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How to automatically send an 'I'm busy!' text from your Android phone

Sharon Machlis | Jan. 7, 2016
You can use the Tasker and Trigger Android apps to let people know why you're not answering your texts.

If you use Message+, adjust your profile to signify SMS as the Type for received messages, not Any. In fact, if you use another app besides Samsung's stock SMS app or Google Messenger, you might want to test first to make sure received photos don't set off an SMS firestorm. Or you can just autorespond message to plain SMS messages by typing SMS and not Any or MMS.

4) This next part may seem a little counterintuitive, but it's because Trigger can't turn Tasker profiles on and off; it only interacts with tasks. Ideally, you'd want to use Trigger to switch the profile created above on and off, but you can't. The solution is to create two more tasks: Mtng Profile ON and Mtng Profile OFF.

For the Mtng Profile ON task, add an Action by navigating to Tasker / Profile Status. Click the search icon above the Name field and select Mtng Receive Text (or whatever you called your profile in step 3) and change the Set option to On. Tap Action Edit in the top nav twice to back out.

If you also created silencing tasks, add your Meeting START Silence task to your profile by adding a second action: Go to Task / Perform Task then tap the search icon and choose Meeting START Silence. Tap Action Edit on the top nav bar twice to back out.

Do the same thing for Mtng Profile OFF, but set the profile option to Off. If you want your phone to be unmuted after your meeting, don't forget to add a second action for Task / Perform Task and then select Meeting END Silence after tapping the search icon.

5) Now we're done with Tasker and it's time to open Trigger — which, you'll likely be happy to learn, is usually more intuitive than Tasker.

Click on the + (inside a green circle) at the bottom right on your Trigger home screen and you'll be prompted to "Add one or more triggers." Click the plus there (this time inside a gray circle); when asked to Select Trigger, choose Calendar Event (you may need to scroll down).

You'll be given several options. The default is when any event on any of your calendars begins. I found this to be too broad, especially since my husband and I share calendars and my phone was sending out autoresponses every time one of his events began. Even without shared calendars, though, I don't necessarily want my phone sending out "I'm busy now" texts for every event on my calendar.

My solution was to add mutephone to the title of every calendar entry where I want autorespond turned on and the phone to be silenced. I'll admit this is an imperfect solution, since a) you have to remember to do when entering calendar events and b) it's unlikely you can do this for items pulled in from a corporate calendar (so it may apply to only a small percentage of instances when you'd want to use it). But you've got the option — and you can also tell the trigger to only involve items matching certain words (such as "meeting").

 

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