The best automation apps for Android
- Action Blocks
- Many individual apps
- Smart home apps
- OEM features like Bixby
- Your Android settings
Action Blocks is an autmoation app from Google. It’s a direct integration with Google Assistant. You can tell the app do a thing at a certain time and Google Assistant performs the task at the appointed time. You can do quite a bit of things like turning your lights and off. It can also do simple things like remind you to call a family member. Basically, it can do what Google Assistant does, but you can determine when it happens. It definitely needs more polish and we hope Google sticks with it. Action Blocks isn’t the best option on the list, but it’s worth a try if you use Assistant a lot.
Automate by LlamaLab
Automate is another decent automation app. It focuses more on basic tasks. For instance, it can text your significant other when you start driving home. Some other functions include automatically uploading files to Google Drive on a schedule, changing your audio volume at night, and other simple stuff like that. It uses a flow chart system and we quite like how easy it is to mess with. There are apps with a lot more power, but this one is surpremely easy to use for easy stuff.
AutomateIt is a competitor to automation apps like LlamaLab’s Automate. It automates a bunch of basic, small things. You can do stuff like change your audio volume at night, enable and disable WiFi, and other basic stuff like that. It boasts dozens of overall functions. You can also see stuff like your stats. It can also do stuff like auto-respond to SMS messages while you drive. The app seems to struggle on some devices and has the occasional bug. It’s otherwise pretty good.
IFTTT is where we start talking about the big dogs in automation apps. IFTTT is a pretty big deal with an absolute ton of integrations and functions. It can do the simple stuff if you need it. One popular example is downloading Instagram photos whenever they post. However, it integrates with Google Drive, Dropbox, work message things like Slack, and tons of smart home tech like Philips Hue, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and others. The list of things you can do is too crazy to even begin to list. The pro version unlocks more applets but the free version lets you tinker around long enough to figure out if you want to pay for it.
MacroDroid is an interesting automation app. It uses if-then statements kind of like computer programmers. You can set up some fairly complex tasks. For instance, you can set the app to reject phone calls when you flip your phone face down. These super granular actions are fun to play with and can make a lot of stuff easier. One of the funner ones that actually works is having the app auto-skip every skippable ad on YouTube. It can even do security stuff like snapping a photo every time your PIN is entered incorrectly. Little things like this can improve the user experience quite a bit and even replace some apps in some cases.
May individual apps
A lot of apps have some sort of automation setting for their primary function. There are several good examples. Photo backup apps like Amazon Photos or Google Photos can be set to upload photos automatically when your phone is on WiFi and also on a charger. Most to-do list apps can do recurring tasks that automatically populate when you clear one. Some SMS apps and third party social media apps let you send messages or post updates on a schedule. There are too many of these to list here, but hopefully this gives you an idea to go scouting around the settings menu in some apps to see if there are any native automation features.
Smart home apps
One of the most popular examples of automation apps is smart home apps. The whole point of having a smart home product is to improve your experience with basic stuff. That holds true for this list. Philips Hue lights can be set to turn on and off on specific schedules. Smart thermostats can manage your home’s temperature in a variety of ways. Even stuff like Amazon Alexa and Google Home can help out by letting you speak directly to your house. Most of these products have automation of some sort.
OEM specific features like Bixby
Even Android OEMs are getting in on the action to some extent. There aren’t a lot of examples for this and the biggest one is, by far, Samsung’s Bixby. Bixby has a Routines function that lets you automate things on your Samsung devices. It’s a direct competitor to Google’s Action Blocks and Apple’s Shortcuts. This is a relatively new thing that, again, doesn’t have a ton of examples. For now, Samsung owners should check out Bixby Routines. I use the function to turn off fast wireless charging at night to keep my phone cool while I sleep. That’s just one example.
Your Android settings
The Android OS has a few things you can automate. Most of the things are doable across every modern Android device. Some examples include turning things like Do Not Disturb and blue light filters on and off at certain times. More modern versions of Android include digital wellbeing features that can trigger nightly to encourage you to turn your phone off and go to bed. Of course, there are classics like Smart Lock that turn your security on and off depending on your GPS location. It’s worth digging through your settings menu just to check.
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