The most popular automation app on the Google Play Store, Tasker, recently underwent a change in ownership. The developer of the popular AutoApps plugins for Tasker, João Dias, is now the owner and developer of the app. He has great plans for the app, and his first test as owner of Tasker was to ensure that his build script worked by launching a largely-unchanged beta release on the Play Store. Now, he is ready to release his first proper beta update for the automation app. The first beta release of Tasker under João Dias doesn’t add a ton of new features, but the ones it does add are quite significant.
Secure Settings Permission
First, the app finally adds the
WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS permission to the Manifest. This isn’t necessarily a feature, but it opens up the ability to control device Secure/Global settings without needing an additional plug-in such as AutoTools or SecureTask.
Once you update Tasker, you can take advantage of this new permission by issuing the following command via ADB:
adb shell pm grant net.dinglisch.android.taskerm android.permission.WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS
Now, you can create actions that write to the
Settings.Global tables on your device. Currently, this requires the use of a Java Function in Tasker since the app does not yet have a dedicated Action for it. For example, if I wanted to invert my navigation bar so the back and recent apps button are swapped:
cr = CONTEXT.getContentResolver(); Secure.putString(cr, sysui_nav_bar, space,recent;home;back,menu_ime)
And if you want to go crazy with automating your device’s settings, you can find the full list of available parameters by issuing the following commands in ADB:
adb shell settings list global adb shell settings list secure adb shell settings list system
Android P Accessibility API Update
With Android P’s release comes a couple of new APIs that are useful for automation apps such as Tasker. There are two new Global Actions in the Accessibility API for Android: taking a screenshot and locking the screen. The former is pretty straight-forward, while the latter’s advantage is a bit more subtle and something we previously covered. Tasker now supports both actions if you enable its Accessibility Service and you’re running Android P. These new actions can be found under the “Input” section in Actions.
This next one isn’t a user-facing feature, but it paves the way for the app complying with the new Play Store requirements that will force the app to target a higher API level. By adding runtime permissions, the automation app will now request the user to grant it sensitive permissions whenever the app needs it. Speaking of which…
Tasker now targets Android 7.1 Nougat
In order to comply with the new Play Store rules, the automation app now targets a newer version of Android—7.1 Nougat. It’ll eventually target Oreo in the future, but Mr. Dias chose to target 7.1 for now to ensure that the transition goes smoothly. Unfortunately, as a consequence of this change, certain features such as the “Notification Pulse” action no longer work.
Download the beta now!
Sign up for the beta test at this page, then download the latest release from the Google Play Store. It may take some time for the beta to show up for you, so be patient!
Rojenx is a leading concept artist who work appears in games and publications
Check out his personal gallery here