Locale is the longest standing app available on Google Play, continously refreshed since October 2008.
The latest release version of Locale is 6.4.0 (release notes).
Locale X, the next major version of Locale, is also under beta testing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does Locale stop running in the background?
A "battery saver" is preventing the app from running. The symptoms vary from Locale stopping after a few days, not running when the screen is off, or not starting when Android is rebooted. Locale's ongoing notification might disappear, and Locale will "wake up" only when tapping on the app's icon from the Android home screen.
To fix this, look in the Android settings and exclude Locale from being closed. Since every Android device is different, take a look at the device-specific instructions.
Why doesn't Locale start when I reboot Android?
Locale starts automatically after Android is rebooted and unlocked for the first time. If you have a password set on your device, apps are not allowed to run until after you first unlock the device, because the phone's storage is encrypted until the password is entered.
We do not recommend enabling automatic daily reboots which is a feature offered on some Android models, because Locale won't run until after you unlock the device. For example, some models offer to reboot at night while you're sleeping such as at 4am. Locale won't be able to start running until you wake up and unlock your phone.
If Locale does not launch after reboot and unlock, check your Android settings. Some models are configured to block apps launching automatically after reboot.
Why won't my situation change? IT'S NOT WORKING 😡
Usually this is just a minor misconfiguration of the situations. Let's narrow things down:
- Is the issue with the conditions or the settings? Look to see if the situation is becoming active. Active situations are indicated by a colored dot in the situation list. In addition, active situations are listed in Locale's ongoing notification in the pull-down notification area. If the situation is not becoming active, the problem is with the conditions. If the situation is becoming active, but not behaving as expected, then likely the problem is with the settings.
- Can you try something simpler? Try replacing all of the Conditions with something like the Charger condition and replacing all of the Settings with a Volume setting. This should work reliably, and provides a good baseline to start with.
- If you're using a third party plug-in, try seeing if a situation using only Locale's built-in conditions and settings works. Third party plug-ins are not made by the developers of Locale, so they may be buggy. If you have questions about the performance of a third party plug-in, please contact the plug-in developer directly.
Why won't Locale detect my location?
Arriving at a location should be detected almost instantly.
Leaving a location may take a few minutes to detect, in order to conserve battery power. Locale uses a combination of distance and time, and the distance to exit a location is much further away than the distance to enter a location. This approach improves reliability, especially when near the edge of a location.
If Locale does not update your location, there could be bad location data in your area which can be corrected with Calibration:
To perform calibration, open the Location condition and choose "Calibrate" under the menu or Action Bar. Pick a nearby Wi-Fi access point, and then drag-and-drop the pin to the right spot.
If the pin is way off (e.g. hundreds or thousands of kilometers off), zoom out to move the pin long distances and then zoom back in to position it precisely. If the pin is already correct, zoom in and move the pin at least a tiny bit. Calibration will only be saved if the pin is moved at least a little bit.
Calibration will not only correct bad location data, but it can also reduce battery usage. It does not matter if the access point is secured. It does not matter if the access point has Internet access. Locale merely uses the presence of the access point as a reference point; Locale does not connect to it. Afterwards, you do not need to leave Wi-Fi enabled.
How do I make my locations smaller?
Location accuracy varies from place to place, so Locale adjusts Location condition size based on the accuracy available from sensor readings. This ensures Locale can consistently detect the location when you arrive.
For far away locations where Locale may not know the accuracy, the minimum size is 500 meters. In other words, dragging the pin or doing a search by address creates a larger location.
To create smaller locations, physically move yourself to the place you want, and then try creating a new Location condition while there. The minimum size is 100 meters. If the size is still larger than 100 meters, that means the signals in your area are not as accurate. To improve the accuracy, you can perform Calibration by tapping the bullseye icon in the menu bar.
Although Google Maps may show a smaller location circle than Locale, Google's circle is only 65% confident. Locale requires greater than 99% confidence to work reliably, which means a larger circle.
Why does Wi-Fi keep turning on and off?
