I am on call sometimes and I am getting SMS and email from our systems. The sender is an email to SMS gateway that is unique to this and always the same, the messages start with the same words. I need to be woken up by them, but right now, that isn't happening.

I use Locale, and the Locale "Inbound SMS" Plug-in, but that does not seem to be working yet (with a test account, it does not go full loud and alt ring tone).

I would like it to do something like have a song start playing loudly. It would also be nice if it sanely handled getting 200 pages in 10 min (probably just disable Locale).

I have T-Mobile G1 on Android 1.6. I could root it if it is needed, but really rather not.

Any tips or thoughts?

6 Answers 6


I went with Tasker, it is a bit cheaper (especially when you realize that you are less likely to need plug ins with it, though it can use Locale plug ins it seems), it is trickier to get running, but allows for a much wider range of options than Locale.

So when it sees an SMS come in with "PROBLEM" in the subject, it turns music playback to maximum volume, and then starts playing a song in a loop, until you click on the stop button. I need to add the feature to not trigger again for a few minutes (to deal with the flood issue).

I looked at Setting Profiles web page, but have not tried it.

  • I'd probably set it to do that based on the sender's no. rather than the text asotherwise my family sending me a message asking for help with their PC would be liable to set it off
    – Rich Seller
    Aug 4, 2010 at 21:09

Tasker is undoubtedly a powerful answer to this and MANY other wants, so you have probably solved your need. I will just add, a good point-solution for this specific need would be Where's My Droid. It is a free app, geared toward finding a misplaced phone. But it would work for this use case as well, with the exception that you don't get to select a custom ringtone.


I am the developer of Locale.

This can be accomplished with Locale, with a slight tweak to the current setup.

As current described, you have a race condition: Locale is increasing the volume but only after Android has already posted the notification, so the volume increase appears to have no effect.

To get this to work correctly, try the Locale Notification Plug-in to post a separate notification when the text message comes in. The Notification Plug-in has a "force volume" option that will turn the volume up and ensure the notification is heard.


Why not just use Handcent SMS and configure a custom "loud" ringtone for that particular sender. you can also configure the app to repeat the alert every X minutes, so you keep getting reminded until you dismiss the alert.

In Handcent, open the conversation thread you want to customise and click the Personalization icon (in the top bar, to the right of the name of the person). you can then set different notification icon / ringtone / vibrate pattern and LED settings (if your device has one).


You can do this using Android Automate, an app I personally prefer to Tasker for most things. Here's a screenshot of the flow I used to trigger an alarm when a text is received from a specific phone number. Use this screenshot to see the order in which the blocks need to connect to each other.

And the details of the blocks:

SMS received

This block waits for a text to be received. Set the "Phone number" field to the number you want to watch.

Sound play

This is what we'll use to simulate the alarm. Set the "Proceed" option to "Immediately." This will ensure that the sound plays continuously until we manually stop it using another block. For good measure, check the "Repeat sound indefinitely" checkbox as well.

Set the "Notification channel" to a user-managed channel with "Urgent" priority. If you don't already have one, in the dialog that appears, click the plus button at the top of the dialog to create the new channel. You'll then need to save out of the block and flow, all the way back to the list of all flows. Then tap the hamburger menu at the top of the screen and click "Settings" > "Notification channels." Then tap on the name of the new channel you created. This will take you to your phone's settings for the channel. Set "Importance" to "Urgent", and turn on both "Vibrate" and "Override Do Not Disturb." Then go back to the Automate app and return to editing the new flow.

Dialog message

This displays a dialog that you have to manually close before we'll stop the sound.

Set the title and message options to whatever you wish, and check "Show window directly if possible."

Sound stop

This is what stops the alarm once you close out the dialog. It's important that you connect this block's "OK" circle to the "IN" circle of the "SMS received" block. Doing this ensures that the flow will loop and continue listening for SMS messages once an alarm is dismissed.

Finishing Setup

Once you've finished creating the flow, save it, rename it to what you wish, and click the "Start" button. It's also a good idea to go to the app's settings and enable "Run on system startup." This will ensure that the SMS alarms flow will resume immediately when you restart the phone.


I saw a tip recently: You can set your "Where's My Droid?" passphrase to be that string that you're expecting. That'll change the device from silent mode and go to maximum volume.

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