Android customization – control music, send SMS and more from your Notification bar with Tasker
Welcome back to our Android customization series, last week we kept it short and sweet going over a simple display timeout controlling app called KeepScreen. In its simplest form, you choose a selection of apps, when those apps are open, KeepScreen prevents your display from turning off, no frills, no gimmicks.
I had promised that this week we would go over alternative file transfer apps to WiFi File Transfer Pro, I must break that promise. In order to provide the best coverage of the best options, I simply need more time to put it all together, I promise it is still in the works and will be out as soon as it is ready. For today then, we’d like to look as something as simple as KeepScreen, but even more powerful – embedded Tasker Task triggers in your Notifications bar.
The latest release of Tasker was a big one, it included hundreds of new features and updates. One of the most powerful additions is embedded action buttons in the permanent Tasker Notification. You likely noticed this already, the default single button is ‘Disable’, which is a terrible choice in my mind, why would I ever want to turn Tasker off?!?
Let’s quickly look at controlling up to three Tasks and placing them in the Notification bar. Alternatively, if you are absolutely against having these buttons in your Notifications bar, I’ll show you how to turn the feature off as well.
Before we get started
Although I feel you can get your money’s worth out of Tasker, it is sill $2.99 in the Google Play Store. You will also need a device running Android 4.4.x or greater, as this is where Google introduced actionable notifications.
Placing Tasker actions in your Notification bar
Before we place any actions in the Notification bar, we’ll need to decide which actions to add. You’ll need to decide for yourself what actions you need available from anywhere, to be performed by a click. Personally, I listen to a lot of music, and have need to stop music playback many time throughout my day. Easy enough, let’s build that Task.
Open up Tasker and navigate to the Tasks tab.
Tap the “+” button to create a new Task.
Provide your Task a unique and concise name. I will call mine “StopMusic“.
Tap the “+” button to add a new action.
Choose Media Control.
Under CMD change Next to Stop.
(There is an alternative Music Stop command parallel to Media Control above, although it is easier to implement, I found that it fails to actually stop my music. Feel free to try it out and let me know how it goes for you.)
The remaining options are fine as they are, tap your system Back button to confirm.
That is all you need to do. I have chosen to add a quick flash notification, just an old habit. To do so yourself, add another action, choose Alert, choose Flash, enter your Text, I just put “Music Stopped”, then back out to save and exit.
The media control action should work for most of your audio and video content, not just your music. I’ll admit that it appears to no longer stop my video playback through MX Player, but it may for you.
Moving on, we now have a Task ready to go into our Notification bar.
Open Tasker and tap the triple dots “hamburger” menu button in the top right corner.
Navigate to the Monitor tab.
Right at the top should be a section called General, a few items below is the option Notification Action Buttons.
For those that absolutely do not want any buttons in their Tasker Notification, simply tap the checkbox to turn it off.
For the rest of us, we can add up to three buttons. Go ahead and tap the magnifying glass button to add a Task.
Choose your desired Task. My Task was named “StopMusic“.
(On my phone, I’ve also added a Display Rotation toggle and Tesla flashlight toggle. On my Tablet I’ve added a display brightness control.)
Tap your system Back button to confirm and exit.
You may need to close and re-open Tasker to finalize the changes, but your buttons will soon populate in your default permanent Tasker notification. Now, no matter where you are or what you are doing, your few items will be there.
As you may have guessed, you could use the three slots for different music playback controls, turning Tasker into a music player. As is true of Tasker, the sky is the limit here, if you can imagine Tasker controlling it, you can get it into the Notification bar.
Perhaps you would like to configure a Task that fires off a SMS message to your family telling them you’ve left work and are headed home. I always forget to do so before getting behind the wheel of the car, since texting and driving is a bad thing, one tap from the notification bar to send a pre-formed message is extremely handy.
For next Thursday in our Android customization series, we’d like to take a little closer look at controlling display brightness. We’ve previously looked at an app called Lux, which is super powerful, but perhaps a little complicated at first glance. I’ve got a much simpler solution on deck for you, best of all, it integrates with Tasker and it’s free – but you’ll have to check back next week to see what it’s called.
While Tasker itself is a robust, and somewhat complicated, system, adding buttons to the Notification bar that trigger your created Tasks is a simple things. While the goal with Tasker is to also setup Profiles that make for a truly automated flow, these few things into the Notification bar can be super important to how you use your device.
What Tasks have you chosen to put into your Notification bar?