What sets Android apart from other mobile operating systems is the exceptional level of flexibility it offers. Android is the best you can hope for if you want to enjoy granular control of your smartphone. However, to get the most out of it, you need the right tools to help you utilize its great flexibility and customization potential.
Powerful, multi-functional and easy to use, MacroDroid is like a do-it-all app that will help you do almost anything with your Android smartphone. But how good is it and what exactly can you do with MacroDroid? Let’s find out.
What is MacroDroid?
MacroDroid is a nifty little Android app that can help you automate almost any task on your device.
To better understand what MacroDroid does, think about everything you can do with your Android smartphone. You can make calls, browse the web, download files, tweet or share pictures on Facebook. MacroDroid introduces automation in all those activities or tasks.
So instead of having to do these things yourself, you can schedule them to happen, say, at certain times of the day or when a certain condition is met.
Do you need your Android phone to send messages to your partner when you are not home at 6 pm? MacroDroid can do it. How about sending an email to your boss every time you’re late for work? MacroDroid can do it too. How about turning down the screen brightness at 8 o’clock every morning? It is not a problem.
MacroDroid is like a robot assistant that can tell you what to do and when to do it, and it will do exactly that.
As a general rule of thumb, if you can manually perform a certain task on your Android smartphone, there’s a good chance you can get MacroDroid to do it for you automatically. While MacroDroid isn’t the only Android automation app out there, it is by far one of the easiest to use, especially if you’re just getting started with Android automation.
If you’re curious about what other automation apps you can get, we’ve detailed some of the best automation apps for Android above.
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How to set up and use MacroDroid
It might seem a bit daunting at first, but MacroDroid is pretty easy to get used to once you understand the basics of how MacroDroid works. So how does MacroDroid work?
At the basic level, MacroDroid works based on two basic concepts: actions and triggers.
1. Macrodroid Actions
Actions are, simply put, what needs to be done. It’s something that your Android device can do and that MacroDroid can automate. Dialing a number, sending an SMS or taking a photo are examples of actions that your Android smartphone can perform, which can also be automated by MacroDroid.
2. MacroDroid Activators
Triggers are events that must happen to start an action. Since it wouldn’t make sense for actions to happen randomly, triggers are preconditions for an action to happen.
It could be an event or a set of events that must occur before MacroDroid can initiate a pre-programmed action. Your battery level below 50%, receiving a call, or pressing the volume buttons are examples of events that can be used as triggers.
Your actions and triggers are combined into small tasks called macros.
How to create a simple automation task in MacroDroid
To create your first macro or automation task, all you need is an action and a trigger: what to do and when to do it. For this guide, we’ll create a simple automation routine that launches the Spotify app on your Android smartphone whenever you plug in your headphones or connect to your Bluetooth headphones or speakers.
To get started with MacroDroid, head over to the Play Store and install macrodroid.
MacroDroid is a massive app with so many moving parts. Once you launch the app, you’ll be greeted with the MacroDroid home screen filled with dozens of UI components. While they are all important, you may not need them for most of the basic automation tasks you will perform with MacroDroid.
MacroDroid also requires a large number of permissions to work properly. The app is safe to use, but feel free to check out our Android OS permissions explainer if you’re not too familiar with managing permissions on an Android device.
Step 1 – Create a macro
For our demo, we’ll work with the first component on the MacroDroid home screen labeled add macro. To get going:
- Tap on add macro.
- On the next screen, enter a name and tap the small file icon next to the macro name input field.
- Enter the description of your macro in the text area that appears below the macro name input field.
- You will find three panels labeled triggers, BehaviourY restrictions. We will focus on the triggers Y Behaviour panel for our use case.
Step 2: Set up the triggers
Remember, the idea is to create an automation routine that kicks in once we plug in a headset or connect to Bluetooth speakers or headphones. So the trigger to use here is every time a “connection to a headset” event occurs, or every time a “connection to a Bluetooth speaker” event occurs.
To schedule this particular event:
- Tap on the more (+) button on the triggers panel.
- Faucet Connectivity > Insert/Remove Headphones > Inserted Headphones > OK > Any > OK. This handles the “connect a headset” event or trigger.
The next thing is to program the “connection to a Bluetooth speaker” event or trigger. To do this:
- Open the quick settings menu, turn on your device’s Bluetooth, and connect your Bluetooth headphones or speakers.
- After connecting, go back to the MacroDroid app and tap the more (+) button at the top of the triggers board once more.
- now touch Connectivity > Bluetooth event > Device connected > OK.
- Touch the name of your Bluetooth speaker or headset, and then touch okay.
With that, you are done with setting up the two triggers. You can add as many triggers as you like.
Step 3 – Set up your actions
The next thing is to configure the actions, or actual tasks, that will be executed when triggered. Remember, the action we are using is launching the Spotify app.
- About him add macro screen, touch the more (+) icon at the top of the panel labeled Behaviour.
- Tap on Application > Launch Application > Select Application > OK > Spotify > Force New > OK.
- Once done, press the back button and then tap Save to save your macro.
The next time you connect your phone to your Bluetooth speaker or plug in your headphones, your Spotify app should launch automatically. Of course, Spotify is just one example of an app you can launch once you’ve plugged in your headphones. You can choose to use any application. Maybe Apple Music, YouTube Music or whatever.
Our example is one of the simplest automation routines you can program with MacroDroid. There is a long list of complex and exciting things that you can achieve. But what other things can you do with MacroDroid?
Some automation ideas from MacroDroid
Now that you have a clear idea of how MacroDroid works, if you want to take things a bit further, here are some cool automation routines you can try on your own.
- Make your phone ring loud when you get an email from your boss. (Hint: Use the notification trigger that you can access from Triggers > Device events > Notification > Notification received > Select application(s) > Gmail and enter a text that matches your boss’s email address. then go to Actions > Media > Play/Stop Sound and choose a sound to play).
- Automatically send birthday messages to your contacts on their birthdays. (Hint: combine the Triggers > Date/Time > Day of the week/month shoot with Actions > Messaging > Send SMS action.)
- Secretly record audio when you shake your Android device. (Hint: combine the Triggers > Sensor > Shaking Device trigger with the Actions > Media > Record Microphone action.)
- Secretly call 911 once you swipe the screen a certain way. (Hint: combine the Triggers > User Input > Swipe Screen shoot with Actions > Phone > Make Call action.)
- Add custom toggles to your Quick Settings menu to make some frequently used Android features easily accessible.
MacroDroid is undoubtedly one of the best applications to customize your Android smartphone in a creative way, so be sure to take advantage of it.
MacroDroid: One App, Endless Possibilities
Although MacroDroid may seem a bit technical at first, once you spend a little time learning the basics of how it works, you’ll have a lot of fun with it.
Think of all those tasks you wish you had an app for, if you spend some time playing around with MacroDroid, there’s a good chance you can create something that does something similar. We encourage you to explore.