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.
Rik.

17 comments:

Baconbitz said...

I just wanted to know if you have a PayPal set up where I could donate money for you making this app.

Henri Asseily said...

@Baconbitz thanks for the kind words, but I do not require payment. All I ask is that you evangelize the app and tell everyone to use it and talk about it.
It is almost impossible today to compete against marketing dollars on the app store, and that is unfortunate. Seeing so many flashlight apps ripping off the users who don't know any better is quite enraging.

randomname13 said...

I was wondering if you have an android app? I just switched from ios to android and can't find anything close to your app. If you don't, do you plan to? Know of anything comparable? Thanks a lot.

Henri Asseily said...

I don't have an Android phone, but if I do acquire one at some point, I'll gladly port it.
In the meantime, I'm waiting for iOS 7 and I'll update the UI accordingly.

John said...

IOS 7 ships with a flashlight accessible without unlocking the phone. It doesn't appear to have all the goodies your app has, like intensity control and strobing.

It's on the lock page, swipe from the bottom up for the tools page, bottom left of tools page.

John said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ruthie said...

This works great on my iPod, but when I search the App Store with my iPad, I can't access the app. It doesn't even show up.

Ruthie said...

I downloaded and installed the app on my iPod and it works great. However when I tried with my iPad, the App Store didn't show the app. A search on both app and developer gave " no results".

Henri Asseily said...

@Ruthie: Any device that has a LED light in the rear will be able to download the app.
Unfortunately iPads do not have a LED "flash", so the app can't work on them. That's why you don't see the app on the iPad store.

Sandra Johnson said...

Can you comment on the latest news regarding malware attached to flashlight apps? See Fox News
https://www.youtube.com/embed/Q8xz8xKEFvU

Unknown said...

Outstanding application. When many others are making it more complicated than it needs to be, This one has most of all the others combined but in a user friendly look and feel. no ads are the deciding factor in keeping this one.

na said...

Could you fix the UI problems on iOS 8.3?

asdf said...

Thank you for your time and effort. I don't know if you're accepting suggestions, but if so then you may consider adding an option to use the screen instead of the flash. An all white screen creates a very gentle glow that is very pleasing to read by. A sleep timer would also be amazing. With or without, I will definitely recommend the app every chance I get.

Justin

Henri Asseily said...

iOS 8.3 issues have been fixed. Thank you Apple for changing the UI colors without notifying us. Bad Apple. Bad!

Henri Asseily said...

An all white screen and sleep timers are great ideas. I'll implement them as soon as I can. Thank you!

Unavailable said...

Hello and thank you for this wonderful application. I was wondering, and if this app is indeed still under further development that perhaps you could consider a long press of about 1/3 of a second can be implemented for the push/sliders toggle/buttons so that accidental changes are avoided while multi tasking.

Henri Asseily said...

Thanks @unavailable but to avoid unwanted touches there's already the option of darkening the screen, effectively locking changes.