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How to create an SMS-triggered wake up alarm in Tasker

wake up bj novak - for some reason we don't have an alt tag hereLast month, The Office actor B.J. Novak tweeted about wanting a feature where you could send an SMS with “wake up” to someone, and have it activate their alarm. I only came across it a few days ago, but my immediate reaction was of course pity for the iOS users who actually have to wish for something like this, rather than just sit down and create it in Tasker on Android.

So, well, I sat down and created it in Tasker. It’s extremely easy to do, so to add something extra, I also added the ability to automatically call back or reply with an automated SMS as options for cancelling the alarm. It’s still very easy to do, and here’s how.

Disclaimer: While I have written this article from a beginner perspective, it might still be confusing to those new to Tasker. I really do recommend reading the beginner’s guide before dealing with any other Tasker article. There is however a download link at the end that can help make this usable “out of the box”. 

First off, you need a profile to actually trigger when receiving said SMS. This is easy. Create a new profile, select the Event category, then Phone, then Received Text. You can fill out the Sender and Content field however you like, to customize who can send you an SMS like this (sender) and what phrase triggers it (“wake up” in this case). You can specify multiple options and more advanced filters using Tasker’s pattern matching system. For this example, I just set it so any text containing “wake up” (which also matches WAKE UP) would work.

Next, the task. First, to make sure that the alarm will be played despite volume settings, we start off with an Alarm Volume action from the Audio category, and set that to 7. Next, we need to play a sound. In the Media category, select Play Music, and find whatever audio file you want to use as the alarm sound. Also make sure you specify Alarm as the Stream option for the Music Play action.

Note: It would make sense to use Play Ringtone here, but it seems to be bugged right now, with a standard Stop action not stopping it on my device. As such, we need the ability to use Music Stop. 

Finally, select the Menu action from the Alert category. Fill in the title field with something you want the pop-up to say, like “Wake up alarm activated”. Scroll down to Items, click the + symbol, and then click the Action button that appears. Select Music Stop from the Media category, then fill in the Label field however you want. You can also click the icon to the left of the label field to give it a better icon.

This is all you need to do for the basic SMS alarm functionality. The rest of the article will cover how to get the additional phone back and reply with SMS options.

After that, go all the way out of the task, and add a new task (not a profile). Give it a name that you remember. As the first action, add the same Music Stop action as above. As the second action, find the Call action in the Phone category, and put in %SMSRF as the number. This is the number of the last received SMS, in other words the number of the person who woke you up, unless someone sent an SMS in the seconds between than and you clicking the button. If you want it to auto-dial (rather than just ask you to call), check the Auto Dial option.

Save that task, and create a new task. Once again add Stop Music. Then add the Send SMS action from the Phone category, and fill in %SMSRF as the number. Put in whatever you want the pre-defined message to be in the Message field.

Now go all the way out of Tasker (to update internal task references), then back in, into the original task for the profile, and into the Menu action. Add two new Menu entries using the + button. Select Action for one of them, then the Task category, and Perform Task. Click the magnifying lens symbol next to Name, and find one of the tasks you just created in the list. Go back, give it a label and icon if you want. Repeat with the final Menu entry, for the second task.

That’s it, you’re done!

As with everything else Tasker, this is just one example of how to do it. You can customize it however you want, including completely different options for the Menu.

Final result (I replaced the Send SMS option with a Flash message to avoid replying to myself, and to make it more visual):

Project download:

This file contains all necessary files for the extended version of this, including the custom Menu template I use. You do however need edit the Play Music action and specify your own audio file.

Download link

How to import:

Option 1: Manually place the Sms_Wake_Up.prj.xml file in the Tasker/projects directory. Go into Tasker, long press a project tab (e.g. the house icon), select import, and then Sms_Wake_Up.

Option 2: Open the download link on your phone, and download the file. Open it and choose the Tasker option. Go into Tasker, long press a project tab (e.g. the house icon), select import, and then Sms_Wake_Up.
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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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