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Mastering Tasker - 2: Setting your home zone, introducing entry / exit tasks


Welcome to part 2 of our new feature, 'Mastering Tasker'. In this series of articles, we'll take you through getting the most out of the powerful, versatile but also scary-to-newcomers Tasker application. Today - Setting your 'home zone' and we're going to introduce entry and exit tasks.

If you are new to Tasker I recommend you work through the tutorials in order, part 1 is available in this post.

What today's article covers

Today we're going to talk about the location Context and how this allows you to configure Tasker to do specific things when you are home, work, or any other location you choose. We're also going to introduce entry and exit tasks.

Creating a location based Profile

First of all, let's create our location based Profile for home - you can then replicate this for any other places you'd like to use. Follow the steps below, which i've also captured in screenshots in case you get stuck. ;) To follow these you need to be at the main '3 tabs' screen.
  • Press the green plus icon to create a new Profile.
  • You're prompted for a name at this point - if you don't put one in, it will be automatically created for you. Let's use 'Home' for this example, then press the green tick to accept.
  • Now you're prompted for your first Context - the Context we want to use is 'Location'. Select it and you'll be presented with a view of a map. You can zoom in and out using multitouch or the buttons.
    • The button in the bottom right hand corner will move the map to your currently location. Below the map you'll see 2 buttons and a drop down.
    • The 'Net' button toggles whether to use coarse (cell / wifi) location and the 'GPS' button toggles whether to use fine (GPS) location. I strongly recommend using only net location as using the GPS option will hammer your battery! The radius dropdown lets you choose the radius from the chosen point within which the profile will be active. Be careful you don't set this too low - since coarse location isn't super-accurate, you're best erring on the side of caution here, choosing a larger radius to start with and reducing it gradually until you hit a level you are happy with.
    • To set your chosen location, long press on the map to place / move a little flag then press the green tick and give the location a name.
  • So we've told Tasker when we want our Task to trigger (the Context for the Profile), now we need to tell it what we want it to do. Select 'New Task'.
  • Again we are prompted for a name - which is optional and will be automatically populate if needed - let's leave it empty this time.
  • Here we can add in our Actions. We add them using the plus icon and save / cancel using the green tick / red cross. The 'Play' button in the bottom right allows us to test our Task. We can also give our Task an image / icon if we choose. Press the plus icon.
  • Let's think about things we might want our phone to do when we're at home. On my device I have a number of things from the internal actions and plugins, but for this part, we'll just use internal functions (plugins are coming up next!) As an example in this instance, let's have Tasker turn on WiFi.
  • The category that we want to use this time is 'Net' and then 'WiFi'. In the dialogue that pops up you can choose between Off / On / Toggle as appropriate, select 'On' then press the green tick. Press the green tick again to save the Task.
  • OK, we can now see that we have a 'Home' Profile with a location Context and a WiFi on Action. This is all good, but what happens when we're no longer at home? What will happen by default is that the WiFi state will return to whatever state it was in when the Profile was activated. This is OK, but what if, for whatever reason, WiFi was on when the profile was activated? What we really want is for WiFi to go off and we can accomplish this with an Exit Task. The action we've just create went into the Entry Task, as indicator by the green arrow. Let's create an Exit Task.
  • To create the Exit Task, press and hold on the Entry Task we've just created - the box with the green arrow and the 'WiFi On' text. A menu will pop up, the first item on which is 'Add Exit Task'. Press this!
  • From this point, we're just repeating the above again. Choose 'New Task', again leave the name empty, press the plus icon, choose 'Net' and then 'WiFi' but this time select 'Off' then press the green tick. After pressing the green tick to return to the main screen, you'll see we now have a section with a red arrow, this is the Exit Task section.




That's it - we're done! If you've set the location to where you are now, you should see the profile activate immediately and the WiFi toggle take place accordingly.

In the next part we're going to extend what happens in our 'Home Zone' with the use of third party plugins.

Please post your feedback in the comments, together with any requests / ideas for future parts!

About the author

PaulOBrien's Photo
Paul O'Brien founded MoDaCo in 2002 as a site focused on Windows Smartphones and has grown it since then by concentrating on providing a friendly community for both experienced and beginner mobile enthusiasts.

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5 Comments

Really liking these tasker guides, but I'm wondering how much battery it uses especially if you are running many profiles? surely constantly checking location etc will have an affect?

or does the savings in battery life from turning off wifi etc outweigh it?
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Barbs80, tasker doesn't use much battery in general. I've been using it for about a year now with several different profiles and i don't see a big change in battery usage versus when it's not on. I personally don't use any battery saving profiles, tried that in the beginning and that was more of a pain than anything else. Sometimes i feel that by switching WiFi, data, and other things on and off constantly may actually increase battery usage instead of saving it. That's just my observation. Also having to wait for the connection for a few seconds makes me go crazy but that is probably due to me being impatient info so i suggest not getting to complex in your battery saving tasks. Toggling WiFi on at home and off when not is simple enough to avoid frustration.
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I see no noticeable change in battery usage running Tasker! :)

P
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Hey Paul, it's a good read. I do have a question: the LG O2X had a feature that when you tapped the phone on the left during typing, the cursor would jump 1 place to the right. Is it possible to do this with Tasker? I would love that on my (stock rooted) SGS2 :D
Cheers!
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Tasker (and Locale / other) use very little battery as they 'listen' for system commands / changes and act on profiles that rely on these. The real exception is locality based profiles that need to enable GPS / WiFi to check location but IMHO, this doesn't really affect battery life at all.
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