16
Mar
hi-256-0-7e588f6a3ee55cef29cf22c1e9e3c6d07093960e
Last Updated: July 24th, 2011

If your Android device relies on your interaction with it in order to do things, you're seriously missing out. There are several options that allow you to cut the cord, so to speak. The popular options have long been Locale and Tasker but, as you can see from their market pages, you have to be fiscally dedicated to the tasks they perform. In addition to that, these applications (Tasker especially) can be somewhat (read extremely) intimidating in the level of control they give you and the sheer volume of options at your disposal. If you're looking for something a bit simpler but still really powerful as well as significantly more free, AutomateIt might be just the tool you need.

AutomateIt or, as I like to call it, Tasker Jr., is a much simpler, free-as-in-beer phone automator that still provides an astounding amount of functionality. Currently, AutomateIt supports these functions:

Triggers:

  • Any SMS Trigger - Triggers on SMS received
  • SMS With Text Trigger - Triggers on receipt of SMS Message with a specific text
  • Battery Level Trigger - Triggers on a defined battery level
  • Bluetooth State Enabled/Disabled
  • Bluetooth Device Connected - Any device or specific device
  • Incoming/Hang Call - Any call or from a specific contact
  • Headset Plugged/Unplugged Trigger
  • Location Trigger - Arriving/Exiting a defined region
  • External Power Connected/Disconnected
  • Screen On/Off
  • Wi-Fi Enabled/Disabled
  • Connected to Wi-Fi network - Any network or a specific network
  • Time Trigger - recurring time events
  • Background data settings changed - enabling or disabling the background data setting
  • GPS Enabled Changed - GPS Activated/Deactivated and started/stopped looking for current location
  • SMS from contact
  • USB Connected/Disconnected Trigger
  • Airplane Mode Activated/Deactivated

Actions:

  • Notification - Shows notification on notification bar
  • Play Sound - Plays selected sound
  • Set Bluetooth State - Enabled/Disabled
  • Set Sound Mode - Normal/Vibrate/Silent
  • Set Volume - Sets volume of all streams or a specific stream
  • Set Wi-Fi Adapter State - Enabled/Disabled
  • Start Application
  • Enable/Disable other rules
  • Vibrate action
  • Enable/Disable Data Connectivity action - notice that this does not change your APN or background data state but actually cancels the data connectivity
  • Kill Application [Requires Root]
  • Launch Home Screen

That's  lot of stuff. There's no way I can demonstrate all of that functionality but I can, however, set up an example profile or two to show you exactly how easy it is, which, it turns out, is very.

snap20110316_093734

The main screen is very blank the first time you run the app. Fix that by tapping the "Add Profile" button on the top-left. I'm going to make a profile that turns off my Wi-Fi when my battery dips below 20%.  You are presented with two drop-downs in the profile creation screen, and they have lots of options. The first one is the trigger, or condition you want to facilitate an action, and the second is the actual action you want to be performed.

snap20110316_093828 snap20110316_093836

For our purposes, my trigger is going to be battery level and my action is going to be "Set Wifi State". I'd also like to have a descriptive description:

snap20110316_093958

Now we have the general sketch of our profile drawn out. We can now hit those screwdriver/wrench buttons to configure exactly what we want to happen within those constructs. It's time to tap those buttons.

snap20110316_093925 snap20110316_093934 snap20110316_093919

This part is fairly self-explanatory. Select the specific options you want. Nailed it. Now just save everything and, when the battery drops below 20%, my WiFi will turn off. Done and done. That was easy, wasn't it? That's just the tip of the iceberg, though. As you saw in the list above, there is a way more that we can do here, including location based profiles, which are all the rage.

snap20110316_094219

Location tasks take a bit more setup but are totally worth it.

One big plus for AutomateIt is that you can (without digging through tons of intense menus) set the sample rate as well as have different sample rates for different profiles.

snap20110316_094324 snap20110316_094410

You can set up an unlimited number of profiles. That's a lot. Like I said, I won't even try to show you everything this app can do because I write articles, not novels. If you've found that the other automation apps are just a bit too complicated or give you buckets of functionality that you'll never need, you definitely won't be missing out on anything with AutomateIt.

