Automating anything saves a lot of time. This includes automating actions on your Android phone as well. Tasker is one of the most powerful, yet confusing automation applications available for Android devices.
In the guide below, I will take some of the difficulty out of using Tasker. We will go over what features of your Android phone need to be turned on, how to create profiles, tasks and scenes. Also towards the end, I will also give some examples of different profiles and their uses. Let’s get to it.
Getting to Know Tasker
When starting out with Tasker, it can be pretty confusing to figure out how to do something as simple as creating a profile. For starters, it is best for you to first understand the different parts of Tasker.
A task is an action that can be carried out by the phone. It can be something like turning your Bluetooth or Wi-Fi on or off, or sending SMS, reject incoming call or sync data.
A profile is simply a group of tasks that will be run when the profile is activated. Instead of running multiple tasks individually, a profile allows you to group the various tasks together and run them all at once. With a combination of events (such as when the phone rings), the profile can be set to run automatically when the conditions are met. Some examples include changing the screen brightness to the lowest when the clock strikes 7pm, or to adjust the volume of your ringer while at work.
A scene is a graphical user-interface to which tasks can be attached to be run when the user interacts with them. Scene can make up of popup dialogs, menus or even slider. One example of scene usage is when a slider is moved to the extreme right, the associated map element is zoom to the maximum.
Creating a Tasker Profile
Before we start, you will need to allow Tasker to administer your device. On your phone, go to “Settings > Location and security > Device administrators”. Check the box for Tasker.
Start the Tasker app. In the main screen, press the “+” at the bottom. You’ll see a pop-up screen asking you to name your profile.
After you have named your profile, you will be asked to enter the “First Context”. A context, in Tasker, refers to the conditions to be met before a profile is activated. Let say that you have a chosen a time range of 7 – 10pm for the context, the profile (that you are going to choose later) will be activated when the clock hits 7pm and deactivated when it reaches 10pm.
Take some time and look at the different contexts available because this is the starting point for the automation process. You can use an application or a time or location or many other options to initiate an automated action. As an example, I will show you how to set up a profile to turn down your ringer, notification sounds, turn on Pandora and start an alarm application.
Turning down your ringer at a preset time
At the pop-up window, click the time for the context. In the following window, add the approximate bedtime and rise time. Press the green checkmark to advance.
In the next window, you will be asked to add a task. Enter the task area and press the “+” at the bottom left of the window. You will be presented with all the possible tasks, sorted by category.
Start by pressing the “Audio Settings” tab. Select the ringer volume tab.
Set the ringer volume to a lower setting and press the green checkmark. Press the “+” again. Go back into the “Audio Settings” tab and select “notification volume”. Turn this volume down as well and press the green checkmark.
Activating the Pandora and alarm application
Now that we have the ring tone and notification sounds quieted, we will proceed to add the Pandora and alarm applications to the list. From the task edit screen, press the “+” again. This time, select the “App” tab.
In the app action window, press the “Load App” button. Select Pandora (if you have it installed), then click the green checkmark.
Since we don’t want both the applications to load at the same time, press the “+” again follow by the “Task” tab. You will see an option that says “Wait”. Select it and you will see options for milliseconds, seconds, minutes, hours and day. We only need to wait a few seconds for Pandora to start so we will choose 10 seconds and hit the green checkmark. This will give Pandora time to connect to the Internet and start playing.
Next we will repeat the same process, but this time we will select the alarm clock application instead.
Note: If you have a limited data plan, you may want to turn your Wi-Fi on as well so you not eating up your data.
Now we have all of the tasks together, we are ready to give it a try. In the bottom right-hand corner of the task edit window, press the “Play” button. If you have set everything correctly, it will run the tasks in the order you have them laid out.
For this example, I want to add one more context to the profile. Press and hold the original context until a box pop up with an option that says “Add”. Click the “Add” button. Another window will pop up asking you to add a context, in this case, we will press the “State” button -> Power -> Power.
What you should see is an option that says “source” with a drop-down directly underneath. Press the drop-down and choose AC. Press the green checkmark.
What we just did is create the need for the phone to be plugged in to an AC adapter and the time of day to be within a range we specified before the list of actions will complete. You can also add other specific contexts such as the location if you desire.
Here are a few example profiles that you can use to get you started.
GPS on Map Open
- Choose “Application -> Maps”
- “Misc -> GPS -> On”
You can add an “exit task” too. This action will occur when the context is no longer met.
- Misc -> GPS -> Off
Save the profile
Music Popup on Headphone Plugin
- State -> Headset Plugged
- App -> Load App -> Pandora
Save the profile
Turn off Wi-Fi, Mobile Data and GPS when battery is low
- State -> Power -> Battery Level – Choose the lowest battery level on the “To” slider.
- Net -> Wi-Fi -> Off
- Net -> Mobile Data -> Off
- Misc -> GPS -> Off
That is a long read, and I am glad you are still here. Tasker is one of the more complicated applications to get the hang of. If you have followed along, step-by-step and created profiles, you should now have a basic knowledge of how to create other profiles to meet your needs. It may be a bit (what an understatement) confusing initially, but once you get used to it, you can almost automate every single part of your phone.
How have you been using Tasker? Share with us in the comments.