FAQ
I'm setting up a few profiles that may benefit from a location context. Is geofencing really that much less power hungry then Tasker's net-only location when used as the only context? Are there any benefits of one over the other with regard to how quickly they recognize entering or leaving the designated area?

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  • Rich D at Mar 24, 2014 at 9:12 pm
    I'm setting up a few profiles that may benefit from a location context.
      Is geofencing really that much less power hungry then Tasker's net-only
    location when used as the only context? Are there any benefits of one over
    the other with regard to how quickly they recognize entering or leaving the
    designated area?
    >
    Great topic, I just started playing around with geo fences and so far I am
    unimpressed. I live in a very rural area and only have wifi on at my house
    intermittently. For my home context I usually use just a cell near (I only
    have 2 towers that register) but I thought I would try geofences, not
    expecting much figuring it would really need the wifi's to work well.
    Apparently I was correct. I am still testing but so far it will toggle on /
    off for at least 4 to 5 times a night much too unreliable. I have not
    tried making a much larger fence area yet but if it gets too big I am
    better off with the cell near anyway. I have not tried taskers net- only
    location context for fear of bad battery life. Burt perhaps I will give
    that a try..

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  • Marta Hintz at Mar 24, 2014 at 9:53 pm
    I think that is user dependent.

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  • UncleMike at Mar 25, 2014 at 12:23 am
    As a test last night I setup my son's phone with 2 profiles - one with a
    Wifi Near context and one with a net-only Location (600m radius) context,
    and both intended to detect him being at school. I set the Enter and Exit
    tasks on each to send me an SMS. Not surprisingly, both activated and
    deactivated at the same time - at Tasker's default 10 minute screen off
    check interval - but this was about 20 minutes after he left school (normal
    for Wifi Near, but not so good for Location). I also set my phone up with
    a net-only Location context to detect being at another school. When I
    dropped my other son off earlier, I was in and out of the prescribed
    location (circle) within just a few minutes, and Tasker never realized I
    was there.

    During a brief test of AutoLocation geofencing the other day, it almost
    immediately alerted me that I was within the circle, and within a minute of
    leaving it. Unfortunately I had installed Tasker 4.3b10 just prior to
    installing AutoLocation, and removed AutoLocation shortly thereafter in an
    effort to resolve the weird Tasker behavior in b10 (which I now know as
    unrelated to AutoLocation).

    I'll be doing some more testing over the next few days, but so far it looks
    like AutoLocation is far more responsive. Unfortunately, AutoLocation is
    unaware of the status of other Tasker contexts that may be being used in
    conjunction with AutoLocation geofencing, so the geofence is being
    monitored even when less power hungry contexts would have Tasker NOT
    monitoring the location.

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  • Matt R at Mar 25, 2014 at 3:27 am
    Could you work around the ignorance of autolocation by disabling and enabling the profile using a second profile with your other contexts?

    Matt

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  • UncleMike at Mar 25, 2014 at 12:00 pm
    I don't think disabling profiles in Tasker would affect power usage of geofence monitoring, since the actual monitoring is performed by Android, then reported to the plugin, which then reports it to Tasker. But it is possible to start/stop the monitoring from with Tasker using the plugin, though this could require additional profiles to do what Tasker does by itself for its own Location context.

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  • Scott at Mar 25, 2014 at 1:56 pm
    I have my Geofence monitoring turn off whenever I have a "WiFi connected"
    profile active and I just handle it in the enter and exit tasks for those
    profiles. Truthfully, I'm not sure how much battery it really buys me. I
    have Google Now checking my location, anyway, and AutoLocation seems to
    piggyback off of that, so the Geofence monitor doesn't use very much extra
    battery.
    On Tuesday, March 25, 2014 7:00:13 AM UTC-5, UncleMike wrote:

    I don't think disabling profiles in Tasker would affect power usage of
    geofence monitoring, since the actual monitoring is performed by Android,
    then reported to the plugin, which then reports it to Tasker. But it is
    possible to start/stop the monitoring from with Tasker using the plugin,
    though this could require additional profiles to do what Tasker does by
    itself for its own Location context.
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  • UncleMike at Apr 8, 2014 at 3:36 am
    I've been using AutoLocation to track my entering and leaving several GeoFenced areas during the past two weeks. I think the battery drain is negligible, but there can be significant lag in identifying that I'm within a GeoFence; I've remained stationary, well within an GeoFence, for up to 5 minutes without any recognition that I'm within the GeoFence.

