Thursday, April 11, 2013

"Flashlight by Rik" : the (totally) free iOS light app

Almost 3 years ago, I set about to fix a problem plaguing the iOS App Store: it was impossible to find an extremely simple flashlight utility that was free and free of ads.

So I built one, squeezed it through the app store approval (before there were so many that new ones were banned) and blogged about it and it ultimately passed a million downloads, with the users extremely satisfied:
Flashlight by Rik

Over the years I've kept on improving it to support all the latest devices, coding standards and operating system features. For example, it is one of the few flashlights that allows you to fully control the strobe pattern: it doesn't have to be synchronous, you can let the light flash for .1 second every second, for a neat eye-catching strobe effect. And of course it fully supports iOS 6's control of the light intensity.

But all through those years, I've constantly striven to make this basic utility as small and fast as possible. And even today, with support for 4 languages (English, French, German, Russian) and the iPhone 5 screen, the download is a mere 80kB. And the launch speed is pretty much unbeatable. It ranges from below 1 second if the app is starting for the first time, to near instantaneous if it still resides in memory and is swapped to the front.
I wish I could do even better, but I still have to fit in all those icons and other files. And since I will never compromise on the speed and simplicity, fancy graphics will never be seen in this app. After all, don't you want a light that starts as soon as you tap on it?

Whatever the hundred other flashlight apps want you to believe, none of them is any brighter or faster than Flashlight by Rik. I invite you to try them all, and if you find any that is faster I will do my utmost to release a new version that matches its speed. (Incidentally, assuming you set the brightness to 100%, all the flashlights are the same brightness. Don't bother testing that part!)

In closing, I will indeed never charge for Flashlight by Rik. Nor will I ever put ads on it. The iPhone should have shipped with a flashlight app. I aim to fix this recurring problem.

Thank you again to my million (and more) users.