(Update: it’s back) Tasker has been pulled from the Play Store

by: Rob TriggsNovember 18, 2015
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Tasker Logo

Update, November 18: Tasker has been reinstated in the Play Store. A Google spokesperson told Android Police that Google “worked very closely with the developer to resolve the situation and ensure that the app was in compliance with our policies.”

Original post, November 17: Popular automation app Tasker disappeared from the Google Play Store this morning and looks to be the latest victim of Google’s sometimes heavy handed policing of its app store. We’re big fans of Tasker’s huge range of possibilities, so seeing the app disappear without warning is a little concerning.

According to the developer, the app has been removed for violating the Developer Programme Policy regarding Dangerous Products, probably for system interference. More specifically, the issue appears related to Doze and App Standby features, which should be used instead of a blanket permission to ignore battery optimizations. Apparently, use of android.permission.REQUEST_IGNORE_BATTERY_OPTIMIZATIONS is only allowed for chat and voice apps. This has been used by Google as an excuse to remove other apps from the store in the past as well.

“Google have removed it, as far as I can see mistakenly since they are complaining about something being in the manifest which is simply not there. In a couple of days, after I’ve got a few thousand complaint emails, they may have gotten round to reading the appeal.” – Pent

While perhaps we could understand Google looking out for user battery life, apparently no version of the Tasker app using the forbidden permission has actually found its way onto the Play Store. A separate beta available for download from the Tasker website contains this function, which seems to have rubbed Google up the wrong way and resulted in a pre-emptive strike.

This isn’t the first time that popular apps have been removed from the Play Store with seemingly very little warning beforehand, and we have to wonder why Google has decided to suddenly shut-down a full app just for a feature included in a beta hosted outside of its store.

If you still want to download the app, you can do so through the Tasker website. Hopefully the issue can be resolved and the app will be reinstated to the Play Store very soon.

  • hitardo

    I guess Google is trying to lose its costumers.
    Because if I cannot download apps I want – it is my decision – I will look for another store.

    • jirokanz

      Or just sideload it. Ho ho ho.

      • hitardo

        Yes, that is what I already do.
        But if Google keeps making this, I will stop downloading from the Play Store.

        Better yet, if Google continues to do this, I will disable the Google Services all together and my phone’s battery will get batter in no time.
        There is no problem for me…

        • Giant

          I’m sure they’re going to care that you stop using their services.

          • hitardo

            No, of course they will not care.
            After all, the Google Services is not the way they make money…

        • mobilemann

          and loose access to google now, google maps, and about 40% of your phones features.

          • hitardo

            I do not use Google Now as it is constantly accessing to my location, and privacy is a big deal to me.
            Google Maps is weaker than the GPS I use for navigation, so…

            The only thing I would miss is YouTube on mobile.

          • mobilemann

            if privacy matters to you, you’re on the wrong platform, and i’m sorry but nothing beats Google maps (i use iOS and i say that). Youtube shouldn’t hold you to anything it’s on every platform. I have an app that downloads the vids for me on iOS.

          • hitardo

            a) Privacy is a problema in every platform. But because it is complicated to avoid it, you certainly should not stop caring about it. You should keep your privacy for your own sake.
            b) Google Maps is very good, but not unbeatable. Specially in each specific country it should exist a better solution, like in Portugal there is MEO Drive. But everything is better than Apple Maps :D
            c) The Youtube app will only work in Android if you have the Google Services enabled, so your argument does not make sense.

          • mobilemann

            comparing privacy on android to any other platform is kind of a joke, considering they run on the money from analytics. But whatever you need man.

            I should have said, in my geographical location nothing beats gmaps, because nothing comes close, but you’re correct in that i have no idea what it’s like for some other countries.

            for c, there’s more than one youtube app.

    • Android is for sure much better than iOS.

      • hitardo

        Yes, I agree.
        I love Android, because of the choice.
        That is why I can install another App Store on Android.

  • Google really needs to sort this out. I’m afraid that if I release my (soon to be completed) Automatic Bloat detecter and Deleter/Disabler they’ll pull it out and put my account in a bad standing. (Automatic as in listing out the bloat for batch deletion)

    Worst of all once they pull it out there is no way to get the same stats. So all the downloads, ratings, reviews are gone. They should temporarily halt the distribution of the app. They’re literally killing an App without giving thr developer a chance to explain. And in this case there was literally no reason for Google to pull Tasker. They really need to get this sorted out.

  • fredphoesh

    Rob, “This has been used by Google as an excuse to remove other apps from the store in the past as well.” is a paranoid statement that isn’t based on fact.

  • fredphoesh

    Besides, to use Tasker you have to have a rocket science degree… downloading an apk from a site is way easier than anything you’ll ever do on Tasker.

  • Trysta

    I was literally waiting until I got home today to download tasker and give it another try. At least there is sideloading but I’d still rather have it in the play store.

  • Great Dude

    I am glad that Tasker is back .That app doesn’t deserve to be pulled off for a small feature.
    I hope Google become even more developer friendly then how now it is.