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A flashlight? WTF?! Oh, a FAST flashlight!

by John Casasanta
August 29, 201310 comments

Sooooo… we just released a flashlight app. Why? Well, I’ll tell ya…

There are a zillion flashlight apps in the App Store. But none do what 99.9% of the people who need a flashlight actually want it to do… like find the goddamn doorknob in the dark or whatever. Yeah, the others turn on the light on your iPhone, but they also have these unnecessary features (with some bordering on the absolutely ridiculous):

  • on/off button
  • compass
  • map
  • strobe light
  • morse code
  • SOS signal
  • brightness control
  • themes
  • fake neon crap
  • texting
  • emailing
  • Facebooking
  • tweeting
  • music controller
  • bus schedules
  • settings
  • ads

Ok, I’m kidding about the bus schedules, but in the arms race to include everything under the sun in a flashlight app, I’m sure someone’s going to add this to a flashlight app soon.

These not only get in the way when you just need your way lit (like when you’re fumbling for your keys and you inadvertently tap the on/off button that takes up most of the screen), but they also make it so that your light doesn’t instantly turn on because of the overhead of the featuritis.

So I threw together the simplest app you can possibly make for an iPhone and it just does that one thing… turn on the light… and it does it instantly. I basically made it for myself but I’m sure many of you’ll also find it useful, so we’re putting it out there for you.

Here’s a screenshot:

Fast-Flashlight

Glorious, eh? We’ve truly embraced the flat design fad for this one. It can be none more flat. If you look closely at the reflection, you can see the shark being jumped.

I made this over a year and a half ago and because the App Store is littered with flashlight apps and Apple wasn’t accepting any new ones, let’s just say that it wasn’t easy to get in the store. Here’s Christopher Walken to detail the process:

In a nutshell, we acquired an existing flashlight app, morphed it into Fast Flashlight, and then transferred it into our App Store account after Apple recently began allowing devs to transfer apps to one another.

Don’t believe that it really is the fastest flashlight around? Well, not only is it the simplest app in the App Store, it’s the only one that includes all the source code for it in its description to prove it…

#import <Foundation/Foundation.h>
#import <UIKit/UIKit.h>
#import <AVFoundation/AVFoundation.h>

@interface FastFlashlightApplicationDelegate: UIResponder <UIApplicationDelegate>
{
}

- (void)turnLightOn;

@end

@implementation FastFlashlightApplicationDelegate

- (id)init
{
   self = [super init];

   if (self)
      [self turnLightOn];

   return self;
}

- (void)applicationDidFinishLaunching:(UIApplication*)application
{
   application.idleTimerDisabled = YES;
}

- (void)turnLightOn
{
   AVCaptureDevice* captureDevice = [AVCaptureDevice defaultDeviceWithMediaType:AVMediaTypeVideo];

   if ([captureDevice hasTorch])
   {
      [captureDevice lockForConfiguration:nil];
      [captureDevice setTorchMode:AVCaptureTorchModeOn];
      [captureDevice unlockForConfiguration];

      if (captureDevice.torchMode!=AVCaptureTorchModeOn)
         [self turnLightOn];
   }
}

@end

int main(int argc, char* argv[])
{
   @autoreleasepool
   {
      return UIApplicationMain(argc, argv, nil, NSStringFromClass([FastFlashlightApplicationDelegate class]));
   }
}

I’m sure there’s going to be that person who feels compelled to comment about how the code can be improved/made cleaner/etc. I’m preemptively just going to say that the compiler optimizes that out or whatever.

Doesn’t iOS 7 have a flashlight?

And doesn’t that make this app pointless in a few weeks when it’s out? Nah. In the same way that we get a bunch of emails from Camera+ users thanking us for including the zoom feature that Apple “removed” in the standard Camera app, there’ll still be people searching for a flashlight app.

With the camera zoom, Apple made it much less obvious than it used to be that there’s a zoom feature in their camera app. So, many people don’t even know that the feature exists. Likewise, I’m willing to bet that a lot of iOS 7 users won’t even know about the Control Center, which is where the flashlight exists (similarly to how most iPhone users don’t know of the current multitasking tray… or that swiping right reveals more controls). Besides, a single tap of the app icon to turn on the light is quicker than a swipe and tap when you really need a light.

Free for a day!

We’re launching Fast Flashlight now and making it free for today only. Grab it now!

Special thanks go out to Corwin and Karl for helping get this out.


tap tap tap is a leading iPhone and iPad app developer and publisher. We’ve been creating top-notch apps since the App Store first opened. Our apps are used by literally millions of people in all corners of the world.

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10 comments

  1. tokkie
    10:44am, August 29, 2013

    Geez still no update for Convert but just another silly flasher which was actually bought.

  2. T-Will
    11:25am, August 29, 2013

    When will the icon be updated with the new flat icon paradigm??? :-P

  3. kc!
    11:39am, August 29, 2013

    Thank you. This is perfect.

    My only complaint is that I wish I had it last night when I was fumbling around under my car trying to see what was under there. Life is happy now.

  4. Jeff
    11:50am, August 29, 2013

    InfinitLight’s pretty great, too — very similar point of view:

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/infinitlight/id399277601?mt=8

    Been in the App Store since 2010, but unfortunately, hard to discover among all the other free flashlight apps.

  5. Nate
    12:02pm, August 29, 2013

    Wow! That is fast. Great writeup too.

  6. BigB
    2:27pm, August 29, 2013

    This is pretty much exactly the first app I built. Great learning project and super useful.

  7. Glenn W
    8:24pm, August 30, 2013

    Wow! Pretty fast getting thru the free period too! Too bad I’m not in the know.

  8. Math
    4:32am, September 2, 2013

    Thanks I needed such an app!

  9. Juan Alvarez
    6:51pm, September 7, 2013

    I have a great app idea and wanted to incorporate the MLB league, the app serves many purposes and would attract little league players and their parents. This idea is not on the market and could be used as a teaching tool, live video but the interface and two distinct ideas will make it boom. I really need someone to help me develop it, possibly just listen to me for a bit and point me in the right direction. Life is about taking risks and strongly believe this app would make a few people a lot of money. Please reply

  10. steve
    5:33pm, November 21, 2013

    Am i missing the point to this app.
    It does nothing!
    My screen goes blank, the flashlight doesn’t come on.
    What is this?
    A Joke?


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