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Frequently asked questions

Desktop or online edition?

No, Automate is an Android app, currently not available on any other platform. To edit flows on a Windows or MacOS computer use an Android emulator, like BlueStacks.

Flow made device inaccessible!

See safe mode (device recovery).

Premium no longer working!

Verification of premium ownership may fail if there’s a problem communicating with the Google Play Store app, try rebooting the device. See premium page for further information.

Excessive battery usage!

Automate should use very little battery while in the background running flows, if the flows are properly made. Common flow design mistakes which could cause excessive battery usage:

  • Repeatedly checking (“polling”) state at a timed interval, e.g. checking Wi-Fi connectivity every 5 minutes, as this may prevent the device from going into a low-power “sleep” state. The solution is to set the Proceed option to When changed (or alike) so the flow will pause, allowing the device to “sleep” until the state has actually changed.
  • D.I.Y. geofencing by repeatedly executing a Location get and/or Wi-Fi network scan block, as this may also prevent the device from “sleeping”. The solution is to use the Location at block and let the system handle the geofencing without the need to have Automate constantly working.
  • A looping flow without any blocks using a “When changed” Proceed option, as this will cause the flow to run continuously. The solution is to ensure a flow has a block where it will pause, awaiting an event.

The flowchart editor is graphically demanding so editing flows often may use more battery.

Flow stopping!

A flow should only stop if an failure occurs, or it’s explicitly stopped. A flow will run until reaching an unconnected dot, so to be kept running all dots should connect to another block. This will, and should, create an infinite loop, if the flow is meant to run indefinitely.

If a flow stop because of a failure, and that’s not what you want, use the Failure catch block to handle the failure and keep the flow running.

If flows are running when Automate is open but seem to pause otherwise, see Automate not running.

Automate not running!

If flows, or a particular feature used therein, are running without issue but pause when the screen is turned off or when Automate is no longer in the foreground, it’s likely caused by some kind of “power save” feature.

The “power save” could be a custom device manufacturer feature, the Android 5+ Power save mode, the Android 6+ Device doze mode and/or a “task killer” app like Greenify.

Disable the “power save” feature or exclude/whitelist Automate from it. On Android 6+ that’s done in system Battery settings, Battery optimizations (menu). This should make Automate more reliable, without much battery usage, since the blocks will be able to control (see Device keep awake block) when the device can to enter low-power “sleep” or “doze” mode.

Some Huawei devices have a non-standard Protected Apps feature, ensure Automate is enabled as such.

Some Xiaomi devices have a non-standard way to Manage apps battery usage in system Battery & performance settings, ensure Automate has No restrictions.

If the Hide “running” notification option is enabled, try disabling, as it’s using a hack which may not work on all devices.

By default flows don’t resume running after a system reboot, enable the Run on system startup option in Automate settings to let them do so automatically.

I can’t uninstall Automate!

Apps that are enabled as Device administrator can’t be uninstalled until disabled as such. Disable it in Automate settings or system Device administrator settings.

I can’t install permissions

Automate will install permission add-ons contained within its own package (apk) if Unknown source option is enabled in system Security settings. If the Install button in the “package installer” doesn’t respond, try disabling all screen overlay/filter apps, e.g. used to lower the brightness, as they may interfere with the button.

If the issue persist, disable the Unknown source option in system Security settings to install the add-ons directly from the Google Play Store.

I can’t restore backup!

  • If you can’t restore an Automate backup stored on the SD card. Remember that Automate, by default, can’t access the SD card. Grant access to “photos, media and files on your device” in Privileges settings, before restoring the backup.
  • If you open a backup file from within another app like Google Drive, that app may send the wrong file type. Automate will then fail with an “Corrupt flow” error as it tries to import the file as a flow. Always use the Restore backup option in settings.
  • If the backup file is disabled/gray in the Google Drive app, it usually means there’s a MIME type issue. Long-tap the file and choose Download, then restore the downloaded backup file instead, it’s located in the “Downloads” directory on the SD card/Internal storage. On the (Android 5+) system “file chooser” screen if the backup file is still disabled/gray, choose to “open from” (see left drawer) the SD card with an Automate icon.

Corrupt flow!

If a flow stops working with an “Failed to read parcel” error after you’ve upgraded to a newer Android version, you’ll have to reconfigure all the App start shortcut and Plug-in blocks. This happens when Android has changed its internal data format.

A general “Failed to read flow” error message can appear when importing a flow and Automate is unable to access/read the data. This can be caused by a lack of privilege, or an issue with the app providing the data stream.

A “Corrupt flow” error message can appear when restoring a backup, see I can’t restore backup.

Crash when starting flow!

If Automate crashed when starting a flow, try increasing the stack size in settings.

The “running” notification?

A permanent notification is an Android requirement to keep a background service running, without it Automate would become very unreliable.

However the notification can be hidden by turning off the Running notification channel in system App notification settings on Android 8 or later, or by enabling the Hide “running” notification option in settings, on prior Android versions.

Disabling all notifications for Automate, in system Apps settings, is not advised as it will hinder the “pick” blocks from working correctly, prevent the Notification show block from showing any notification, and it may also prevent the Toast show block from displaying “toast” messages.

Why the extensions (add-ons)?

See security.

Note! This documentation can also be found in the Help & feedback menu of the app.