Avery Del Miller
Smartphones come with a fairly powerful built-in flashlight that is so convenient and easy to use. But you should stop relying on it (and putting your phone in peril) right now.
Why Stop Using Your Phone as a Flashlight?
In the past we’ve strongly recommended you stop using flashlight apps on your phone. I’ll take that a step further and recommend you stop, in most instances, using the flashlight altogether.
I won’t pretend that I never use my phone flashlight. Most people have their phones on them 24/7, and the little LED flash on most smartphones, in flashlight mode, can throw about 40-50 lumens of illumination.
For those impromptu moments where you need to find something you dropped under the bed or you’re looking for something in your purse in a dark car, an ultra-compact flashlight built into a device you’re already carrying is amazing.
But smartphones are expensive and, relatively speaking, quite fragile. If somebody gave you a regular flashlight that cost $1000 and was made of delicate glass, you’d certainly handle it with care and consider getting a more durable flashlight you wouldn’t be worried about breaking, no?
Yet millions of us use our phones like regular flashlights every day in situations where we would benefit from a dedicated flashlight and not a smartphone with a flashlight function.
After all, I’d be unhappy if I accidentally dropped one of my favorite pen lights into the weird pseudo-crawl space under my front porch while working on my house, but I’d only be out about $15. And I certainly wouldn’t have to spend a Saturday afternoon pulling up floorboards or digging to get my iPhone back (hopefully) safe and sound.
The same goes for using my phone as a flashlight versus a dedicated flashlight out in the garage, looking under a car hood, in a dark parking lot, or finishing up a hike after dusk. In all those situations, dropping my phone could easily lead to a cracked screen or even worse damage.
But dropping an impact-resistant metal-body flashlight is going to, at worse, just scuff the body of the flashlight. And even if the flashlight somehow gets lost or crunched under a car tire, I’m out a small sum of money again.
So sure, for those quick moments where you really need a flashlight, who can say no to popping the flashlight on their phone on? But for anything more serious or long-lasting than a peek under the bed, you really should use a dedicated flashlight.
Use These Flashlights Instead of Your Phone
There are so many flashlights to choose from, but which kind of flashlight you pick to replace your phone’s built-in flashlight will depend on what you use your phone flashlight for most frequently.
You might find you want more than one type. I keep multiple flashlights of different kinds around my home, car, and even on my keychain to ensure I always have the right light for the right job—and can minimize banging up my poor iPhone in the process. Below are some rock-solid suggestions for everything from your keychain to your toolbox.
Just imagine it. Months from now, you’re using a cheap and bright LED flashlight, you drop it outside your car right into a storm drain, and you don’t stress about it because it’s just a cheap little flashlight and not your $1000 smartphone.
Or not: Maybe skip the cheap flashlight and live fast and free with your new phone. Maybe even use your phone without a case and live on the edge. (Or maybe at least get the flashlight before ditching the case!)