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I need to force a selected application to start up each time my Android-based device is (re)started.

Is there anything I can use (configuration setting, external application etc.) to accomplish this task? Or is this kind of behavior limited to home screen managers only?

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Most Android OEMs do not provide a built-in auto-start manager. However, Android allows apps to listen to the system's BOOT_COMPLETED event to do something, including running other apps.

Example of using general apps:

Tasker (paid app):

  1. Create a Profile: Event - System - Device Boot
  2. Create a Task with Action: App - Launch App - (Select the app)
    Note: Tasker also recommends adding Task - Wait for around 5 seconds first before doing other tasks to ensure that the system is ready after booting.
  3. Link the Profile to the Task

MacroDroid (free for 5 macros, pro version available)

  1. Add Macro - Enter macro name
  2. Triggers: Devices Events - Device Boot
  3. Actions: Applications - Launch Application - Select Application - (Select the app)

Otherwise, there are 3rd-party apps made specifically for this purpose. Some keywords that might help:

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    Surely there has to be somewhere in the system that sets what apps start when. Download another app can't be the answer to every question. Oct 30, 2019 at 13:15
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    @AuntJemima unfortunately, no. Unlike other OSes which has system-level settings (e.g. Windows 10), Android apps rely on a system event to indicate that the Android OS has finished booting (android.intent.action.BOOT_COMPLETED), and then apps can try to run themselves after this to simulate the startup on other OSes. If the developer doesn't add this to their app, then it will never run on startup. However, since apps can also run other apps, these "startup" apps listen to that event and run other apps.
    – Andrew T.
    Oct 30, 2019 at 13:23
  • All the apps that show up for your keyword searches have awful ratings, around 3 Seems like the best is to use Tasker, even though it's not free (3.59 EUR for me)? Maybe it'd be good to link to definite apps instead of keyword searches, and put Tasker up higher unless there's an app that you'd recommend. The keyword search doesn't help me at all. Jun 6 at 14:39
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    @CorneliusRoemer unfortunately, I can't really recommend specific apps on Play Store because they always have a possibility of being taken down by Google (see the revision history). There are other possibilities like using general automation apps (some may be free, though I haven't tried it), but that usually needs more setup.
    – Andrew T.
    Jun 6 at 14:49
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    @CorneliusRoemer thanks for the suggestion, I restructured the answer and also added MacroDroid as an option (first time testing it). I still provided the keyword search just in case other users are also okay with those apps.
    – Andrew T.
    Jun 6 at 15:24

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