For the price of free, this app is absolutely amazing. It does everything without any bugs (that I could find) and it is significantly simpler than Tasker - SIGNIFICANTLY simpler. If you need your phone to adopt some autonomy, you can't go wrong here. 4 out of 5 just because it requires root to kill applications, which is something that makes me somewhat uneasy, as no other task-killing application needs that.

You can get AutomateIt for free right here:

Brad Ganley
An Android power user, Brad consumes most of his free time with unhealthy amounts of cell phones and cell phone related things when he isn't playing with his son. Brad is also an avid movie-watcher and tea-drinker.
  • http://www.ShiftShockDesign.com Eric

    As awesome as that is. Tasker does all that an 1000x more. Its $5 but WELL worth the money. Plus has ridiculously easy walkthroughs and downloadable profiles on their Wiki to make easier for everyone.

    • Brad

      That's true but,honestly, I've been what I would consider a very advanced Tasker user for quite a long time and there are still parts of it that make my head spin. Most people don't neednto spend $5 for functions they'll never use.

    • SiliconAddict

      And also a pain to setup. I tried tasker for half an hour (Before this 15 minute BS return policy.) and found the UI so convoluted that I said screw it and went back to Locale.

      • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

        The Tasker UI changed quite a bit since, maybe you should give it another chance.

    • Davidus

      @Eric I haven't paid for an app yet, so having the ability to automate a lot of the things I do anyway, for free, without having to watch tutorials or walkthrus, is awesome, and no, I've never seen more commas is one sentence before either.

    • Davidus

      @Eric My sincerest of apologies. After a few hours of playing around with AutomateIt, and looking around for more info on Tasker and what they both can do, I now consider AutomateIt to have been my gateway app to the hard stuff.

      You remember how you felt when your parents told you you were going to Disneyland for the first time? That's how I feel when I create a task that I've ALWAYS wished and thought a cell phone should be able to do. Giddy like a school girl.

      Thanks Brad, for the article, and exposing a (fairly) new Android user to a broader view of what my phone is actually capable of. I want to root so bad, but I'm scared to eff up my Epic. Any thoughts? Anyone?

  • SiliconAddict

    While nice I'm not seeing an action to reboot the system which I have setup in Locale through a plugin. Basically I have the phone reboot itself once a week at 3AM on Sunday, just to keep things fresh.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Even better, ROM Manager premium has an option to do automated weekly nandroid backups, which ends up doing the reboot, but also saves a nice snapshot.

      The bad news is that it hasn't worked for me after it's done it 2 times :(

      • Tyler

        Agreed, even better idea. Take 2 seconds out of your life and hit restart. :P

  • mjbjr

    It would be nice if one of the 'actions' was to light up the (Nexus One) trackball light with a specified color and blink rate (available?).

    • Mike Ellis

      Automate It does not control the led or trackball.... Check out Light Flow from the play store for this control.

  • http://muzikant-android.blogspot.com/ Muzikant

    Check out the developer's website for more details at
    http://muzikant-android.blogspot.com/2011/02/automateit-automate-your-android.html

  • Kelvin

    I have a lot of problems with this app...
    For example; if I setup a task that launch the music app when I connect my headset, it doesn't work 9 out of 10 times.
    Only sometimes it works and sometimes the task 'message' shows up, but nothing else happens... Anyone else got this problem, or am I just doing something wrong?

    Also changing Wifi settings based on location hasn't worked for me until now, but this is kinda hard for me to test out, since it's ridiculous to go in and out of my house just to test this out.

  • John

    I don't understand... why even make this app? Its like trying to kill flies with chopsticks. Pick up a flyswatter (TASKER) and get the job done.

    • Simon Belmont

      Not everyone needs the uber in depth-ness of Tasker. AutomateIt fits the bill perfectly for a lot of people who need basic task automation.

      I like this app for what it does. Nice job.

  • Honu

    I'm using "Setting Profiles", take a look at this one, i like it a lot.

  • http://muzikant-android.blogspot.com/ Muzikant

    There is a new Pro version that has several advanced features:
    http://muzikant-android.blogspot.com/2011/05/automateit-goes-pro.html

  • Pat

    hey, does anyone know how to configure the samsung Galaxy S22 with the AutomateIt pro version so the message and caller sound is disabled when the phone is flipped over? I was able to configure with sensor, however it works only if I flipp it over when receiving a call. It doesn't work if the phone is screen down on the table. Any hints?

Quantcast