One of my key takeaways from making the move from the iPhone to Android is this: if you want to get the most of your phone, you can’t treat it like an iPhone. By that I mean that you can’t just set up a ton of apps on your home screens and hop in and out of them[^1]. There are way cooler things to be done!
Tasker is the quintessential example of an app that simply cannot work on the iPhone, but shines on Android. It’s very much a local version of IFTTT, the popular web automation service. You can use Tasker to do some genuinely useful stuff such as scheduling a happy birthday text ahead of time so you don’t forget or turning your WiFI on or off depending on if you’re home. You can also do stupid stuff like receiving a text message when you plug in your headphones, which triggers a notification, which in turn triggers a change in your home screen image, and then automatically tweets the madness that just transpired. Not that I tried that or anything…
Here are some of my favorite useful actions.
1. Open the camera app with a shake
This is my favorite tweak, and it’s simple, but that’s okay. With a simple wrist flick, my camera launches. As long as my screen is on, this works everywhere on the phone.
Simply set your profile to “Shake Left-Right” and the action to “Launch Camera.”
There are plenty of times where I just am not going to answer the phone if it’s a random number. I think this is pretty common these days, and this profile makes it so I don’t even have to look at my phone to know if a call is coming from someone I know or not.
There is a good chance that I’m going to listen to something when I plug my headphones into my phone. This idea for an action comes from LifeHacker and pops up a list of all the audio apps I might want to use. I have it show me Google Music, Spotify, Pocket Casts, and Audible, but you could do whatever you want. If you wanted to simplify it even more, you could just have it launch a specific app as well.
This one replicates one of my favorite things about the Moto X. I live in Illinois, so not only is texting while driving dangerous, it’s also illegal. I also have a pretty lengthy commute to and from work, so if I get a text on the road, it could be up to an hour before I get to read it. This profile from Daspoo on the Android Central forums solves the mystery of what messages I’m receiving by reading it to me over my car speakers.
I have a folder in Dropbox full of wallpapers for my phone, and this profile randomly cycles through that folder and changes my wallpaper every week. It’s simple and stupid, but I like having a fresh look to my home screen every now and then.
[^1]: If that’s how you currently use your Android phone, I would actually suggest you get an iPhone, because I actually think iOS does a better job at doing that “one app at a time” thing.