Locale will sometimes perform brief Wi-Fi scans (even if Wi-Fi is turned off) to determine your location accurately. Although it seems counterintuitive, these Wi-Fi scans significantly improve location accuracy and battery life. Without Wi-Fi scans, location accuracy is typically within 2,000 meters. With Wi-Fi scans, location accuracy is typically within 100 meters.
Android has a setting to allow Locale to perform Wi-Fi scans without turning Wi-Fi on. This setting varies from device to device. Try opening the Android Location settings. On some devices, there is an option for Scanning, while others hide it under the "..." menu.
If you really wish to disable these Wi-Fi scans, Locale has an easter egg: make all your locations at least 2,000 meters or larger so that Locale can rely only on cell towers.
For Xiaomi devices: You can disable the prompt about Locale toggling Wi-Fi. Go to the Android Settings, look under Apps, and find Locale. From there grant Locale permission to change Wi-Fi.
How do I backup Locale?
Locale automatically makes backups of your situations.
Whenever a situation is modified, Locale automatically places a backup on every external storage volume. This also means the SD Card if present. The path is /Android/data/com.twofortyfouram.locale/files/backup.xml.gz.
If this file exists when Locale is installed, Locale will automatically ask to restore from it. Locale is very picky about where this file is placed. If Locale doesn't ask to restore, double-check the file is in the correct place.
This file will be deleted automatically if Locale is uninstalled, so consider copying it to a safe place before uninstalling Locale.
To move Locale's configuration to a new device, either transfer the SD card or manually copy the file from the old phone to the same location on the new phone and create the folders if they do not exist. Mac users may need Android File Transfer.
I see the Shortcut setting opens apps... how do I kill apps?
Android treats memory differently than a desktop computer. When leaving an app, it is paused rather than killed, so that returning to it later is faster. If Android needs more memory, it will automatically close apps that have been paused but have not been used recently. Because Android manages memory automatically, "task killer" apps are not allowed by Android.
While it is not possible to "kill" apps on Android, the Shortcut setting can be used to simulate this behavior by bringing the Home screen to the foreground. To do this, create a new Shortcut setting that opens the "Launcher" or "Home" app (on HTC devices, the Launcher might be called "HTC Sense"). When the setting is fired, it will bring the Home screen to the foreground, pausing whatever application was previously on the screen.
How do I disable Locale's ongoing notification icon?
Locale displays an ongoing notification in order to reliably monitor conditions. Android aggressively kills background apps, except for apps displaying an ongoing notification. For this reason, Locale's ongoing notification is necessary.
Android allows Locale's ongoing notification to be entirely disabled, without impacting reliability. To completely disable Locale's ongoing notification, go to Android Settings -> Apps -> Locale and uncheck "Show notifications."
Note Android 8.0 Oreo displays a second notification saying "Locale is running in the background." This notification comes from Android and cannot be disabled in Android 8.0. It is displayed for ALL apps that run in the background, and is not specific to Locale. Android 8.1 will allow this notification to be disabled for Locale, since Locale already displays its own separate notification.
We do not recommend disabling Locale's notification, as it provides best status of Locale's state. If troubleshooting, please turn the notification back on. This is useful to 1. see if Locale is still running and 2. see status of situations. Although situation status can be seen by opening Locale, tapping on Locale's icon also causes a implicit refresh of all conditions which may make troubleshooting more difficult.
Why is my Calendar condition not correctly detected?
Calendar events have some subtle behavior. Go into the Calendar app and check these properties of the event:
- Is the calendar event marked "free" or "busy?" Locale ignores events marked as free.
- Was the calendar event created by you or was it an invitation from someone else? Locale only detects events where you've confirmed attendance. Tenative or unconfirmed events are ignored.
- Is the calendar event an all day event? Locale by default ignores all day events.
Locale is not able to read calendars directly from the Outlook app. For Outlook (Microsoft Exchange) calendars, add the account under the Android settings app which will make the calendars visible.
Why does Locale think I am driving when I'm not?
