It’s kind of strange to think about the things we use most often on our phones. Sure, taking pictures, using Facebook, checking your tweets, there’s a lot you can do with a smartphone, but for a lot of people, one of the most useful tools is the simple ability to use it as a flashlight. Since it’s always there with you, right on your pocket, and most phones have a bright LED light to act as a camera flash, it ends up being the go-to flashlight for many of us. Unfortunately, while there are multiple ways to enable it, it’s generally cumbersome to have to unlock your device and find the flashlight app, especially when all you need is a light, right there and now. Luckily, there’s a better way, and we’ll be taking a look at it now!
In Android, there are actually a bunch of different ways to enable the flashlight. There are a bunch of apps out there that will do it for you, or will install a shortcut on your homescreen so you can enable it directly from there, for example. Some custom versions of Android even install a dedicated icon on your notification panel, so you can enable it at any time. And, if you’re using a modern version of Android, you can even ask Google Now to enable it for you:
However, today we’ll be taking a look at a more physical approach – enabling the flashlight functionality using your volume buttons. This makes sense for a variety of reasons, the most obvious being the fact that they’re always there, but also because we’ll make it so that you can enable the flashlight without even having to press the lock screen button, if you so choose. That means that you won’t have to do anything other than press the volume buttons to enable the flashlight, even with a completely locked device, basically acting the same way as the on/off switch on a real, physical flashlight. The app we’ll be using is called Torchie, which you can download using this Play Store link. Once installed, open the app and you should see this screen:
After the simple welcome screen, the app will ask you to enable it in the accessibility services of your device. This is so that it can work more reliably and capture whenever you use your volume buttons. The app explains the necessary permissions:
Tap the “Enable” button and you should be taken to the accessibility settings automatically:
Just tap over “Torchie Quick” and use the switch at the top to enable it:
Once it’s enabled, the app should be working. You can try right now – press the volume down and volume up buttons at the same time and your flashlight should automatically be enabled!
This works throughout the whole OS, so at any time that you choose, you can just press both volume buttons at the same time to enable the flashlight. It even works in the lockscreen!
However, you might notice that it doesn’t work if you lock your device. When the screen is off, the key combo will stop working. Luckily, you can enable it – just open up Torchie and press the three dotted menu at the top right to head onto the app settings:
Here, you can manually enable Torchie to work when the screen is off, by enabling the corresponding switch:
There are other options here worth taking a look at, too – make sure you enable “Vibrate”, so the phone vibrates whenever the flashlight is enabled, and “Proximity sense”, so it doesn’t accidentally trigger while on your pocket:
Now, the app should work, even when the screen is off. Just press the button combo and the flashlight should pop back to life. If the button combo isn’t working for you, or seems inconsistent while the screen is off, this might be due to your version of Android. In that case, try pressing the keys alternately instead of at the same time, or experiment with only volume up or volume down buttons individually to see what works on your device. Either way, it should always work, just with a different volume button combination than usual. Any questions or doubts? Feel free to let us know in the comment section below!