Tasker is a powerful tool that users can take advantage of to automate their Android device depending on a number of rules. These include the ability to control radios and device settings depending on circumstances such as time and location. Tasker has hundreds of profiles that have been created by users and shared across the Internet. Given the complexity of Tasker, there is a free (limited) version and a paid-for, or premium, unrestricted version. Would-be paying customers can download and try the free version before deciding if they wish to opt for the premium version. However, unfortunately the application has disappeared from the Google Play Store. The application developer, Pent, said this on the matter: “Google have removed it, as far as I can see mistakenly since they are complaining about something being in the manifest which is simply not there. In a couple of days, after I’ve got a few thousand complaint emails, they may have gotten round to reading the appeal.”
There have been a number of theories as to why Google have removed Tasker, including how a number of rogue Tasker applications appeared on the Amazon App Store, but it appears that Google have removed the listing because Tasker requires the “REQUEST_IGNORE_BATTERY_OPTIMIZATIONS” permission, which is responsible for another developer’s application being removed recently. Google’s stance on an application interfering with the battery optimization code is clear cut: Google will ban an application if it attempts to exclude itself from Android 6.0’s new power management features (meaning Doze and App Standby), unless to stop this function will impact the core function of the application. In the past, changing the application to remove the offending permission before resubmitting was all that was required.
Matters are somewhat convoluted because Pent has explained that it is only the beta version of Tasker that contains the REQUEST_IGNORE_BATTERY_OPTIMIZATIONS permission, which means that Google are being aggressive with the application. Currently, the only applications that are allowed to circumvent the power management functionality appear to be instant message clients; Google’s approach is somewhat binary. Unfortunately, keeping the application or a task as a foreground object does not prevent Doze from kicking in, which shuts down many threads in order to reduce battery life. As we can see from Pent’s statement, he has appealed the application being removed from the Google Play Store and so the wait begins to see what happens next.
UPDATE: The app is now live once again.