Try adding a Charger condition for plugged-in to your Driving situation. Most people connect their phone to a charger while in the car, so this has the additional benefit of not activating when a passenger in someone else's car or while on a bus.
- Display Sleep timeouts can be blocked by Device Administrators. For example, if your company's security policy requires the device to be locked within 5 minutes then the Display Sleep setting timeout options greater than 5 minutes will be silently blocked.
- Location accuracy will be reduced while Wi-Fi tethering is active. For this reason, USB tethering is recommended instead.
Locale is compatible with Android 4.4 through Android 9. Locale supports all screen resolutions and screen sizes. Locale supports phones, tablets, media players, and even TVs. Locale is tested extensively on a wide variety of Android devices in our lab from nearly every manufacturer.
Although Locale is compatible with about 8,700 Android devices, there are a few known issues which are documented below. New devices are tested as soon as they are available, and this list is continuously updated.
- Android Q (10.0)
- Android Go (low memory devices for developing countries) do not allow Locale to launch apps starting with Android Q.
- Android Q warns that Locale 6 is designed for an older version of Android. Overall Locale 6 will run just fine as long as permissions are granted for the conditions and settings that you're using (Location and Bluetooth require phone call access for improved location detection and avoiding toggling Bluetooth while you're on a call). Locale X is the next major version of Locale, which will be designed to avoid this warning message.
- Android Oreo (8.0)
- Android 8.0 has a new feature to display a notification when any apps are running in the background, with the intention of making sure apps cannot run without the user's knowledge. Because Locale runs in the background, this extra notification is always present. This is an Android feature and cannot be hidden in Android 8.0. Android 8.1 fixes this and allows this extra notification to be hidden.
- Some Android devices do not honor the "vibrate when calling" option in the Volume setting. We're working on a solution to be included in Locale X.
- Caller conditions may not work reliably for Android 6.0 and later. We're working on a solution to be included in Locale X.
- Third party tethering apps that require root may conflict with the Location condition. To use root tethering apps, we recommend one of the following workarounds: 1. While root tethering is enabled, temporarily turn Locale off from the menu or Action Bar of Locale's main screen. 2. Make all locations 2,000 meters or larger to implicitly disable Locale's Wi-Fi location feature. 3. Don't use the Location condition.
- Samsung devices have a "battery saver" that prevents Locale from running in the background. Locale needs to be whitelisted following these instructions.
- Samsung devices running Android 9 will attempt to restore the notification volume to their previous value, despite what Locale sets the volume to
- Some Huawei devices running Android 9 will display a dialog every time Locale tries to toggle Bluetooth.
- Huawei devices have a "battery saver" that prevents Locale from running in the background. Locale needs to be whitelisted following these instructions.
- Some Xiaomi devices running Android 9 will display a dialog every time Locale tries to toggle Wi-Fi. Workaround: Open the Android settings, go to Apps, find Locale, and change the permission option to allow Locale to control Wi-Fi.
- Due to an HTC bug, some HTC devices running Android 4.0 or later will return to the Android Home screen, rather than Locale's Edit Situation screen, after selecting a wallpaper in Locale's Wallpaper setting. To complete setting up the Wallpaper setting, re-open Locale and then the Wallpaper setting will finish saving.
- Some OnePlus devices have a switch on the side to control the ringer mode between ring, vibrate, and do not disturb. Depending on what position the switch is in, Locale may not be able to change the ringer volume.
- OnePlus devices have a "battery saver" that prevents Locale from running in the background. Locale needs to be whitelisted following these instructions.
- Sony devices have a bug that prevents the Orientation condition from working reliably, therefore the Orientation condition is disabled on Sony Ericsson devices.
For help with downloads, installs, refunds, payments, account transfers, or store access, please contact the Google Play team through the Google Play Help Center. We do not have the ability to administer your Google Play account.
For help with third party plug-ins for Locale, please contact the plug-in developer directly.
For help with Locale, please open Locale and choose "Contact support" from the menu. This will attach information about your setup to your question so that we can help more quickly. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org, however you will receive a significantly faster resolution using Locale's in-app priority support feature.