Smartphones have become so complex with every iteration that, at times, it feels overwhelming to do repetitive or menial tasks. I am talking about tasks like turning off the WiFi, or setting the profile to Vibrate Mode during meetings, or how about sending a text message to your wife when you arrive at the office. What about those times you found your battery almost drained for failing to turn off your GPS or data the night before? These are just some of the things on the top of my head right now, but you get the gist. We would probably be better off if we had these repetitive tasks out of the way right? What if I told you that you can make your smartphone “smarter” by using an automation app.
How does automation apps work?
Usually, an automation app operates on a simple formula;
Met Conditions -> Perform Actions = 1 Rule
If a Condition or conditions are met, an automation app takes control of your smartphone and performs the Action(s). A condition with an action is what we refer to as a Rule.
The goal here is to create as much Rules as needed. Think about the tasks you want to automate and under what condition. I will give you an example. Say, between 1:00 am to 6:00 am, you probably aren’t using your smartphone, and that you want the WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS turned off to save your battery. You can set a condition in the app that if the time is 1:00 am, Turn Off the WiFi AND Bluetooth AND GPS. Then, create a condition that by 6:00 am, Turn On the WiFi AND Bluetooth. These are examples of a single condition that will perform multiple actions. An example of a Rule.
Other examples of Rules I have for you are;
- If time is 8:30 am (Condition) -> Set profile to Vibrate Mode (Action)
- If time is 6:00 pm (Condition) -> Set profile to Loud Mode (Action)
- If WiFi is turned off (Condition) -> Kill Facebook AND Viber (Actions)
- If connected to a Wifi Network (Condition) -> Launch Facebook And Viber (Actions)
- If battery is less than 5 percent (Conditions) -> Send SMS to Wife “My battery is almost empty, too bad I forgot to bring my powerbank, please do not worry”. (Action)
The key here is creativity. Then, of course you need an automation app that can support these ideas. There are a couple of device automation apps out there. Among the popular ones are Tasker, Llama, IFTTT (If this then that), Automate and AutomateIt. I tried using all of the apps mentioned but stuck with MacroDroid by Arlosoft. The simple reason being is that MacroDroid provides a good number of functions but is also pretty easy to setup. Tasker has more functions but also require more brain cells to burn. IFTTT is visually pleasing but has less supported functions (for now). AutomateIt is also a good automation app and also easy to setup. I was actually using AutomateIt before I switched to MacroDroid.
It doesn’t take a genius to setup MacroDroid. Initially you have five (5) Macros (Rules) to work with. You simply set the Triggers (Conditions) then the Actions then save it as Macros (Rule).
Here is a quick tutorial for ya. I’m going to create a rule that will tell my phone to send monthsary greets every 22nd of the month. Men, pay close attention.
- Install MacroDroid from the Playstore. Once installed press Add Macro.
2. Select a Trigger (Condition). Remember a Trigger is the condition the phone looks out for. In this example it’s going to be “Day of the Week/Month”.
Each trigger has different configurations. Configure accordingly.
3. Select the Action that will be perfomed. I will choose the “Send SMS” action.
Optionally, you can set a Constraint. A Constraint is a condition that will stop the phone from performing the Action. For this one no constraint is applicable.
4. Save the Macro or Rule.
That’s it. I just showed you how to configure a Macro (Rule). Now it’s your turn. You’ll probably spend some time learning the right triggers, actions, and constraints combinations, but the possibilities are endless. It can be quite addicting too. You can share your Macros to the growing community as well as use uploaded macros, accessible within the app itself. You can configure more than five (5) Macros by buying the full version of MacroDroid (around 2 USD). Do note however some triggers and actions require root access.
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