    For my purposes - seeing if I'm within a GeoFence when I stop driving, and have a calendar event (matching a filter) within the next 30 minutes. (If I stop driving, an near my doctor's office, and have an appointment within the next 30 minutes, turn on silent mode).

    I may just stop using the GeoFences completely, as it doesn't seem to be responsive enough for my needs.

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  • Marta Hintz at Apr 8, 2014 at 2:49 pm
    I experimented with the geofences. Same type of experience as you. However I noted if I go to google maps it instantaneously picked up where I was. It seemed like the geo fence need that trigger to push the info to tasker.

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  • PC at Apr 9, 2014 at 1:43 am
    Geofences are MUCH more responsive (at least in my testing) while driving
    IF the following 2 things are true:

    1) GPS is on (in KitKat, this would be 'High Accuracy' Location settings
    instead of 'Battery Saving')
    2) the AutoLocation monitor has a short update time for the 'Interval'
    setting for the monitor

    I find, for example, before driving and launching my navigation profile,
    that I have to enable the 'High Accuracy' location settings, stop the
    monitor, wait 3 secs, and re-launch the AutoLocation monitor with the new
    settings to ensure that the GPS location co-ordinates are feeding into the
    Geofence monitor (which is also running, by the way). I use pre-set
    geofences to close Waze and switch back to 'Battery Saving' location
    settings when I get to them, so you have to be able to get GPS to feed into
    the Geofence monitor.

    This was absolutely not reliable on JellyBean for me, but I found that
    after I upgraded to KitKat, it's been much more responsive.

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  • Scott at Apr 9, 2014 at 1:31 pm
    One issue with AutoLocation is that it depends heavily on how well Google
    is working at the time. I've observed that it can be anywhere from much
    more accurate and responsive than Tasker's built in location monitor to
    slightly less accurate and responsive. For me it's normally as good or
    better so I use it. Lately it seems like about every other update from
    Google makes it worse and then it's fixed in the next update. Sort of like
    the Odd/Even Star Trek movie curse, pre Abrams.
    On Tuesday, April 8, 2014 8:43:40 PM UTC-5, PC wrote:

    Geofences are MUCH more responsive (at least in my testing) while driving
    IF the following 2 things are true:

    1) GPS is on (in KitKat, this would be 'High Accuracy' Location settings
    instead of 'Battery Saving')
    2) the AutoLocation monitor has a short update time for the 'Interval'
    setting for the monitor

    I find, for example, before driving and launching my navigation profile,
    that I have to enable the 'High Accuracy' location settings, stop the
    monitor, wait 3 secs, and re-launch the AutoLocation monitor with the new
    settings to ensure that the GPS location co-ordinates are feeding into the
    Geofence monitor (which is also running, by the way). I use pre-set
    geofences to close Waze and switch back to 'Battery Saving' location
    settings when I get to them, so you have to be able to get GPS to feed into
    the Geofence monitor.

    This was absolutely not reliable on JellyBean for me, but I found that
    after I upgraded to KitKat, it's been much more responsive.
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  • UncleMike at Apr 9, 2014 at 3:03 pm
    If I'm using navigation for more than 5-10 minutes, I plug in my phone,
    since frequent GPS updates are required. Other than that I rarely plug in
    my phone except for overnight charging. The GeoFences I've setup are for
    places I visit with some predictability (doctor, dentist, school, etc), so
    I don't normally need navigation to find my way there, and don't want to
    plug in my phone to support frequent GPS updates just so my phone can
    auto-silence when I get to my destination.

    Given the built-in driving detection in my Moto X, I had setup a profile
    that would check my calendar when I stopped driving, and if I had an
    appointment in the next 15-30 minutes it would enable silent mode. This
    works rather well, but I was hoping to further refine it by using
    GeoFences. The way they currently work (without GPS), I can easily be
    inside at my appointment before the GeoFence ever triggers, which is not
    what I'm looking for.
    On Tuesday, April 8, 2014 9:43:40 PM UTC-4, PC wrote:

    Geofences are MUCH more responsive (at least in my testing) while driving
    IF the following 2 things are true:

    1) GPS is on (in KitKat, this would be 'High Accuracy' Location settings
    instead of 'Battery Saving')
    2) the AutoLocation monitor has a short update time for the 'Interval'
    setting for the monitor

    I find, for example, before driving and launching my navigation profile,
    that I have to enable the 'High Accuracy' location settings, stop the
    monitor, wait 3 secs, and re-launch the AutoLocation monitor with the new
    settings to ensure that the GPS location co-ordinates are feeding into the
    Geofence monitor (which is also running, by the way). I use pre-set
    geofences to close Waze and switch back to 'Battery Saving' location
    settings when I get to them, so you have to be able to get GPS to feed into
    the Geofence monitor.

