Automating with Tasker – Part 1

Automating with Tasker

Why Automate with Tasker?

Automating isn’t for everyone, especially if you have an iPhone. If you are already an avid Android user you may have heard about it, but maybe you don’t know what you’d use it for. Well for those of you who haven’t, here is the breakdown. Tasker is an automation app for Android, duh, that allows you to invoke actions based on conditions. If you have a newer Motorola phone with “Moto Assist” or “Smart Actions” then you are already semi-familiar with this kind of thing. Basically, it allows you to say if THIS then do THAT.

Examples Please…

So now that you know the general principle of how it works, let’s see a couple use cases.

  • IF I say “Toggle Bluetooth” THEN Toggle Bluetooth Setting
  • IF I say “I’m on my way” THEN Text Message my wife my GPS location
  • IF Time is 10:00 AM THEN Text Message my wife the Love Quote of the Day
  • IF my GPS location is home THEN Turn my Hue lights on

These are just a few EXTREMELY SIMPLE tasks that you can setup. The more you delve into it, the more you will realize that the possibilities are endless and you will want to automate every repetitive task you take on!

How to Install

To install simply click on the link below to be taken to the Google Play Store or you can always search “Tasker” on the Play Store app on your phone.

Open Google Play Store

Plug-In Pandemonium!

Out of the box the app is very powerful in and of itself. However, you will notice that you don’t have control over some seemingly basic functionality such as voice commands, system settings, and notifications. Never fear, plug-ins are here!

  • AutoApps – A suite of apps for accessing more in depth controls and actions, a must have.
  • App Factory – Export your tasks to a stand-alone app. Great for sharing automations with the others, even if they don’t have tasker.
  • Secure Settings – This app gives you more fine grain control over your phone settings.

These apps are only the tip of the iceberg. Tasker has tons of third-party integrations that just empower you more and more.

Rooting FTW!

After playing for a while you may notice that there are restrictions to what you are allowed to do in your tasks and profiles. In some of the plug-ins you may also notice that certain options are greyed out or red. This is because on any Android device you are not actually an administrator of the device. This helps keep you protected from viruses, but can be a real downer when it comes to accessing functionality like airplane mode. Luckily, most Android devices can be rooted fairly simply. Just Google “[DEVICE NAME] Root” and you will be on your way to gaining full control of your device.

A Brief Overview

Upon opening the app you will notice 3 main tabs as outline below.

  • Profiles – The IF part of your condition. This allows you to setup what will trigger a task to run.
  • Tasks – The THEN part of your condition. This is the actual functionality that will run.
  • Scenes – This is an interface builder to be used with your tasks. Not used often for me, but very powerful when necessary.

So as a quick use case, you would setup a profile for Time = 10:00 AM and then that would execute a task called “Quote of the Day” that would send a quote via text message to a recipient of your choice.

Wrapping Up

Okay, now that we have your device setup and ready, this would be the part where I elaborate on how to actually setup tasks in Tasker. Rather than drone on in text or try to reinvent the wheel I feel it best to refer a good intro by Android Authority that will explain each peice and how to setup your first task.