When I take photos in the dark using my phone, I sometimes use the flash. However, the flash fires only at the instant of taking the photo, as with a traditional camera. This means that the preview is not accurate. For example, the flash often ends up overpowering the scene. If I'd known that before I take the photo, I'd have turned the flash off, and not end up with a wasted photo, irritated people around me with the flash for no good reason, etc.

To fix this, can I ask the phone to turn the LED on as soon as I've enabled flash, and leave it on until I exit the camera app or turn the flash off? That way, the preview will accurately reflect the photo I'll get. After all, LED flashes, unlike Xenon flashes, can be left on continuously.

I'm fine with a third party app if that's the solution.

I currently use an iPhone 6, but I'd like a solution that works for Android as well.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I guess actual cameras have this same "problem", where the flash doesn't illuminate the scene in the preview. \$\endgroup\$
    – Octopus
    Oct 15, 2015 at 2:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ They do, but Xenon flashes can't deliver continuous output, so that's not a solvable problem. It should be a solvable problem with smartphones' LED flashes. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 15, 2015 at 3:14

1 Answer 1


I didn't know I could do this with my Android phone until I read your question and tried it.

On my Android I have an app called 'Torch' that let's me use my phone as a flashlight. It just turns the camera's flash on and it's a good powerful flashlight.

It seems that if I turn 'Torch' on before I take a picture, I'm accomplishing what you asked. The scene is lit before (for preview) during and after the shot. Then I have to turn 'Torch' off.

My phone's flash is set to 'Auto', I'm not sure if that matters or not, but you could experiment.

'Torch' was a standard app that was on my phone when I bought it--it's a Galaxy S5--but there's got to be at least one app on the App Store that behaves the same. I've found them before by searching for "flashlight".

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, I didn't know that. Do you know of a solution for the iPhone? Turning the torch on before opening the Camera app doesn't work — the torch turns off as soon as the Camera app opens. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 15, 2015 at 2:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't have an iPhone, only an iPad, and it doesn't have a flash. So I don't know what to tell you there. \$\endgroup\$
    – Octopus
    Oct 15, 2015 at 3:02
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I recently did a cursory web search for iOS specific third-party camera apps, and there are at least a few that allow you to enable the flash continuously for photos. \$\endgroup\$
    – user31502
    Oct 16, 2015 at 14:31

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