How to use Tasker

May 1, 2013
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Actions and tasks

Tasks — in case you haven’t noticed in the app’s name — are the heart and soul of Tasker. But, a Tasker task is nothing without actions, which are stuff that your phone or tablet does. Tasks and actions are inseparable.

A “task” in Tasker is a collection of actions performed one after another when the said task is invoked. When you lump several actions into one task, those actions become meaningful and relevant to you as a user because the independent actions appear to serve a common goal (i.e., the task). It may be easier to think of a task as a goal or an end result that can be achieved by one or several actions.

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It may also help to think of a task as a sequenced list of things to do. For instance, you may want to set up a task for sending reminder emails at certain hours of the day. The task for this might include actions for connecting to Wi-Fi or enabling mobile data, composing an email message, sending an email message, and then disconnecting from the network.

Named and unnamed tasks

When you create a task, you usually provide a name for it. For instance, I can create a task for saving battery power. The task might consist of actions to turn off Wi-Fi, GPS, mobile data, Bluetooth, and NFC. Then, I can also make another task for use when I’m outdoors — and aptly name it “Outdoors”; the set might consist of actions like enabling auto brightness, enabling vibration feedback, and setting the ring volume to max.

Naming a task makes the task reusable; you can call up the same task in many different profiles and contexts. At times, though, you don’t need to provide a name for a task, especially for one-action tasks created when you create a profile, shortcut, or widget.

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An example task

To illustrate the concept of tasks and actions more clearly, let’s try actually creating a task. This example task, which we’ll name “Batt Save”, will do the following:

  • disable auto brightness and autosync
  • set brightness level to low
  • set display timeout to a low value
  • disable Wi-Fi, mobile data, haptic feedback, GPS, and Bluetooth

(In another article on Android Authority, you can also read more tips and tricks on how to extend your Android’s battery life.)

Here’s how to set up all those actions in one “Batt Save” task:

  1. Create a new task, as follows:
    1. Open the Tasks tab.
    2. Tap the Add New Task button at the lower-right corner of the screen.
    3. Type a name for the new task. In this example, use “Batt Save.”
    4. Tap the checkmark button to save the new task. You’ll see the Task Edit screen.
  2. Disable auto brightness, as follows:
    1. On the Task Edit screen, tap the Add New Action button (plus icon) at bottom of screen.
    2. Tap on Display > Auto Brightness. Change the value of Set to “Off”. Tap the Back button to return to previous screen.
  3. Set brightness level to a low value (e.g., 25, or even 0), as follows:
    1. On the Task Edit screen, tap the Add New Action button (plus icon) at bottom of screen.
    2. Tap on Display > Display Brightness. Change the value of Level to “0”. Tap the Back button to return to previous screen.
  4. Set display timeout to a low value (15 seconds, maybe), as follows:
    1. On the Task Edit screen, tap the Add New Action button (plus icon) at bottom of screen.
    2. Tap on Display > Display Timeout. Change the value of Secs to “15”. Tap the Back button to return to previous screen.
  5. Turn off or disable various battery-eating services, as follows:
    1. On the Task Edit screen, tap the Add New Action button (plus icon) at bottom of screen.
    2. Change the value of Set to “Off” in the locations listed below. Remember to tap the Back button to save the action and return to the action list.
      1. Net > WiFi
      2. Net > Mobile Data
      3. Audio > Haptic Feedback
      4. Misc > GPS
      5. Net > Bluetooth
      6. Net > Auto-Sync

You now have a task named “Batt Save”. You can run the task manually if you want. Or, better yet, you can link it to a context/trigger (more about this later). You can even share this task to other people in the form of an APK file that can be installed on other Android devices. Just export the task as APK file (see next section about exporting tasks).

Importing or exporting a task

To import a saved task into Tasker, just tap the Tasks tab. Then, select Import from the menu, browse for the XML file, and tap to import it.

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To export a task, long-tap on the task name. Tap the Menu button, then select Export. You can export a task as an APK file or as an XML file.

Deleting a task or an action

To delete a task, long-tap on a task name on the tasks list, then tap the Trash icon.

To delete an action, open the task containing the action, tap-hold on the action’s icon at the right side of the action name, then drag-drop the action name on the Trash icon at the bottom of the screen.

Rearranging actions in a task

To move an action up or down a list of actions, just tap-hold on the action’s icon at the rightmost side of the action name, and drag-drop the action name to its new location.

Running a task manually

Open the Tasks tab. Tap on the task to be run; the Task Edit screen opens. Tap the Play button at the bottom of the screen.

Creating Tasker shortcuts/widgets

Tasks can also be manually run through shortcuts or widgets. Just place a Tasker Task widget, or Tasker Task shortcut, or even a Task Timer widget (which has a countdown timer) on your homescreen. Then, select the task to associate with it.

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Once the widget or shortcut is in place, you can run its associated task by tapping on the icon just like you’d normally do with any app.

Now that you know how to set up tasks, you can make them execute automatically by associating them with triggers (known in Tasker as “contexts”). You’ll find out how to do that in the next section.

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