It’s no secret that Tasker for Android is the alpha and omega of the way I use my phone, and as a result, I write about it a lot. Perhaps too much. But really, if a single app can do the work of 100 apps that do one thing, there’s reason there to talk about it 100 times. Not everyone is convinced that it’s a necessary thing to sit down and learn, and as Aaron correctly points out, the fact that you do have to learn it in a way you don’t have to with most other apps means that it’s not necessarily worth it at all if you just need that one thing.
If you do need to do more than one thing, it quickly adds up. To find out exactly how much it adds up to, I activated the run log function in Tasker on my phone, left it for a day, and then turned it off. The total number of actions run in that day was 474, and it was on a day where I didn’t make any changes to Tasker that would clog up the list with debug use.
474 is a large number, but we’re talking about actions here, not tasks. An action in Tasker is, well, an action – a single thing it does. As an example, I have a task that flashes a clickable Gmail logo on my screen for a few seconds when I get an email, as long as I’m at home, not sleeping, and not using the phone right then. The task consists of multiple actions that make the logo pop up, time its existence, and then destroys it again. I receive quite a lot of email while the conditions listed are valid, meaning that it runs multiple actions multiple times.
I won’t go into detail on which actions ran on that specific day, as I’ve explained tasks I use in great detail before. The three that were responsible for the most actions run however was my sleep mode, article archive system, and Gmail notification. My sleep mode profile is very complex, doing several dozen individual tasks each consisting of up to several actions every time it’s activated or deactivate, which happens automatically on plugging in/out the phone from AC power.
The article archive system is triggered by a single button that I press when I’m done writing articles for the day, and it runs literally over 130 actions that cut my author article list into tiny pieces and then archives everything for future reference.
The Gmail notifier mentioned above is simple in what it does compared to the other two, but the fact that it runs so many times in a day is what makes it perhaps the single biggest contributor to the number 474. It’s also one of the features I would miss the most if I ever had to give up Tasker, and since it’s essentially an alternative to a notification LED, I can see why people find that specific hardware feature so useful.
Personally, I find the device automation that is possible with Tasker and similar apps to be a much bigger deal than the advances in Android itself since 2.3, many times over. I actually sat down and checked how many times the actions that ran on this particular day were triggered by me directly, and that number was less than 10. Sleep mode is activated by whether or not AC charging is active, the article archive system is triggered with a single button press, Gmail and Gtalk notifications by incoming notifications, and things like setting screen brightness and notifying me of any shopping list items when leaving the house is 100% automatic based on WiFi connectivity.
You need to interact more with your device to make a Google search than what I did to make 474 individual actions trigger, and that is why I love Tasker. I like tinkering with my device as much as the next guy, but I love it even more when doing so is optional.