Home iPhone’s new iOS 18 makes better use of the camera’s flashlight

iPhone’s new iOS 18 makes better use of the camera’s flashlight


  • Apple's iOS 18, announced at WWDC, will let users adjust flashlight radius and intensity with swipes.
  • This new feature uses iPhone 14 Pro's adaptive flash with nine LEDs to enhance flashlight capabilities.
  • iOS 18, in beta preview, launches in September and supports iPhone models from SE to the 15 Series.

Apple’s iOS 18 was announced and shown off Monday at the company’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference but it didn’t show one neat thing iPhones will be able to do when it launches later this year. And that’s adjust the radius and the intensity of the light itself.

This may sound like a frilly thing, but if you’ve ever gone outside after dark to call to a small pet and bring him in (raises hand) it’s quite useful. iOS 18 will let users widen the beam with horizontal slide, or tighten and intensify its light with a vertical swipe. See for yourself.

Additionally, when the flashlight is activated (whether from the Control Center or the lock screen) the new UI (with the controls) will drop down from iOS’s “Dynamic Island.”

The new capability apparently takes advantage of the more sophisticated flash/flashlight that began with iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models launched in 2022. That device’s adaptive flash uses “an array of nine LEDs that change pattern based on the chosen focal length.” Useful for taking high-quality pictures, Apple developers have adapted those capabilities to turn the phone into a better flashlight.

What iPhone models support iOS 18?

iOS 18 will also allow users to customize the buttons on their locked screens, another useful change that can prevent fumble-fingered iPhone owners from butt-activating the flashlight and having it shine through their pants, though that is always a hilarious mishap.

In any case, we’re a long ways away from the old days when we turned on our phones and simply used the home screen light to see our way to the fridge for a midnight snack or back to the bedroom without waking others in the house.

iOS 18 is currently in a beta preview and is expected to fully launch sometime in September. iOS 18 supported phones are:

  • iPhone 15 Series
  • iPhone 14 Series
  • iPhone 13 Series
  • iPhone 12 Series
  • iPhone 11 Series
  • iPhone X Series
  • iPhone SE Series

That said, not all models have the adaptive flash that can take advantage of these capabilities, so make sure of what you have.

Featured image via Apple.

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Owen Good
Gaming Editor (US)

Owen Good is a 15-year veteran of video games writing, also covering pop culture and entertainment subjects for the likes of Kotaku and Polygon. He is a Gaming Editor for ReadWrite working from his home in North Carolina, the United States, joining this publication in April, 2024. Good is a 1995 graduate of North Carolina State University and a 2000 graduate of The Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University, in New York. A second-generation newspaperman, Good's career before covering video games included daily newspaper stints in North Carolina; in upstate New York; in Washington, D.C., with the Associated Press; and…

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