In the dark days, before the introduction of native tools on Android and iPhone smartphones, we were left to fend for ourselves in app stores if we found ourselves in need of a little light. While the flashlight-app wars may have faded over the course of the past few years, there are still many useful third-party apps with features not available in the native versions of Android and iOS. Such being the case, we took the liberty of rounding up the six best flashlight apps on the market.
Loaded with mostly utilitarian accessories, Flashlight is the real Swiss army knife of this list. The compass feature makes the Flashlight app a wonderful hiking companion if your main headlamp or flashlight fails on the trail. However, the altitude tracker is sure to really entice the niche alpinist. The strobe mode is also adjustable, making the app ideal for flagging down help in an emergency, or if a bike light goes out mid-trip. There’s also a Disco Mode that utilizes — yep, you guessed it — an animated disco ball for your next low-budget house party. Similarly, the animated lighter and candle features are perfect for those looking to be “that guy” at the concert. The built-in Live Map options even allows you to see other people using the app worldwide, although don’t be surprised if you’re the only one.
Brightest Flashlight (free)
The so-called “Brightest Flashlight” app certainly does live up to its name. To reach peak illumination, the app activates everything that blinks, flashes, and glows on your device at once. The app turns on your phone’s camera flash, keyboard backlighting, soft keys, and notification LED at max brightness. This is all at the expense of your battery life, of course.
Nonetheless, if you’re in need of a full-on brightness blitzkrieg, this app is hard to top. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with some of the handy bells and whistles that are available on many of the other apps on our list (compass, strobe effects, etc.). The app is still worth a download for its unbeatable glow, though, even if you need to pair it with another flashlight app for optimal effect.
Tiny Flashlight + LED (free)
Tiny Flashlight + LED comes with many of the same features you’d expect within the flashlight-app category — i.e. warning lights, strobe, morse tools. However, this app separates itself from the rest with some unique personalization features. The default, white light can often be overly harsh with most flashlight apps. Fortunately, the Tiny Flashlight enables you to modify the brightness of your phone, as well as the color. With a simple vertical or horizontal swipe of the screen, you can adjust the color from light to dark, across the entire color spectrum.
The app also includes several unique features, though most them are more of a novelty than practical in any way. The Tiny Flashlight has multiple lighting effects and a mode with yellow lights that alternate much like a traffic signal. The digital lightbulb feature is a bit gimmicky, though, it might be perfect for those eureka moments.
This is another barebones, no-frills flashlight app. Many flashlight apps have a rather annoying delay before the LED light actually comes on. Fortunately, Flashlight incorporates an “instant on” LED feature, which takes the inconvenient delay out of the ordeal. The built-in SOS feature and 10 strobe frequencies keep the app relevant in 2016 as well, while the LED brightness control lets you curb battery usage. If you’re looking for a basic flashlight app or a slight upgrade from your phone’s basic utility, Flashlight is a solid bet.
Super-Bright LED Flashlight (free)
Super-Bright LED Flashlight may take the prize for interface and functionality on this list. The user interface is designed to resemble a basic handheld flashlight, and a simple slide of the on-screen switch activates the beam. With many flashlights, the lens portion surrounding the lamp is adjustable to expand or contract the beam itself. This app imitates that idea — just swipe the top of the screen left or right to easily adjust the intensity of the strobe effect. Like Brightest Flashlight, more features would’ve made the app more competitive in the waning market of flashlight apps, however, the usability alone makes this app worth a gander.
Best Flash Light! (free)
The Best Flash Light! — although grammatically incorrect — is loaded with convenient features. Beyond basic functions, such as an adjustable strobe light and instant-on feature, the app incorporates a “clap-on, clap-off” feature that allows for instantaneous, hands-free illumination. There’s also a light timer and an energy-saver mode, along with a Light + Video Zoom feature that lets you view small font or check a map in low-light scenarios.