How To Create Automated Daily Routines On Your Android

Photo: Drew Angerer, Getty Images

I’ve been using daily routines with my smart speaker ever since Amazon rolled them out for its Echo devices. And I don’t trigger chained actions by yelling out some random phrase. Rather, I have my routines fire off at different times during the day — really, just wake-up time and bed time — so I can get a quick snapshot of important information, like the weather and upcoming calendar events.

If you don’t have a smart speaker and instead wake up to the soothing sounds of your Android smartphone, you can now replicate these kinds of routines on your device. Google has updated Android’s standard Clock app to include Google Assistant, and setting up daily routines that trigger at specific times is as easy as it is convenient.

To start, make sure you’re running the latest version of Google’s Clock app via Google Play. If you don’t have Clock on your smartphone for whatever reason, you can download it here.

Screenshot: David Murphy

Pull up the Clock app, tap on the Alarm section, and tap on the big blue plus icon at the bottom to create a new alarm. Set the time you’d want you routine to start, tap OK, and set it up to repeat (if you want) and ring or vibrate (probably unnecessary if you’re just creating a daily routine, rather than an alarm+routine combination).

Screenshot: David Murphy

Once you’ve done that, tap on the new “Google Assistant Routine” option below “Label”, and you’ll get a big splash page that tells you a bit more about what routines are. To get started, tap the small “Set up Routine” box in the lower-right corner.

Screenshot: David Murphy

You’ll then see a screen that should look pretty familiar if you own any of Google’s smart speakers. If this is all new to you, take a moment to bask in what your smartphone will now do for you. This includes:

  • Setting your device’s volume to your preferred setting at a specific time

  • Turning connected smart devices on and off, including lighting and switches, or adjusting your home thermostat to a specific setting

  • Giving you a heads-up about the weather

  • Telling you how great (or terrible) your commute to work might be today

  • Going over today’s calendar events

  • Reminding you about any reminders you previously created

Once Google Assistant has gone through these items on your list, it can end your routine by playing the latest updates from your favourite news sources, turning on a podcast, or starting an audiobook — a perfect pairing for your morning oatmeal, assuming you’re eating it today.

Screenshot: David Murphy

After you’ve made your selections for whatever routine you’re creating, scroll to the top of your screen to change the order of most of your selections — playing the news, podcasts, or an audiobook will always come after your other items. To finalise your routine, tap the grey check mark. You’ll be asked if you’d like Assistant to run your routine from the lock screen to finish up. Sure, why not?

Now that your daily routine is live, you can go back and edit any options you want by tapping on the Google Assistant Routine title — not the minus sign with a circle around it — within the alarm’s options. The minus icon doesn’t pop up a confirmation if you tap it, so be careful when you’re navigating this section, or you might accidentally delete your customised routine.


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