For all those times when it’s dark and you drop your house keys or Pokemon cards there’s an app for that. We’ve done a round-up of the best smartphone apps that allow you to use your phone’s screen or the camera’s flash as an ad hoc torch. So the next time you drop your precious ring on the floor, you’ll be able to pull out your phone and find it in a (ahem) flash.
iFlash4 is a basic flash activation app for the iPhone 4 which boasts a simple on-off switch which emits a satisfying click sound when you turn the torch on. It automatically shuts itself off after 10 minutes and when you exit the app, so you don’t end up eating into your battery too much.
Megalight boasts a more advanced design and a greater range of controls, such as a blip mode allowing you to send messages in Morse code (instead of using that newfangled textamibob messaging) and a strobe mode.
For iPhone 3G and 3GS users (i.e. those without an LED flash), there’s an app simply called Torch (pictured). This allows you to pick from a number of different on-screen ‘bulbs’ and use your iPhone’s screen as a handy light.
Torch has also been updated for the iPhone 4, so that it makes use of the LED flash too should you want to be able to use either or.
LED Light (pictured) is a free app which, as its name suggests uses the LED light of your phone as a torch. It features a simple graphic of an on-off switch which activates and dectivates the flash of your phone accordingly. Currently this app is only available for the HTC Desire, Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, Motorola Milestone and Google Nexus One.
If your phone doesn’t have a flash, check out ScreenLight by Android Nebula. This simply loads up a blank white canvas on your phone, allowing you to use the screen as a torch. This free app works on pretty much every Android phone out there, including Android 1.5-era devices.
One which is available for the HTC Wildfire as well as the Desire is another free app called Lighty. This allows you to choose between using the screen of your phone as a torch or the LED light. So you have the option of switching between the more powerful and more battery-friendly lighting options.
BlackBerry users have a wide range of torch apps to choose from, many of them being charged at the same price ($0.99/£0.60) and many of them offering the same functionality. One Touch Flashlight uses the LED flash of BlackBerry phones as does Video Flashlight and Emergency Lights, which also features an on-screen battery meter.
If you don’t fancy burning through your battery you could opt for an app like Light the Way, which uses the backlight of your BlackBerry’s screen instead.
BlackBerry Storm owners might want to check out Radical Flashlight which has been specifically designed for the Storm’s larger touchscreen. As well as using less battery power this comes with a number of different colours and effects including an SOS-flashing signal, but goes for a slightly heftier price than the others ($3.99/£2.50).
If you’ve got a Symbian smartphone or an old school Nokia, Sony Ericsson or Samsung phone which run on Symbian then you’re in luck. There are a handful of apps out there which allow you to use your phone’s flash and/or screen on a wide range of Symbian phones.
PhoneTorch costs either £1.00, £1.50 or £3.00 depending on which phone you’re buying it for and works on phones with or without LED lights.
Phone Torch Screen Edition costs £1.00 and is designed for phones without a flash, allowing you to crank the brightness of your screen up and use the camera key to turn the screen on and off. PhoneTorch N95 costs £1.50 and works on the N95 and N95 8GB as well as the N96 and E66.
The standard PhoneTorch app costs £3.00 and is available for all other phones that can access Ovi Store.
If you can’t get Ovi Store on your phone or you’ve got a Samsung Omnia i8910 HD, a Sony Ericsson Satio, Vivaz or Vivaz Pro, then you’ll need to head directly over to the PhoneTorch website to make a payment.
An alternative to PhoneTorch is an app called Fun Torch. This is a free app which can be downloaded from smartphoneware.com and works on S60 3rd edition Symbian phones. Detailed instructions on how to install the app and a comprehensive list of phones it works on are available here.
The aforementioned PhoneTorch app is also available to download for a mere £1.25 from Samsung Apps for the Samsung Wave. PhoneTorch for Bada allows you to use the LED flash of the Wave as a torch as well as the screen. Using the three slider bars you can adjust the brightness of the screen and make it change colour for fun effects.