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Lifehacker: The Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, and Better, Third Edition by Gina Trapani, Adam Pash

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Hack 80: Automate Android Functions with Tasker

Level Advanced

Platform Android

Cost About $6

Although mobile phones introduce many new conveniences to your life, they also afford ample opportunities in which to embarrass yourself: Forgetting to silence it before a movie, meeting, or class is one of the most common ways to do so. Even if your phone doesn’t ring, you scold your forgetful self and add it to the list of things you have to remember to do repeatedly and, undoubtedly, forget about at your own peril.

Wouldn’t it be nice, though, if your phone were smart enough to silence itself when you walked into your favorite movie theater? Or if it were aware that when you’re driving, it should read your text messages aloud so you’re not tempted to do something irresponsible? Or, more simply, what if it could automatically launch your music app when you plug in your headphones?

The Android application Tasker (https://market.android.com/details?id=net.dinglisch.android.taskerm) is capable of doing all these things, and a great deal more, by enabling you to set up specific actions for your phone to take based on various contexts you define. In the spirit of Chapter 7, “Automate Repetitive Tasks,” this hack explains how to use Tasker to automate common or repetitive tasks on your Android phone.

The Anatomy of a Task

Each automated workflow you set up in Tasker is called a Profile. Profiles consist of two parts: a Context and an Action. The Context defines when a Profile should run; the ...

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