One nifty feature that's been possible on various custom ROMs for some time is the ability to skip forward or back on music players with a long press of the volume buttons, even when the phone is locked and the screen is off. Although similar functionality could be achieved with Tasker using double/triple presses, the exact same feature hasn't been possible on unrooted phones — until now.

As covered by XDA Developers, a new app called SkipTrack from XDA member Cilenco allows you to skip to the next or back to the last track by long-pressing the up or down volume keys, respectively. This is made possible by a "volume key long press" API that came with Android 8.0 Oreo and is now being utilized by developers in this manner. Importantly, it also works while the screen is turned off.

The app may have issues on phones that aggressively kill background processes (like those from Huawei, for example), but should still work to some extent. If you want to install SkipTrack, you'll need to grab the APK from GitHub and also run the following ADB command:

adb shell pm grant com.cilenco.skiptrack android.permission.SET_VOLUME_KEY_LONG_PRESS_LISTENER

If you'd rather install an app that's been vetted by the Play Store, there is an alternative. Next Track has been around a little longer but has also been updated to make use of the same API. Unfortunately, it also involves granting a permission with an adb command if you want to use the long press function, so there's no getting around that. The app walks you through the steps you'll need to take, but proceed with caution if you've never tinkered with your phone in this way before. Recent reviews on the Play Store are a little mixed, so your mileage may vary depending on which phone you're using.

Tasker beta now has volume long press functionality

Never one to be easily outdone, Tasker developer João Dias has already added the ability to long-press the volume buttons on your phone to perform actions like skipping tracks. Not only that, but you can do just about anything with a long press. As shown in the video below, you can even mimic the iOS 'long press volume down to mute' function. Like the other apps in this post, these Tasker actions work when the screen is turned off.

The new feature has just been added to the beta version of Tasker, but it won't be long before it's available in the stable app. A couple of other new features have also arrived in the new beta, including a notification channel info action, as well as some bug fixes. If you want to give it a try, download the Tasker beta here. For more information, read João's Reddit post below.