Android Automation with Tasker

After playing a bit with Crafty Apps EU’s Tasker we share with you our first two automation profiles, as we think they are simple enough for starters and no phone should be left without them.

TaskerBefore discussing Tasker (4.6/32586, $2.99), it is worth noting that this is far from being the only app allowing Android automation (we added the rest below, with links to Google Play and we also included the price and rating if you hover over the link). Most of the other apps, however, though some are free (and some more expensive) are not rated as highly by their users (except for Llama) and all seem to be far less popular. The open source SWiP, for instance, has only a 3.8/288 rating. The much simpler and straight-forward IFTTT currently has a 4.1/49200 score (though more than 1000000 installs vs less than ~ for Tasker).

To do anything in Tasker, you start with a Profile, which executes Tasks when certain conditions you define are met. Tasker functionality may be extended with plugins which may or may not be free.

The first profile we added to all our phones takes a photo with the front camera if the wrong password or pattern is entered two times in a row. This require the “Secure Settings” plugin (play-ss), and although the guide we followed (twiki-fiddle) stated that the phone had to be rooted, none of our phones was and it still worked.

  1. Add a Profile "Failed Login Photo"
  2. The First context is "State" -> "Plugin" -> "Secure Settings"
  3. When prompted for a configuration, press the pencil icon and select "Failed Login Attempts" from the Secure Settings screen
  4. Activated Device Administrator (this step not in the original recipe)
  5. Set a value of 2
  6. Press the floppy disk icon on the bottom left to save it
  7. Add a New Task "Take Photo"
  8. Media -> Take Photo
  9. Select the Front Camera
  10. Enter a filename such as "LoginFiddler"
  11. Select "Naming Sequence = Chronological"
  12. Put a tick in "Insert in Gallery" and "Discreet"

A slightly more advanced profile allows recording of all calls (twiki-rec).

For a second profile, we used an older Google Nexus phone that still works, but with “seizures” by which we mean it has hiccups, when it freezes, only to recover in seconds. Doing anything manually is exceptionally time-consuming, but the problem seems to be related solely to the interface – the phone seems quite fine doing things on its own. We have an older account which allows us to use a tablet Data plan, at $100/20GB/year, which around here is the cheapest one can find. Unfortunately, the account is tied to an old style SIM and newer phones use a micro-SIM slot. We need this phone to act as a hotspot whenever we are not in a WiFi range and possibly automate other tasks as well, as we do not want to waste our time with its interface any more.

I first created a Profile to run at boot-up and simply turn on the hotspot, using the WiFi Hotspot plugin (play-wf) and it works. However, my intention is to get this to work far better:

  • On boot up, if no saved WiFi in range, turn off airplane mode if on, start hotspot
  • When charging, turn WiFi on if off; then, if no saved network, turn hotspot on; if saved network, turn on airplane mode, turn on WiFi, (or turn off GPS, BT and data if on) then connect to saved Network

I will be updating this article as I study the resources listed below (gg-wifi, ase-trigger, se-hhspt, ase-prstbkp, ase-ask, twiki-wflck, twiki-wfoff, twiki-c2wf, twiki-bttn, twiki-sync, twiki-wfbatt, twiki-balwfd, twiki-wfct).

*(*This article is unfinished – it was scheduled to appear in the hope that it will be finished before, but since this message is here and until it is removed, the article is to be considered work in progress*)*.

Sources / More info: play-locale, play-tasker, play-condi, play-llama, play-IFTTT, play-MacroDroid, play-MO, play-ap, play-autom8it, play-profile, play-sp, play-autom, play-swip, tskr-trial, tskr-profs, tskr-guides, xda-tguide, play-ss, twiki-fiddle, twiki-rec, play-wf, gg-wifi, ase-trigger, ase-hhspt, ase-prstbkp, ase-ask, twiki-wflck, twiki-wfoff, twiki-c2wf, twiki-bttn, twiki-sync, twiki-wfbatt, twiki-balwfd, twiki-wfct

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