    This was absolutely not reliable on JellyBean for me, but I found that
    after I upgraded to KitKat, it's been much more responsive.
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  • PC at Apr 9, 2014 at 11:31 pm
    I can completely understand that.

    The way mine works is that I get into the car, and plug the phone into
    power, and then the NFC tag triggers a menu selection box, which allows me
    to launch Waze and it then turns on my GPS. Even though I don't *need* navigation
    to get home, Waze will re-route me around bad traffic congestion, so I use
    it (and the menu box automatically picks 'Yes' after a few seconds so it's
    more or less an auto-launch).

    Of course, I also have it set to specifically state PLUG IN POWER before
    it'll turn on GPS, so there you go. No power, no GPS.

    That way I can be sure that my battery won't be eaten alive either. ;)
    On Wednesday, April 9, 2014 8:03:55 AM UTC-7, UncleMike wrote:

    If I'm using navigation for more than 5-10 minutes, I plug in my phone,
    since frequent GPS updates are required. Other than that I rarely plug in
    my phone except for overnight charging. The GeoFences I've setup are for
    places I visit with some predictability (doctor, dentist, school, etc), so
    I don't normally need navigation to find my way there, and don't want to
    plug in my phone to support frequent GPS updates just so my phone can
    auto-silence when I get to my destination.

    Given the built-in driving detection in my Moto X, I had setup a profile
    that would check my calendar when I stopped driving, and if I had an
    appointment in the next 15-30 minutes it would enable silent mode. This
    works rather well, but I was hoping to further refine it by using
    GeoFences. The way they currently work (without GPS), I can easily be
    inside at my appointment before the GeoFence ever triggers, which is not
    what I'm looking for.
    On Tuesday, April 8, 2014 9:43:40 PM UTC-4, PC wrote:

    Geofences are MUCH more responsive (at least in my testing) while driving
    IF the following 2 things are true:

    1) GPS is on (in KitKat, this would be 'High Accuracy' Location settings
    instead of 'Battery Saving')
    2) the AutoLocation monitor has a short update time for the 'Interval'
    setting for the monitor

    I find, for example, before driving and launching my navigation profile,
    that I have to enable the 'High Accuracy' location settings, stop the
    monitor, wait 3 secs, and re-launch the AutoLocation monitor with the new
    settings to ensure that the GPS location co-ordinates are feeding into the
    Geofence monitor (which is also running, by the way). I use pre-set
    geofences to close Waze and switch back to 'Battery Saving' location
    settings when I get to them, so you have to be able to get GPS to feed into
    the Geofence monitor.

    This was absolutely not reliable on JellyBean for me, but I found that
    after I upgraded to KitKat, it's been much more responsive.
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  • UncleMike at Apr 10, 2014 at 3:34 am
    I decided to try using am AutoLocation Location action to force recognition of my current location when I stop driving, and hopefully trigger any appropriate GeoFences in the process.

    But, I'll be away for the next 6 days, so I won't have any testing opportunities during that time.

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  • Pent at Mar 25, 2014 at 8:59 am
    You can of course increase the off-check time if you want more
    responsiveness.

    Also if I remember right you're using that Moto phone with the hardware
    sensor processing, possibly there's a low-power-and-frequent location check
    there.

    Pent

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  • UncleMike at Mar 25, 2014 at 12:14 pm
    I know I *can* do that, but I'd prefer not to wake the device more
    frequently just for that.

    And yes, I am using "that" phone (Moto X - thanks for remembering!). I'm
    hoping that Motorola was smart enough to have Google's "fuse" geofencing
    and location montoring run on the low-power, always-awake core. In a
    recent wish list survey for a Moto X successor, my main request was to
    allow apps like Tasker to run on the same low-power core, and have access
    to all the built-in contextual awareness. Tasker never shows up on my
    battery usage list anyway, but that's likely because I purposely don't use
    any power-hungry contexts.
    On Tuesday, March 25, 2014 4:59:53 AM UTC-4, Pent wrote:

    You can of course increase the off-check time if you want more
    responsiveness.

    Also if I remember right you're using that Moto phone with the hardware
    sensor processing, possibly there's a low-power-and-frequent location check
    there.

    Pent
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