Do you know a mobile application that would:

  • calculate sunrise/sunset/twilight time
  • calculate moonrise/moonset/moonphase
  • would do that based on the location from internal GPS module

There are good enough online resources available to do the job (for example timeanddate.com) given that you're happy to mess with the printouts, but I haven't yet found a decent application for mobile phone.

I think this question is relevant because for a landscape shooter timing is everything.

  • 1
    Which mobile platform are you using? Jul 27, 2010 at 13:56
  • I'm mostly interested in Nokia, but hopefully others get some good links also.
    – Karel
    Jul 27, 2010 at 16:30
  • Nokia is a brand...but is there a specific software platform your looking for? Most of these kinds of applications are probably going to be written for iPhone, Android, and soon enough Windows Phone 7, as these are the most versatile and easy to develop for platforms. Anything else is likely to be rather obscure.
    – jrista
    Aug 3, 2010 at 21:44
  • 1
    So, 3/4 of year later, there are approximately 8 zillion iPhone apps that do this, and probably that many for Android as well. Maybe if this question were converted to community wiki, it'd still be helpful in finding some good needles in that haystack.
    – mattdm
    Mar 26, 2011 at 3:39
  • 1
    The question doesn't specify if the app should work without an internet connection. For me that would be very handy, as reception at the best scenic spots is usually lacking. Mar 22, 2012 at 7:51

18 Answers 18


I think an application called "The Photographer's Ephemeris" might be what you are looking for. It's available for iOS, Android, Windows, and OS X.


I use LightTrac for the iPad. Not only does it tell you when but also the angle from which the sun will be coming at sunrise, sunset and right now, as the sun position varys seasonally. Besides, it's cool to be able to drag the slider around and see how the direction of the sun rays will vary.

So say I want to photograph the tower in the middle of the plaza in this photo. I can see there will be a cast shadow right in the way at 5:30PM just because I can drag the slider over close to sunset. (Believe me, picking the optimal time for this particular shot is a PITA.)

Point is, this app gives you not only the time but also the direction of the light.

Hope it's useful and even if you're not using an iPad, you can think about directionality of the light.

enter image description here

  • 1
    LightTrac is by far my favorite app. If anyone is interested in it, there's another cool feature. It can show you the length of a shadow at a time of day for a given object's height.
    – nwcs
    Mar 21, 2012 at 13:17

On Android there's a great app called Sun Surveyor. This will tell you sunrise/set/golden/blue times, as others do. But it's got the map view (as shown elsewhere), and another unique feature, which is an "augmented reality" view where you hold your phone up, and it uses the camera to overlay on the real scenery the path that the sun is going to take during the day.

There's also a widget called LunaSolCal (also requires installing the core app), which displays sun and moon rise and set times, as well as twilight times. So if you need to consult this frequently, it's right there on your home screen.

I believe that both of these apps can work either for a manually-entered location, or via GPS for "where I am right now".

  • This one is truly awesome and going beyond what all other ones do. What an excellent find!
    – Itai
    Mar 22, 2012 at 2:54
  • Sun Surveyor is also on iOS.
    – Calyth
    Apr 25, 2018 at 19:22

I use an app called 'PhotoCalc' - it does sunrise and sunset (though not currently moonrise and moonset) based on your position on GPS, and has a load of other useful features too, such as an equivalent exposure calculator, and a flash exposure calculator.


I've found Sol to be not only an excellent sunset/sunrise app, but it looks great too and I like the visual representation of the length of the day. Sol also has relative alarms that will alert you X minutes prior to a sun event (sunset, Golden Hour, etc). It can also be set to adjust for your location if you travel.

Also check out SunCalc - it's not specifically a mobile app, but it will display just fine on a mobile browser even if not ideal on the smaller screens.


I use a nice tool on my iPhone called Darkness. It is a world clock with sunrise/sunset/moonphase, and supports grabbing your current location (in addition to configured locations.)


As one of the developers, I feel compelled to tell you about our photography app, GoldenPic.

GoldenPic doesn't just give you the sunrise and sunset, it also provides you the blue and golden hours, moon phase, moonrise and moonset times, weather, GPS coordinates, etc. It even lets you save your GPS coordinates to recall at a later day/time and integrates with Google Maps (great for planning a photo shoot)! It also lets you change the date, provides 5 different ways to change your location and you can email the data to yourself or a client. GoldenPic is the One-Stop-App for all your outdoor lighting needs!

For more information, check it out at: http://goldenpic.jebsapps.com/gplink.php


Not for mobile yet, but you can also use a free tool that I've developed with a colleague. It computes the actual sunrise and sunset times for any location worldwide, accounting for terrain. The example in the image is for Chamonix in France. Go to suncurves.com to find your own location. Hope you like it! I'm using it for all my outdoor shoots.

The sun curves for Chamonix, France


Check out Magic Hour, it's only on the iPhone I believe but does all you need.

It's only a couple of quid too.


From mobile I usually visit http://www.wolframalpha.com/ and enter "sundown " - works good enough for me.

  • Interestingly enough, it also works if you use iPhone's Siri and say just "Sunset". :o) Mar 21, 2012 at 11:37
  • thats cause Siri does a search against Wolframalpha as one of it's data sources
    – MikeScott8
    Mar 21, 2012 at 21:12

I've been using a tool called Compass myself on my Nokia. No GPS support though.


On the iPhone there is a great application called Star Walk that shows you elevation and sunrise/sunset times, either for your current location or a location you pick from the globe. It also shows you rise/set times of the visible planets and the moon.

As a bonus in this case (and the main feature of the app in general) it gives you a great map of the night sky and you can even point it the sky to see what you are looking at.

  • This is a gorgeous app that I highly recommend and use all of the time. I'd never considered it for photography, though. It could certainly be used that way (particularly if you're interested in astrophotography), but I think it's less useful in this area than apps specifically designed with the angle of sunlight for photography in mind.
    – mattdm
    Mar 21, 2012 at 23:24

I've made an app for Windows Phone 7/8 called Sun Tracker, which would cover more recent Nokia handsets.

It includes some of the requested features:

Sunrise, Sunset and Twilight times

Sunrise, Sunset and Twilight times

Augmented Reality Sun Position Tracking using phones latitude and longitude Augmented Reality Sun Position Tracking


There are a number of Android application available which will give you sunrise and set times.

Search on App Brain

  • 2
    Would be better if you linked directly to a useful app (preferably one you have experience with), not just to App Brain. Mar 22, 2012 at 7:48

I see that you're not using an iPhone, but for those interested, here is a couple of free apps I use...

Sunrise Clock + for iPhone is good for a number of reasons:

  • analog clock with different phases of dawn and dusk marked on the clock itself, along with the detailed information of each phase
  • daily table view (for a selected month) of sunrises/sunsets and dawns/dusks
  • auto-detection of the location with manual override (if you wish to check for a distant location)
  • its FREE

Sun Seeker Lite for iPhone is another one for the similar purpose, but with an excellent feature, it uses the built-in compass and GPS to display different positions of the sun during different times of the current day.


I have written an application called Sunrays of which there is an iPhone version as well.

It displays the position of the sun for every hour at your current location for any given date. You can also search for cities in an included database.


I've designed a javascript app with sunrise/sunset.

Here it is https://github.com/lexterror/suncalcui

It runs on any device with an internet browser.

Thank you


Look at http://sun.verb.ru Calculates sunrise, sunset and noon. Works on mobile phones, the only requirement - Java.

  • 1
    Requires the user to input latitude and longitude manually, though — not as handy as a GPS-enabled app.
    – mattdm
    Mar 21, 2012 at 11:24

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