Is there any app or setting that will automatically check in to foursquare when I arrive at a venue without having to take out the phone and click the app? Preferably something where I can mark "favorite" venues to check in to, such as work.
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Tasker can do it, using the foursquare API and the HTTP POST task
In the http post task, fill out the form as follows:
vid is the numeric id you can get from foursquare.com by looking up the venue. I have it set to not share auto checkins with others. You can also use a tasker variable for VID and define the VID from other events.. IE, I have my office assigned by 'cell near', same with the park where I walk my dogs.. I just call the named tasker task and it checks me in when I get to that location. I follow it up with a 'Notify' action to let me know it checked it, and what venueid (this was mainly for testing..) You will want to use a phone number login for foursquare, not a emailaddress.. the @ sign in the email will confuse the http post function.
The old HTTP POST task method with Tasker doesn't work anymore, ever since Foursquare updated their api.
This FsIntents app does the job though. Works really well!
I would also suggest Radii Auto Checkin.
I made a newer app that does exactly what you asked: Check Me In Non commercial and free to use.
The problem I had with the tasker approach is that it doesn't include your location in the http request, a tasker checkin is not valid for your mayorship.
Your getting into Tasker or Locale territory here (both are apps you can download from the marketplace). Both apps allow you to configure anything you want on your phone and would probably allow you to configure this. You would need to setup GPS points and actions that are triggered by entering those GPS points in either app. Keep in mind this will increase battery usage as your GPS will have to beacon (per how you configure it) to determine if you enter those locations.
Might actually take less time and be all around easier to make a shortcut on your phone to Foursquare and just open it. Rather than go through and program one of those apps which would take some time.