I'm thinking of installing Tasker on my phone, but I don't want to root it. Is it worth my while?

What Tasker tasks require root access? What can it do without root access?


Here are some examples:

  • I would like to turn on the GPS whenever I start certain apps (various driving directions apps, for instance), and turn it off when I exit them. I understand that apps can't turn on the GPS (otherwise the apps in question would do it themselves instead of directing me to the settings). Tasker claims to be able to do that. Does it need root for that?

  • I remember seeing somewhere (lifehacker maybe?) that Tasker can disable the lock screen based on location, such as when I get home, and turn it off when I leave. Can it do that? Does it need root access for that?

  • 2
    "Is it worth my while?" is too subjective, and "What Tasker tasks require root access? What can it do without root access?" is incredibly broad and would result in a never-ending list. I suggest asking something specific like "Can I do X with Tasker, and does it require root?" Commented Mar 23, 2011 at 13:46
  • 1
    @Matthew: good point. I updated the question with some examples. Commented Mar 23, 2011 at 13:55

3 Answers 3


The simple answer is that it requires root to do things that would require root if they weren't automated by Tasker and you were doing them manually. Tasker is irrelevant.

Edit: Turning on/off GPS does not require root. Apps must be able to do it, because Power Widget can. As for the lock screen, I think what you read must have actually referred to the keyguard (the "swype to unlock" screen). The phone is not locked the same way as it is with a pattern/password when the keyguard is on; it's just to prevent accidentally keypresses, not for security. Tasker can disable the keyguard.

  • 1
    Actually, GPS turn on / off does require root. The Power Widget thing just takes you to the settings page
    – Diskdrive
    Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 1:40

I'm not sure what you're talking about, Tasker does not require root for any of its features.

From their website:

This simple concept profoundly extends your control of your Android device and it's capabilities, without the need for 'root' or a special home screen.

  • 1
    there are some tasks in tasker which need root privileges, i.e. toggle 2g only / 2g and 3g.
    – Diego
    Commented Aug 12, 2011 at 21:33
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    This answer is just wrong. There's lots (I would say most of the useful ones) of features it can't do without root. toggling GPS, DPAD, set CPU frequency etc.)
    – Diskdrive
    Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 1:34
  • @Diskdrive this answer is right in literal sense. Tasker doesn't request root access, but due to Android API changes over the time, some of the functions need root, which Tasker can't do it. That's why there are 3rd-party app/plugins that require root access and accessible by Tasker.
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 7:35

I was in the same boat as you. Wanted tasker, didn't want to root my app.

After downloading it, I did it find it fairly limiting without a root because as Matthew Read said, it basically only allows you to do the things that any other app could do. So unless your requirement are some niche thing that you wanted, there's probably an app that does it for you anyway.

Some of the things that can't be done without a root include

  • Turning GPS on / off
  • Toggling 3g on / off
  • Setting CPU speed
  • DPAD (allows you to script the phone like it was being used)
  • turn the screen on
  • reboot the phone

I mainly got Tasker as I thought I could optimize the battery life on my phone but without those settings, there's not that much I can really do.

Still worth the 2 bucks though, been great learning playing with it. And maybe down the line, I will go and root my phone.

EDIT - this answer is only for ICS and above. Not sure what it'd be if you were still on Gingerbread


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