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By Sara Roncero-Menendez2013-09-23 11:11:34 UTC
The iPhone is like an old house — just when you think you know all its secrets, you discover something new hidden away where you'd never think to look. One of the lesser-known functions of this popular smartphone is the LED light, located next to the camera on iPhone models 4 through 5S.
The main purpose of the LED light is the flash for the camera, but users around the globe have found plenty of alternative functions for it. From effectively skulking around in the dark to glowing brightly at a party, the LED light has more users than simply making your photos look better.
No matter what your lighting needs may be, here are seven crafty and practical ways you can use the iPhone's LED light.
Anyone who has ever fumbled around in the dark with an iPhone knows that the light from the screen doesn't make the best flashlight. Instead of adjusting the screen's brightness to eat away at your battery life, a more reliable alternative is to use the LED flash.
There are plenty of apps that will turn on your flash, but the simplest method is to go into the camera, switch it to video, and turn the flash on at the top of the screen. You don't have to press record for it to work, and it will last through extended treks in darkness.
2. Room Lamp
Find that the flashlight isn't cutting it during a camping trip or sudden power outages? Using only a water bottle, you can greatly extend the reach of the light. First, turn on the LED light, either with an app or the method mentioned above. Turn the phone so that the LED light is facing upwards, then put a — preferably clear — filled water bottle over it. The liquid will disperse the light, helping to illuminate the space better.
It is also possible to use the screen to light the water bottle, but the strength of the light may vary. Try filling the bottle with different colored liquids for different effects.
3. Message Alert
Image: Flickr, Brandon Shigeta
One of the built-in functions of the iPhone is the ability to use the LED light as an alert system for calls and texts. The function was designed for hearing-impaired iPhone users as a secondary alert method, along with vibration. To turn on LED flash for alerts, go to Settings, then General and scroll down to Accessibility. In the section entitled Hearing, there is the option for LED flash for Alerts. By selecting this option, every time your phone receives an alert of any kind, the flash will blink on and off. Just don't forget to to turn it off at the movies!
4. Strobe Light
Have you ever wanted to have a strobe light, but don't want to purchase the actual apparatus? You can use your iPhone as a make-shift one. There is no way to program the iPhone's LED light to blink on and off repeatedly like a strobe light unless you jail break it, but there are apps you can use to achieve this effect.
One such app is RoboStrobe, which allows you to turn on the flash and adjust the speed. Place a container with water in front of it to extend the light as need (during disco emergencies).
5. Musical Light Show
There are several apps which can turn the LED light into a mini-light-show. The aforementioned RoboStrobe in particular has a function where the LED light will flash to the beat of a song, though the music has to come from an outside device. Add clear or tinted plastic case to your phone so it appears as though your whole phone is illuminating as the LED goes off.
6. Morse Code Device
Image: Flickr, Chad Podoski
If you grew up in the pre-digital era, you'll remember how kids once used flashlights to send Morse code messages. Even though email and text messaging is much faster, it's still a fun way to communicate in secret.
You can do it the long way by turning your flash on and off manually, but the most effective way is to download an app that will take the message and relay it for you in Morse code. One such app is Light Morse Code. If you just want to send Morse code messages without using the light, you can use TeleTweet (pictured above).
7. Image Projector
Have some kids in need of entertaining? Wanna project a special message on your wall? Use the LED light to project images printed on transparency film, the kind teachers use for overhead projectors.
Just remember that because the light is small, you're going to need to print small, or you can DIY a projector with a shoe box and a magnifying glass to make it bigger. If all else fails, you can always make shadow puppets.
Have other fun and unique ways to use the iPhone LED light? Leave suggestions, recommendations and tips in the comments below.
Image: Flickr, Gabriele BarniTopics: Apps and Software, iPhone, iphone led light, Mobile, Tech, Work & Play