How to Set Up Flash Light Notifications on Your Phone

Don't like hearing a ring or buzz? Create a flashing light alert instead

iphone camera flash

Than Htike Soe/EyeEm/Getty Images

Notifications popping up on your smartphone's screen are designed to get your attention. Because you need to know when you just got a text or missed a call, notifications usually announce their arrival with a sound. But that's not always the case. You could have your volume turned off, or you might have a hearing impairment that prevents you from hearing the notification.

Did you know that, in those situations, you can make the camera flash light up when your phone is ringing or you've got another kind of notification? That way, you can still know you've got a notification without relying on sound. Here's what you need to do.

How to Enable a Notification Light on iPhone

A notification can trigger your iPhone's flash.
A notification can trigger your iPhone's flash.

Configuring an iPhone notification light is really simple. It's just a matter of changing one (or, at most, two) settings that are present on every iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.
  4. Scroll down to the Hearing section and tap LED Flash for Alerts.
  5. Move the LED Flash for Alerts slider to on/green. This enables the notification light for all alerts.
  6. If you want the notification light to be enabled whenever you set your iPhone to silent mode, move the Flash on Silent slider to on/green.

If you decide you don't want the notification light anymore, repeat the first four steps and then move the LED Flash for Alerts slider to off/white.

How to Enable a Notification Light on Android

A notification can trigger your phone to flash.
A notification can trigger your phone to flash.

Enabling flash notifications on Android phones is almost as simple as on the iPhone. It's a similar number of steps, but there are some pretty important caveats to be aware of. Because Android software differs depending on what company makes your smartphone, these instructions won't work on every Android phone. In some cases, you'll follow similar steps using different menus. In other cases, your phone may not have built-in support for flash notifications.

Assuming your phone supports flash notifications, follow these steps to turn them on:

  1. Tap Settings. (You can also open Settings using Google Assistant.)
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Hearing (on phones from some manufacturers, the Flash Notifications option is right on the main accessibility screen, so you can skip this step).
  4. Tap Flash Notification if it does not automatically appear with slider options.
  5. On Android 7.0 and above, you should see two options (Camera Light and Screen). Move the Flash Notifications slider to On. Select one or both by moving the slider(s).

To turn the feature off, just repeat the first three steps and then move the Flash Notifications slider(s) to Off.

Not every Android phone offers the flash notifications feature. That's up to the manufacturer. If you can't find an option for flash notifications in the Accessibility settings on your Android, it may not support the feature. Luckily, you should be able to download an app that delivers the feature. A few apps to consider include: