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One of the reasons Android is better than iOS 5 Reasons To Choose Android Over iPhone [Opinion] 5 Reasons To Choose Android Over iPhone [Opinion] If you’re looking at buying a smartphone, you’re probably going to buy an Android device or an iPhone (sorry, Microsoft). What’s the difference, and which should you choose? We recently gave the pro-iPhone side of... Read More  is the amount of control it offers users. You can make Android behave just the way you want it to. In fact, you can tell it how you like things and even automate certain processes.

There’s no lack of automation apps on Android How To Automate Your Android Smartphone To Do Just About Anything How To Automate Your Android Smartphone To Do Just About Anything Having a smartphone can make your life a whole lot more convenient. When you're lost, it can help you find your way home. When you're in a strange town that you don't know and want... Read More , but Tasker is the leader of them all. That said, despite a recent update, Tasker’s interface feels difficult Tasker For Android: A Mobile App That Caters to Your Every Whim Tasker For Android: A Mobile App That Caters to Your Every Whim When it comes to device automation, there's just one 900-lb gorilla in the Android space, and that's Tasker. True, Llama is an awesome free automation app, but it doesn't aim for Tasker's full power. Tasker... Read More to use. Plus, it requires you to root your Android device What Is Rooting? What Are Custom ROMs? Learn Android Lingo What Is Rooting? What Are Custom ROMs? Learn Android Lingo Ever had a question about your Android device, but the answer had a bunch of words in it that you didn't understand? Let us break down the confusing Android lingo for you. Read More . Even some tech geeks here at MakeUseOf abandoned the app because it was just too cumbersome.

If automation is supposed to make your life easier, then it shouldn’t be difficult to use. That’s why MacroDroid is going to be your new best friend. Or your butler.

MacroDroid: A Simpler Tasker

Download and install MacroDroid, and you’ll be surprised by how simple the interface is. Just see the difference between MacroDroid (left) and Tasker (right).

Macrodroid-vs-tasker

You’ll see six menu items in MacroDroid.

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  • Macros: The “macros” or automations you have already set up.
  • Add Macro: Interface to make your own new macro.
  • Templates: Browse macros submitted by other users.
  • Settings: Dive into the app’s settings.
  • Forum: Discuss any issue or thought you have about MacroDroid.
  • Export/Import: Export or import your MacroDroid settings.

Obviously, you’ll start with Add Macro. Before you begin, it’s best to back up your Android device Back up Your Android Phone Today Before It's Too Late Back up Your Android Phone Today Before It's Too Late If you lost your phone today (or it was stolen or damaged), would you still have all your photos, contacts, and data? Let's make sure everything is properly backed up. Read More , just in case anything goes wrong. It’s unlikely, but better safe than sorry.

Also, you should know about Android permissions What Are Android Permissions and Why Should You Care? What Are Android Permissions and Why Should You Care? Do you ever install Android apps without a second thought? Here's all you need to know on Android app permissions, how they've changed, and how it affects you. Read More , since MacroDroid needs quite a few. Though the app has been around for some time now and generally has good reviews, so it should be safe.

How to Automate a Task

Each macro has three basic stages: Trigger, Action, and Constraints.

macrodroid-trigger

The trigger is whatever starts a macro. For example, shaking your phone is a trigger, or swiping a particular way is a trigger, or an incoming call can be a trigger. A macro can have multiple triggers, so that two conditions have to be met for the action to be executed.

macrodroid-actions

The action is whatever task you want to execute. It could be sending a text, switching the GPS on or off, or even starting an app.

If you want to start an app based on a trigger, then you’ll need to choose which app and whether you want to start a new instance or use the running app. Once you choose the actions, tap Menu (three-dot icon) > Test Actions to see if you picked what you wanted.

macrodroid-constraints-finish

The constraint is a set of conditions under which the macro won’t trigger. For example, you might have set up a macro to switch off mobile data when you connect to Wi-Fi. But you can set up the constraint to not do that for a certain Wi-Fi connection (like the wireless network at your gym, which often has a weak signal).

Once you’re done, tap the Menu > Test Macro to run it once. You don’t want to enable something without testing it, so don’t skip this step!

It’s all pretty simple, and once you set up a macro or two, you’ll know exactly what to do. Compared to Tasker, MacroDroid is far easier. But the best part is yet to come.

The Genius Lies in Templates

MacroDroid’s user base has built some fantastic macros over the years that can make your Android smartphone or tablet smarter than ever. These automated scripts are shared in Templates, sorted by Local, Top Rated, and Latest.

Like IFTTT for Android’s best recipes IFTTT Recipes That Help You Save Money IFTTT Recipes That Help You Save Money IFTTT can be used to do nearly anything, and saving money is no exception. Here are some of the best recipes to help you live more frugally. Read More , this is where you’ll strike gold. Go through the Top Rated section to find some magnificent macros that will change how you use your smartphone.

MacroDroid-templates

Here’s a brief list of some of the cool ones:

  • Flashlight: Turns your flashlight on and off when you shake the phone.
  • Spy: Records conversations secretly when you flip your phone face down.
  • All in one Wifi/BT delayed disconnect v2: Automatically disables Wi-Fi or Bluetooth after 30 seconds with no connection.
  • Fully Charged: Get a notification when your phone is 100% charged. It’s best practice to not keep a phone charging Keep Your Android's Battery Healthy With These Tips Keep Your Android's Battery Healthy With These Tips Software and apps can only go so far -- what about how to charge and discharge your battery? Learn all the tricks here. Read More  for too long after it’s full because it can affect the health of your lithium-ion battery.
  • Light: Shake the phone to set it to maximum brightness. A fantastic tool when you’re outdoors and can’t see the screen because you had set the brightness too low.
  • Home in: When you get home, automatically starts the Wi-Fi, reduces volume, and changes the ringtone.
  • Leave home: When leaving the home, turns off Wi-Fi, turns on Bluetooth, and decreases screen timeout.
  • Car mode: Configure Android to Car Mode The 5 Best Dashboard Car Mode Apps For Android Compared The 5 Best Dashboard Car Mode Apps For Android Compared Want a safe way to use your Android smartphone while driving? These car mode apps make it easy. Read More when placed in a car dock.
  • App auto-rotation toggle: Enable auto-rotation when launching certain apps (like YouTube). Disable auto-rotation when you close the app.
  • Beep each hour: It’s a tiny alarm, without being an alarm.
  • Quick keyboard change: Swipe gesture to change among useful Android keyboards.

You can add any of these macros to your own Android device and even edit them if you want a certain feature changed.

To edit a macro, browse to it in the main Macros folder. You can change any trigger, action, or constraint you want.

MacroDroid Free vs. Pro

The free version of MacroDroid restricts users to five macros running at any time. If you want more than five, you’ll need to pay $2.99 for the Pro version.

The free version is also ad-supported, so it can affect your battery a bit more than you’d want to.

Should you buy it? We’d recommend just trying it out first to see if the five macros are enough for you. If you want more, buy the Pro version.

Download: MacroDroid for Android (Free | $2.99 for Pro)

MacroDroid vs. Tasker vs. The Rest

Having tried out MacroDroid, I’m surprised by how well it works and how simple it is to set up. You don’t need to be a techie to figure this out. Just follow the on-screen instructions and you’ll be fine.

macrodroid-all-macros-edit

That’s not the case with several other Android apps, like Tasker, Agent, and more. This simplicity sets MacroDroid apart, and makes it the first app anyone new to automation should try. If you tried and dumped Tasker because it was too complex, give MacroDroid a shot.

Do you think MacroDroid is better than Tasker for simple automation? Have you found Tasker too complex? Are you an existing MacroDroid free or pro user? Tell us what you’re thinking in the comments!

  1. Praveen Kumar S
    August 26, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Macroid and Tasker Comparison? Oh, come on, Mihir. As you know Tasker is more complex yet versatile. It's not some app. You can install Tasker and uninstall all other apps.

    • Peter Buyze
      August 30, 2016 at 4:57 pm

      Mihir is not suggesting MacroDroid as an equivalent alternative for Tasker, but rather as a starters' or non-geeks' alternative for Tasker. In fact, he states "..... Tasker is the leader of them all." So there is no need to treat him like some sort of dumbbell, this is a very useful article.

  2. Slaldrich
    August 25, 2016 at 11:42 pm

    You need to edit this for accuracy. Tasker doesn't require root. I used it for years on rooted devices. My current device is not rooted and Tasker is still effective and wonderful.

  3. Tiago Azevedo
    August 25, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    Tasker doesn't require root for 99.9% of it's features.

    Nothing beats Tasker. My smartphone is truly smart thanks to it.

  4. Testuser
    August 25, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    I think the automation app "Automate" deserves a mention as well. After all it works like Tasker or MacroDroid, but the main difference is the freedom in executing events and things. It is kinda a bit like visual programming, where you can set blocks of events and connect them together. This makes it a lot easier to achieve complex tasks. I use it to have a sound notification when my battery charge has reached 75% to save the battery from additional stress. As far as I remember I wasn't able to achieve this in MacroDroid before, as there was only a fully charged event.

  5. Lance
    August 25, 2016 at 9:55 am

    For voice commands it seems that this application needs root access, on Tasker it does not.

  6. Flashman0424
    August 24, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    How many hooks does it have for other things? I use a Wink Tasker profile to talk to my phone and turn lights on and off. Can I disable my PIN using this tool? I haven't downloaded it, but it sounds similar to other tools... Less powerful, less effective than Tasker.

  7. Alan Burnstine
    August 24, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    "Plus, it requires you to root your Android device" Um... No, it doesn't. There are root specific features that advanced users may desire, but 99.9% of all Tasker functions don't require root.

    No argument about feeling cumbersome to use, but the level of control it provides in my opinion makes it worth taking the effort to learn.

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