Tasker v4.9 is out with Non-Root Programmable Firewall, Multi-Window Automation, S-Pen Recognition, and More
It’s no secret that we at XDA are big fans of Tasker. We’ve covered the application and its capabilities multiple times in the past and have demonstrated that the potential uses of Tasker are limitless thanks to its extensive plug-in framework. Tasker has become so robust over the years that development on the application has slowed down significantly in the past year or so. That doesn’t mean that development on Tasker is unnecessary or dead, as new versions of Android introduce new features that are ripe for automation.
Back in July, the Tasker developer teased that the next major update to Tasker would take advantage of Android’s VPN integration to allow for a non-root, per-app, programmable firewall. Nearly 5 months after this revelation, Tasker has finally received an update to version 4.9, bringing this feature along with a plethora of additional changes.
What’s New in Tasker
The developer has posted a full change-log on his website, but there are simply too many changes to list. Here are the most important changes to Tasker with this update:
- New Network Access control. This new action is located under the Net action category. You are given 4 different options to control the network access on the device: Allow All, Allow, Deny All, or Deny. If you select ‘Allow’ or ‘Deny’ you are given the option to choose which particular apps you would like to allow or deny network access for. Since this is an Action, you must either couple this with a pertinent Context to trigger it or you can set up a launcher shortcut to manually run a task containing this action.
- New Toggle Split Screen action. This action is located under the App action category. There are no configuration options with this action. Just as before, this action is contained in a Task and thus must be coupled with a Context that triggers a Task. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like you can directly open both apps of your choosing using this action, as Tasker only toggles multi-window so you will have to either manually select the other app to launch in multi-window or use AutoInput to select the second app.
- New Pen Out and Pen Menu states. These are new State Contexts (one which is active so long as the condition is met) where Tasker can now react to when a user removes the Samsung S Pen from the device holder or when the S Pen Air Button menu is displayed.
- Support for External SD Cards. Previously, Tasker did not play well with files located on external SD cards. Now, the app has been updated to use the new external SD access API. When you select any action in the File category, you will now see a small SD card icon in the bottom right hand corner of Tasker’s internal file browser, which will allow you to select files on your SD card.
- Added support for native Back Button and Recents Button. No longer will you have to rely on third-party plug-ins for your UI navigational needs, as you can create your very own navigation app using Tasker.
- Added support for displaying the Power Menu on the device. Using this and the AutoInput plug-in, you can now automate rebooting your device if your device has a reboot function in the power menu (such as the new Google Pixel phones).
- Uses the new media button API in Android 7.0+, which should fix any issues users are having with media button input from Tasker.
- A LOT of UI and UX improvements for the scene builder – one of the most frustrating parts of Tasker for new users.
As I’ve mentioned before, there are a ton of bug fixes, changes, and features added in this update. If you are a fan of Tasker, it would behoove you to read the full change log to get a good idea of what’s new. Furthermore, as I don’t want to leave any new users of Tasker in the dark, here are some quick ideas I’ve come up with to take advantage of these new features. You can easily implement these following the below descriptions and modify them to suit your needs.
In the first tab below, you’ll see a quick and easy use of the new Network Access feature. I’ve made a profile that will disable network access to the Mint app when I’m not on my home network. In the second tab, I’ve set up a quick driving mode profile using the new Toggle Split Screen feature. Here, upon connecting to my bluetooth device, Tasker will launch Maps and Google Play Music in multi-window mode. This requires the aid of AutoInput to select the second app from the recent app screen.
Profile: Firewall (78) State: Not Wifi Connected [ SSID:Rahman MAC:* IP:* ] Enter: Anon (81) A1: Network Access [ Mode:Deny App:Mint ]
Profile: Driving Mode (82) State: BT Connected [ Name:FLEXSMART X3 MINI Address:* ] Enter: Anon (86) A1: Launch App [ App:Maps Data: Exclude From Recent Apps:Off Always Start New Copy:Off ] A2: Launch App [ App:Play Music Data: Exclude From Recent Apps:Off Always Start New Copy:Off ] A3: Toggle Split Screen A4: Wait [ MS:0 Seconds:2 Minutes:0 Hours:0 Days:0 ] A5: AutoInput Action [ Configuration:Type: Point Value: 540,1465 Action : Click Is Tasker Action: false Check Screen State: false Timeout (Seconds):20 ]
Note that these are just the descriptions for the two fairly simple profiles. If you re-create these, please be sure to change the SSID to point to your own home network in the ‘Firewall’ profile and to change the Bluetooth device to your car bluetooth in the ‘Driving Mode Multi-Window’ profile.
If we come up with any great Tasker scripts in the future, we’ll be sure to share them on the XDA Portal. If you come up with a great Tasker idea on your own, feel free to comment below or visit our Tasker Tips & Tricks forum at the link below.
Visit our Tasker Tips & Tricks Forum Download Tasker from the Google Play Store
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