ out there now may need some tweaking, especially if they have screenshots but with some tinkering you should be able to adapt things to the new interface.
One thing I have noticed is that Google has restricted access to some controls in recent Android releases.
I used to have a task that would put my phone in Airplane mode in the evening to save battery. This is no longer an option as Google has restricted access to Airplane mode for ‘security reasons’. Huh?
There are also other similar apps that are easier to use but may not be as powerful as Tasker:
You can of course run multiple applications. Search the Google Play store for even more.
Automating your phone is just another way to simply you life and free up useful time which you could use for learning more code or watching reruns of Firefly.