I can’t believe that I’m going to post about a flashlight app but the lack of light at my treadmill desk in the late afternoons thanks to the noticeably shorter days of fall brought this to mind. Flashlight apps could probably have their own category in the App Store given how many there are and it takes a lot for one to stand out but 25dev’s offering managed to catch my eye thanks to its use of the iPhone’s proximity sensor.
Most flashlight apps only give you an on-screen button to turn the LED light on the back of your iPhone on or off. While this kind of virtual button certainly works and there’s not much that can or needs to be improved about it, the ability to use your iPhone’s proximity sensor (the same sensor that detects when you’re holding your iPhone up to your face during a phone call and turns off the screen so you won’t accidentally touch any buttons with your cheek) can be useful in many situations.
When you open FlashLight, your iPhone’s LED light turns on automatically. To turn it off temporarily, you simply need to make sure the proximity sensor control in the bottom right corner is toggled on and then cover the iPhone’s proximity sensor by putting your iPhone in your pocket or putting it face down on a table. Once you uncover the proximity sensor by pulling it out of your pocket or picking it up off the table, the light turns on again. Clever, huh? This feature can easily result in a little less fumbling when you’re using your iPhone to find your keys in the dark or are working on that top secret spy mission you chose to accept.
FlashLight costs $.99 (ignore the recently updated free version since it doesn’t have the feature that makes use of the proximity sensor), requires iOS 4.0 or higher, and works with the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, and the new 5th-generation iPod touch. It’s not yet optimized for the larger screens of the iPhone 5 and new iPod touch but that’s not critical in a flashlight app.
This will probably be the last time I write about a flashlight app until someone makes one that can do my dishes too, so don’t worry.