Automating your phone – MacroDroid

A short while ago I had a problem. It was a strange one and I found myself hitting a bit of an impasse.

When I got in the car, the WiFi from the dashcam would be detected by my phone and it’d connect. That’s great if you’re planning on downloading some footage, but not great if you want to listen to some streaming audio through the Bluetooth connection to your car stereo.

Why? Well, the WiFi on the dash cam doesn’t provide an internet connection, so your streaming audio times out and your phone generally moans that it doesn’t have a way to get onto the internet.

In a way, this auto-connection to a go-nowhere WiFi is good, because you get no WhatsApp messages, no emails and no other social updates interruption your drive. However, I didn’t really want it connecting all the time.

No problem – I just click “Forget” on the network. Right? Well yes, that’s definitely one way to fix it, but when you do want to reconnect to the camera you’ll have to remember the WiFi access code, and the default one is crazy long.

So, although there’s a simple fix, it got me thinking. Surely there must be a way to automate this process? A way to turn your WiFi off when you leave the house and perhaps turn it back on when you get home again?

Well, there is. After I’d sent out a tweet a few of you guys responded, with MacroDroid being mentioned a couple of times. I’d already messed around with IFTTT to try and do this but – as with a lot of Android devices now – the power management seemed to be messing things up a little and it didn’t “fire”.

What was I trying to do? Well, a fairly simple request but a number of ways to approach it. I wanted to disable my WiFi when I left home and then re-enable when I got home. To do this you can..

1 – Either setup a trigger to fire when my home WiFi hotspot name is no longer available, OR setup a trigger to fire when a my home location is left. The latter is known as a “Geofence exit” and basically makes your phone do clever stuff when you leave an area.

2 – Re-enable the WiFi when a “geofence entry” occurs. Not that I couldn’t just turn the WiFi on when my home WiFi was in range as, well, the WiFi is off and it can’t scan.

Doing this also helps with your battery life by the way.

MacroDroid helps to automate daily tasks with a simple and easy GUI which lets you do other clever stuff like enabling your Bluetooth and playing music when you get in your car, you can have it run an app at a certain time or even fire one up when you shake the device. For example, if you want to hop onto Twitter, just shake the phone and it’ll start up. You can do much, much more besides, and there’s just three steps to it…

1 – Select a Trigger

This could be based on your GPS or mobile tower location, or a device change like battery level, an app starting or your device bcoming still.

2 – Select the action

There’s over 100 of these. You can turn on Bluetooth or WiFi, alter the volume, speak something, dim the screen and so on.

3 – Configure Constraints.

You can add additional criteria, such as only connecting to a certain WiFi if it’s a weekday and so on.

This has been working faultlessly since I’ve had it and it’s definitely an app I’d recommend. Give it a spin if you need something similar.