We’ve given you a brief tour of the different control panels that Tasker has. Now let’s make our first Tasker task! And it’s about time!
I’ll show you how to make a simple task and, in so doing, get you familiarized with the Tasker programming process.
Our first task: make your phone automatically go to mute when it’s placed face-down.
Now I know what you seasoned Android users might be saying. “That’s already a standard feature on current Android phones!” And you are right. But not everyone has it, and it makes for a simple starter exercise. So if you happen to have an older Android phone, having Tasker plus this task gets you up to speed!
So let’s begin.
Head to the Profiles tab of Tasker. Once there, click on the big green plus button at the bottom of the screen. This creates a new profile.
Give your profile a name, say, “Facedown” (or whatever you want). Click on the green check mark to okay it.
Now you’re gonna be staring at a First Context menu, like so:
Don’t panic. The menu is just asking you what the trigger would be for the action. There are many possible triggers. You got Applications (an app doing something), time (a particular time of day being reached), day (a particular day being reached), Location (a specific coordinate being reached), State (lots of stuff are found here), and Event (something happening to the phone).
There’s way too much stuff in each of these for us to explain in detail, but if you’re an avid tinkerer, you’ll probably figure out much of them. Feel free to navigate and browse around, using your phone’s Back button to get back.
But hey, remember that we want the phone to do something when you flip it face down. Being face down is a State. So click on the State option. This will bring you to…
Ooh. It’s like opening a bag of goodies. I mean, look at that. If you’re a gearhead enough, you’d correctly surmise that Tasker allows you to monitor stuff like your phone’s battery level, whether or not your phone’s plugged into the power supply, what apps are open, and a bunch of other stuff. But that’s for future reference or for you to explore on your own. In the meantime, let’s focus on our current task. Face down, right? That would be via the Sensor menu. So click on Sensor. This brings you to…
Aha! There you go. The Sensor Action options! It gives you access to the different stuff that your phone can sense. In the above image, Tasker can help you monitor light levels, magnetic fields (!), pressure, orientation and proximity. Oh, but see the asterisk next to pressure? You’ll see an asterisk whenever a sensor is not available on your particular phone. Just keep that in mind.
Now being face down is an orientation issue, so click on Orientation. This will lead you to an intuitive menu:
Tasker tries to keep the programming as “conversational” as possible. You can read the screen above as saying “Orientation is Face Up.” But of course, since we want to make it do something when the orientation is face down, click on the “Is” menu to choose “Face Down.” (You’ll notice other orientations in the menu as well, including “Upside Down,” “Left Side” and the like.) And then click on the green check mark.
Now that you’ve told Tasker what to watch out for (i.e. the phone being face down), the next step would be to tell Tasker what to do when that happens. That’s why the next menu is called Task Selection:
If you have a spanking new Tasker, chances are that you won’t find anything in this menu. I just happen to have a lot of tasks already lined up because I’ve been using mine for a while, that’s all. But what’s important is to find and click the “New Task” option. This will bring you to the New Task screen:
Giving your task a name is optional, but it’s good practice to give it one just so you won’t be perplexed in the future if you bump into your task and forget what it’s all about. So let’s give our new task the name “Facedown” (yes you can give it the same name as your Profile, if you’re as unimaginative as I am).
Now comes what can possibly be the most disconcerting part of Tasker if you’re a programming newbie… mainly because you’re faced with a blank screen:
But this shouldn’t really faze you. All you have to do is to keep your eye on the ball and remember what you’re here for — namely, making your phone go mute when it’s face down. So all we gotta do is find the action that makes your phone go mute.
So click on the plus button near the lower left corner. This will open up yet another whole big bag of goodies…
WHOA! Look at all of those goodies! These are all the stuff that Tasker can control on your phone! Again, we’re not gonna explain everything here because it will take us until next year to do so. But a glance tells you that you can control stuff like your phone’s audio, what media to play, what file to open, and others.
Again, keeping our eye on the ball, we want to mute the phone. So that probably goes under Audio Settings. So click on that and…
Again, eye on the ball: we want to mute the sound. So you can consider either Ringer Volume or, perhaps more straight to the point, Silent Mode. I’m going for Silent Mode. Click on that and…
This kind of a menu should be familiar to you by now. Again, the context here is that you want your phone to go into silent mode when it’s flipped down. So you’ll want to set Mode to On. Or Vibrate (the other option), which will be useful if you want your phone to be quiet but vibrate if it’s flipped down. Your choice. Click the green check mark and… your task is done!
Now click the green check mark in the Task Edit screen. And voila! Your project is complete!
Congratulations! You’ve just made your first Tasker task! If you’ve managed to internalize the steps that we’ve used here, you are on your way to making ever more challenging projects!
In our next installment, I’ll show you how to make your very own widget button. That’s not as boring as it sounds: you can do powerful things with a smartphone button that you create yourself!
The Tasker Primer so far…
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