The flashlight has long been a feature of phones, using the camera LED flash to help you navigate dark places. There’s a flashlight feature built in to Android, but it takes a couple of swipes to get to. Read on to learn quicker ways to turn the flashlight on and off on your phone.
Luckily, there are plenty of snappy ways to enable the flashlight faster on your Android phone – from shaking your phone to voice activation – and we’ve gathered them for you here.
Add Flashlight to Quick Settings
On many phones, the Flashlight icon is in the menu when you swipe down from the top of your screen one time. If it’s not, then swipe down again to see all the quick-launch icons, and press the pen icon beneath them.
From here, you can hold and drag the Flashlight icon to a place in the icons list where it’ll appear among your default notifications.
On certain phones, like the Galaxy series, you can even adjust the brightness of your built-in flashlight. To do this on a Galaxy phone, pull down the Quick Settings menu so that you see the Flashlight icon, then instead of tapping the actual icon, tap the text beneath it that says “Flashlight.”
This will take you to a secret menu where you can adjust the brightness of the flashlight when you turn it on. Make your adjustments, click “Done,” and you’re good to go.
Tap Back of Phone to Turn Flashlight On
We’ll talk later about how you can shake to turn on your flashlight, but from experience, this can result in the flashlight turning on when you have your phone in your pocket. Android 11 has a function where you can tap the back of your phone to activate various functions, but this excellent app from XDA Developers makes the same function work on older devices.
You’ll need to enable various permissions, such as unknown sources, to install this and set it up. There’s a handy tutorial once you open the app to talk you through the permissions you need to give.
Once you’ve done that, on the main Tap, Tap menu, tap “Double Tap Actions” or “Triple Tap Actions” (depending on how you want to turn on your flashlight).
On the next screen, tap “Add Action -> Utilities -> Flashlight,” then “Allow.”
Once you’ve created your gesture, back on the ” … Tap Actions” screen, drag it to the top so that it always works over the other default actions.
Tell Google to Turn on Flashlight
Don’t forget about “OK Google” to turn on the Flashlight. Either tap on the mic icon or say: “OK Google, turn on the Flashlight” (or “OK Google, Flashlight on“). Conversely, say “OK Google, turn off Flashlight” or “OK Google, Flashlight off” to turn it off. This is an excellent option if you already have too many apps on your phone and don’t have enough space for another one.
An alternative way to do this is to hold the Home button on your phone until Google Assistant shows up, then say “Turn on Flashlight.”
Most modern Android phones have support for gestures, which let you enable and activate various features using special button presses or motions.
The exact gestures vary between different device manufacturers, but to access them, go to “Settings -> Gestures,” then look for the Flashlight feature and turn it on.
On Motorola phones, the gesture to instantly turn your flashlight on is shaking your phone in a chopping motion. (This helps prevent accidentally switching it on.) On OnePlus, it’s drawing a “V” on your phone screen when it’s turned off. If you use a different phone, then the exact gesture may vary, but it’ll likely be just as quick!
Turn on the Flashlight with the Volume Buttons
To instantly turn on the Flashlight on any Android device with the volume buttons, you’re going to need to install Torchie – Volume Button Torch. The app will take up 4MB of your phone’s storage and doesn’t bombard you with ads.
For the app to work in the background, you will need to grant “Accessibility Service” permission to it.
You can even enable the Flashlight from your lock screen, but you will need to go into the app’s settings to allow that. To access Settings, just open the app and tap on the three vertical dots on the top right of your display.
Shake the Flashlight On
If your phone doesn’t have the built-in Gesture support mentioned earlier, you can get a third-party app that does the job.
You’ll need to install an app called Shake Flashlight. Just shake your phone, and the Flashlight will turn on. You can turn on the Flashlight even if the screen of your Android device is off, then just shake it again to turn the Flashlight off.
If you feel you have to shake your phone too hard, you can change the sensitivity in the app’s settings. Tap on the three vertical dots on the top-right corner and tap on “Shake Sensitivity.” The app will warn you that if you set the sensitivity too high, the Flashlight could turn on accidentally.
Use a Flashlight Widget
Last, but not least, you can use the Flashlight Widget app to get some light. The widget will not appear on its own, so you’ll need to long-press on a space in the home screen where you want the widget to appear.
Tap on the Widgets option at the bottom, and the widget should be on the first page. Long-press on the widget and drag it to an empty space on your display. The app doesn’t have a Settings page; you’ll only know if the app is installed when you see the widget. No app icon will appear.
While the original purpose of the Flashlight is to brighten your surroundings so the camera app can take better photos at night, it has evolved to become a handy and useful torchlight. Nice, right?
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does the Flashlight Drain Battery?
The answer may seem obvious, but the internet wants to know! The answer is a resound “yes”. A flashlight will heat your phone up and use your battery up pretty fast, so you should use it sparingly. For this reason, many phones disable the flashlight as part of their “battery saving” features when you’re on low battery.
2. Can the flashlight burn out?
Technically, yes it can, but if it does in the lifetime of your phone then it’s probably a manufacturing defect. The LED on a flashlight should last around 50,000 hours, which equates to about 5 years of being left on non-stop – 10 years if you left it on 12 hours a day. You should be fine.
3. Does the Flashlight emit radiation?
Well, yes, sort of, but that doesn’t mean you should worry that your eyes will melt out of your skull if someone shines it in your face. Much light most light sources, flashlights emit low-level non-ionizing radiation that isn’t harmful to humans. If you’re worried about flashlight radiation, then you should worry about radiation from all light sources, and that’s no fun way to live!
For more Android-related fun, one of the most useful tools you can get for Android is TWRP recovery. See our guide on how to install it. Or if you fancy yourself a gamer, you owe it to yourself to see our guide to the emulation front-end Retroarch on Android.
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