Friday, September 10, 2021

A Silent Phone and A Buzzing Watch; My Latest Notification Strategy

I have a vague memory of a PocketNow watch review where the reviewer noted that he always kept his phone on silent and depended on the watch to deliver notifications. I can't tell you the watch being reviewed, or who the reviewer was; but the idea stuck in my head.

A few months ago, after frustrations trying to set up the perfect Do-Not-Disturb schedule I realized I could try this method. I put my phone on mute and depended on my Vivoactive 4 to alert me to calls, messages and other notifications.

It worked! I found that I was reliably getting alerts without disturbing those around me. I can't believe I didn't try this approach sooner.

I found two gotchas with this setup: first, for reasons that are beyond me, my phone would occasionally turn off Mute and start to make noise again. Second, I didn't love that if my phone got disconnected from my watch it would remain in mute, leaving me with no way to get notifications.

Both of these issues were easy to fix with Tasker. Here's how.

Always Be Silent

Forcing my device to always be in mute mode turns out to be straightforward. I created a profile that is triggered whenever the variable %SILENT is changed. I then have that profile call a task that executes the Sound Mode action, setting the phone's mode back to 'Mute.' Here's how it's setup:

The %SILENT variable is built into Tasker and changes anytime the phone is put into or out of silent (mute) mode. Watching this variable is enough to know when to take corrective action.

Download from Taskernet: Force Silent Mode

No Watch, No Silence

If my watch gets disconnected from my phone I want to stop forcing the phone to always be silent. For this to happen, I created a profile that uses the BT Connection event. This event can detect when my watch connects or disconnects from the phone. This profile kicks off a task which consults %bt_connected. If true, then the watch is connected I enable the Force Silent Mode profile from above and force the phone's sound mode to Mute. If false, I disable the Force Silent Mode profile an set the phone's sound mode to 'Sound.'

I love how I can have this task enable or disable the Force Silent Mode profile. This let's me leverage Tasker's internal state rather than needing to write code to track whether the phone should ever be allowed to unmute.

Download from Taskernet: Watch Status Changed

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