Google neglecting Tasker again, taking away SMS/MMS and call capabilities

  • Google is updating its security policies for apps hosted on the Google Play Store.
  • These changes will prevent popular automation app Tasker from controlling SMS/MMS and phone calls.
  • This isn’t the first time Google has instituted a sweeping change that left Tasker in the dust.

If you use the popular automation app Tasker to do anything with SMS/MMS or phone calls, we have some bad news for you. According to the lead developer of Tasker (via a post on Reddit), Google’s recent security updates at the Google Play Store will prevent Tasker from having SMS/MMS and phone call capabilities.

This means that any automation tasks you have programmed within Tasker that send texts, make phone calls, save MMS photos, etc., will all soon stop working.

According to Tasker’s lead developer, the limitations are the result of some changes to how the Google Play Store handles SMS/MMS and call permissions within apps. Google published a list of exceptions to this new policy, but Tasker wasn’t on the list. As such, the Tasker team sent in the necessary application to preserve SMS/MMS and call permissions.

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However, that application was denied.

The Tasker team is obviously quite upset about this upcoming limitation, as SMS, in particular, is one of the most-used functions within Tasker. It’s a confusing decision on Google’s part, considering Tasker is the kind of application where nothing really happens unless users a) know what they’re doing, and b) intentionally program Tasker to do specific things.

However, this isn’t the first time Google has miffed Tasker like this and then rolled back its decision. Previously, Tasker was removed from the Play Store over battery optimization issues, but then Google backtracked and made an exception for Tasker. Google also issued a sweeping rule change which banned any app which uses Android’s disability services for anything other than helping people with disabilities. This change was met with severe backlash and the changes were later dropped.

We can only hope Google backtracks on this decision as well. If you’d like to let Google know your opinions on this matter, star this issue tracker designed specifically for this situation. Please don’t leave a comment, as that just clutters up the thread and doesn’t help the cause — just star the thread to show your support.

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