Automation is always a good thing, and we’ve looked at various ways in which you can automate tasks on your Android. AutoMagic takes a different approach to things, making it possible to create flow charts that are used to trigger actions based on various conditions.
While this is a premium app that can be purchased from Google Play there’s also an evaluation version that can be downloaded for ten days’ of testing from the app website.
Right from the offset, it is clear that Automagic is one of the more powerful apps to be found in this genre. Just in terms of the number of events that can be used as triggers, this is an extremely interesting utility, but the way in which automations are configured is also worthy of note.
There is a very visual approach to things, and each automation takes the form of a flow charge – if a particular condition is true, one course of action should be taken, if it is false, another is executed instead.
Creating a Flow
There is immense scope for Automagic. The sheer number of available triggers means that this is a far more flexible tool that other comparable apps, and the fact that a particular trigger can be configured to execute different actions depending on its state allows for complex scenarios to be set up.
Something that is of concern to all phone users is how long the battery is going to last. Automagic can be used to help maximize battery life by gradually disabling system options as the battery level depletes.
Tap the settings button, followed by New Flow, and then tap the empty node that is displayed.
Tap the document button that appears above the trigger node to set its type, and hit new to select the type that should be used. Scroll through the list and tap Battery Level.
The drop down menu at the bottom of the screen can be used to choose what should act as a trigger. By default, this is set to ‘becomes lower than’, and this makes sense in most situations. Use the slider at the very bottom to indicate the battery level at which you would like to trigger an event.
Tap Save at the top of the screen and you can start adding extra conditions.
Conditions to flows are basically caveats. Here we are creating a trigger that will start to shut down phone features when the battery level drops below 75%, but this is something that is likely to happen on a regular basis.
When you are at home or in the office, it does not really matter if your battery level starts to drop as you are likely to be near a source of power to charge up. In fact, the chances are that if you are in range of a wireless network, you are also in range of a power outlet.
The presence of a wifi signal can be used as a condition to your trigger. Tap the Trigger node you have created and drag the + icon down slightly. Release the icon and then tap Condition in the menu that appears.
Tap New to bring up a list of available conditions and select the WiFi Connected option.
This is usually going to be a better option than just checking for the availability of a wireless network, as you may well encounter others when you are out and about. But if you are connected to a network, it’s probable you can charge your phone.
You can opt to limit the flow so that it is only triggered when you are connected to specific wifi networks, but for this example, we’ll leave it so that all SSIDs act as a trigger condition.
Tap Save to continue.
Back at the flow screen, tap the + beneath the condition node you’ve added and drag it down. Tap False from the menu that appears – this is because the action that we’ll configure in a moment should only be triggered whenever you are not connected to a network.
Now tap Action from the menu that appears, and you can choose what should happen when your specified conditions have been met.
Just as before, tap New and choose the action that should be performed. There are many to choose from, but when it comes to conserving battery, those that are most likely to be of interest can be found in the ‘set’ section of the list.
A severe drain on battery life is screen brightness, so it makes sense to reduce this when trying to save power. Select Set Screen Brightness, disable the ‘Automatic brightness’ setting and use the slider to specify the level that should be used instead.
To ensure that the Flows you create are active, you need to remember to flip the switch at the top of the screen so that it is in the On position.
Taking Things Further
Each flow you create can be made as simple or as complex as you like. In this example, we have configured an action that should be performed whenever the phone is not connected to a network – actions can also be set up for when it is.
The flowchart style used by Automagic makes it easy to see what a particular flow is doing and how it works.
There is also the option of using one flow to call up another. As a flow can consist of just an action – such as starting a timer – one flow could be used to not only change system settings, but also perform actions such as executing apps, calling up scripts and much more.
What do you use to automate tasks on your phone? Do you like to keep things as simple or do you like the extra power that’s provided by more advanced tools like Automagic?
Mark Wilson is a software fiend and a fan of the new, shiny and intriguing. Never afraid to get his hands dirty with some full-scale geekery, he’s always trying out the latest apps, hacks and tweaks. He can be found on Twitter and Google+.
- Published 04/24/13