Android is basically about customization and making your phone work for you, and nothing exemplifies that quite as well as Tasker… except maybe Nova Launcher actually. Tasker is an automation app that also lets us mere mortals work a little Android magic. Yes, magic. Magic is science we don’t really understand yet, and that makes it a perfect analogy for Tasker, as really the biggest obstacle the app faces is folks not knowing what is Tasker, how it works, and also just what it can do for you.
What is Tasker and how to use it to create a task?
Tasker is the most complete way in order to automate commands on Android. It is not really complex to use it at a basic level, although to take full benefit of it -which is a lot- you guys have to spend some time.
- It is basically a paid application, currently priced at $3,49, although you guys have a seven-day trial version available on its website.
- Note that Tasker itself is only the main engine, however, there are other support apps that add more features. That you can download from Google Play (note: some have to be purchased separately). There are dozens of them as well:
- Tasker Settings: You guys can use this to be able to change more system options from Tasker.
- AutoVoice: You can use this plugin for Tasker in order to add voice control functions.
- AutoInput: You can also use this to simulate tapping or typing text with Tasker.
- AutoCast: You guys can use this to communicate along with Chromecast.
- Auto-notification: You can also use this option to interact and create notifications.
- AutoLocation: You guys can use this option to give Tasker the ability to recognize if you are walking, cycling, or in a vehicle, as well as in which location.
- AutoShare: You can use this to interact along with the Android share menu.
- Tasker App Factory: You can use also this tool to export projects as standalone apps.
How does Tasker work?
The first time you guys open Tasker it’s normal to get confused a bit. There are four main tabs and not much explanation about what each one actually does. Also, this is a personal opinion, however, the names of some of its main pillars are not entirely explanatory and provide a bit of room for confusion. These tabs are actually:
- Profiles: Tasker profiles are configurations that link tasks to contexts actually.
- Contexts: They are actually the conditions for the execution of tasks. Such as, at a certain time, at a certain location, as well as after the end of a countdown.
- Tasks: These are basically the actions that are carried out. A task can carry out many actions.
- Scenes: This is a user interface generated from Tasker that you guys can use to display information for actions after tapping a button or similar.
- Variables: Names for changing values that you guys might want to use somewhere in your tasks, like the time or battery level.
Create a profile on Tasker?
Let’s start with creating a really basic Tasker configuration that sets the mode to do not disturb and also lowers the screen brightness at night.
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This may also be done from the profiles page via tapping on the floating button. First, you must select a profile name. Select the context or condition from the drop-down list. Then click on Time.
On the next screen, select when the profile begins and ends. There is no confirm button, so just use the back button to continue the process.
Create a task on Tasker?
- The profile you guys just created does absolutely nothing, and so Tasker proposes you create a new task directly. Tap on the button to begin the procedure, which actually begins with inputting a name for the task, however, this is not required.
- This will take you to an empty window for the task, so the first step is to use the floating button to add the first action. They are organized by category, so to adjust the brightness you first need to enter Display and then Screen Brightness. Then you can adjust the brightness to the desired value, which in our case is zero.
- You can add many actions to the same task, and as an example, we are now going to activate the Do Not Disturb mode. This is located in Audio Settings – Do not disturb. Tasker needs permission in order to access notifications to be able to perform this action.
- Head back to the previous window and you will see that your two actions have been added to the task. If you guys want, you can test if they work correctly via tapping the play button. If you want to make any adjustments, click on the action to edit it.
- Let’s now say we set the starting time at 8 PM and went into Do Not Disturb mode correctly, however, what happens after that? Nothing, unless we configure it also. For this, we need an exit task, something just like a way to return the system to the way it was when the condition is no longer met.
Create an exit task on Tasker?
To add an exit task, head back to the list of profiles and click on the one you just created. You will then see the Add Exit Task option, which you should tap and then select the task you created earlier. The difference is that the output task will then run it in reverse, i.e. it will turn off the Do Not Disturb mode and then return the brightness to the way it was.
Now all you guys have to do is wait to see that everything works correctly. If you guys don’t want to wait until the evening, then change the time to start a little earlier. So that you can check if everything works perfectly. If everything went well, then the brightness will be reduced and the Do Not Disturb mode will be activated at the set time.
The limits of Tasker
Tasker can do so much, but at the same time, there are some really grey, really hazy limitations to what Tasker can do. What you can actually do varies from phone to phone and some of the cooler examples you’ll see need a rooted phone. Beyond devices, the biggest limitation Tasker can face is your time and how much of it are you willing to spend to do this stuff? I’ve spent weeks fine-tuning my precious alarm after I switch phones as well. However, that alarm also gives me something nothing else on Android can.
That’s actually the heart of Tasker. It can work Android magic if you’re willing to take the time in order to understand the logistics and the programming behind it. That magic tests the limits of Android and also the limits of user ingenuity, and if you’re willing to suspend your disbelief, then it can leave you in awe.