Tasker is the most comprehensive automation app for Android, but it can be a little complicated to set up, especially for beginners. Besides, the service is not free to download.
If you're simply curious to see what automation can do for you, this article explores four more straightforward options that can help you get started with automating actions on your Android device, without asking you to pay from the get-go.
Also read: 7 Project Management Tools Made For Any Team
Price: Free / $5.49
MacroDroid is an automation app with a clean interface that accommodates a feature-rich experience. You can get started simply by clicking on the “Add Macro” button on the homepage and selecting triggers (events on your device that when detected cause the Macro or automation to run) and actions (something your device can do when a Macro runs). You can also set up optional constraints which determine the conditions when a Macro is allowed to run.
The app is a great alternative to the difficult-to-grasp Tasker. Users can select between a pretty extensive amount of triggers covering anything from Connectivity, Date/Time, Location, Sensor, Battery/Power and many more. At the same time, the amount of actions and constraints is also pretty impressive.
If you're new to all of this, you can always check the Templates category which includes a library of pre-made Macros, some of which are quite useful. For example, you can get one that enables you to skip ads on YouTube.
The MacroDroid app offers direct access to a Forum where you can interact with other users of the app. So if ever in doubt, you can reach out on the discussion board.
Note that the app is free to download and install, but it allows users to create a limited numbers of Macros and does not allow access to its full set of features unless you upgrade to the Pro version.
Price: Free / $3.99
Automate is another alternative for those who are just getting started with automating processes on their device. Like the previous entry, this app lets you select triggers that then result in various actions. The service uses a flowchart to display the hierarchy of blocks that comprise the task which makes it ideal for those who are familiar with flow diagrams.
As with the previous service, Automate provides access to a set of preconfigured Flows which you can edit to see the underlying flow diagram. For example, you can get a Flow that turns your Wi-Fi off when you leave your home. These are accessible through the community section, for which you'll need to install a second app on your device.
You can also download several more community-made scripts as well as make your own, if you feel like you are up to challenge. The app is quite comprehensive, and there's a lot you can do with it.
Like MacroDroid, Automate is free to use - up to a point. You have a limit of 30 running blocks. After which, you will need to switch to the Pro version if you want to keep all your Flows running and create more complex diagrams.
Price: Free / $19.99 and up
If your needs lean more toward the professional sphere, then Zapier may be the tool you're looking for. It's perfect for people who use a wide range of business and productivity apps and need a way to connect them all.
Zapier is a web service, so you'll need to access it from a browser. It works using the same core principle as the other two apps we've included in the list, although things are much more simplified here. Users can set up a command using the “If X happens, perform Y” structure, where X and Y are any two apps you may want to connect. Zapier calls these automations “Zaps,” and you can have five of them active at any given time with a free account.
While Zapier does not have a a dedicated Android app, it does offer some mobile functionality. You can use it to pair apps that have mobile equivalents. For example, you can create a Zap that sends a Gmail message out every time you post something new on Instagram. You can decide the contents of that email. Once you've setup your Zap, you can test it out and see if the result is as intended.
Of course, users can also use the Explore option to browse through a large library of Zap templates that might save them the effort of creating a new Zap from scratch.
Price: Free / $3.99
IFTTT is perhaps the most modern-looking automator in our list, on top of being really simple to understand and use. You can get started by tapping on the Create button to create your first “Applet” (automation).
We've included this app in this article because it's a great tool to learn the basics of setting up automated actions. In other words, you won't be able to create more complex structures here, so if you want something more advanced, we recommend checking out the other apps in this list.
IFTTT operates using the “If This, Then That” principle to create an Applet. Users just need to select a trigger and an action from the respective list of options. The app is very social media-oriented and includes robust support for popular apps in the category such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more.
You can always take a sneak peek at what Applets other users have created through the Explore tab. Find the ones that sound interesting and tap Connect to activate any of them on your device. For instance, you can get an Applet that sends a visual and auditory notification for important tasks and events only during the daytime on weekdays.
Before you download this app, however, keep in mind one thing: in the standard (free) version, you can only create three Applets from scratch. On the bright side of things, you can use as many user-made Applets as you wish without switching to the Pro version.
If this article helped you develop a taste for automation, perhaps you'd like to expand your knowledge on the matter by reading about the top five Chrome extensions that automate boring browsing tasks or learn how to use AutoHotkey to automate anything in Windows.
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