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How to adjust the flashlight in iOS 18

The flashlight feature on an iPhone

Apple’s iOS 18 update provides more control over how the flashlight functions on an iPhone, Here’s how to adjust how it produces and focuses light.

The flashlight function in iOS turns on the rear flash, illuminating the path ahead for you. Previously, you had fairly limited control over the brightness of the flashlight, and that was fairly utilitarian.

Under iOS 18, it is possible to change how wide or narrow the beam of light is for some later models of iPhone.

The light change

All iPhone 15 Pro users will see a new flashlight interface at the top of the screen. This is a control that’s part of the Dynamic Island, and can be summoned when the flashlight is enabled by tapping the little torch icon in the Island.

When enabled, the Dynamic Island grows to a larger box, showing a flashlight as well as a visualization of the light it casts.

The new flashlight controls in Dynamic Island for iOS 18

The new flashlight controls in Dynamic Island for iOS 18

To the side is a vertical bar showing the intensity of light. You can swipe down and up in and beyond the box to change the brightness level.

This brightness is also seemingly more granular than in iOS 17, with it offering at least five intensities.

At the top is a horizontal bar, signifying how wide or narrow the beam of light from the flashlight is for the user. There appears to be three different levels of width, which is controlled by a horizontal swipe from the box across the screen.

Tap the flashlight to turn it on and off.

How does the flashlight narrow in iOS 18?

The updated flashlight feature takes advantage of Apple’s hardware changes to the flash that it introduced in the iPhone 14 Pro line.

The Adaptive True Tone flash changes which segments of the flash LED are illuminated. When used in tandem with the lens assembly, it can focus the light to a narrow field or wider, depending on the type of shot the user is taking.

Close-up of a smartphone camera setup showing the lens, sensor, and flash components in a partially disassembled view.

The iPhone 14’s Adaptive True Tone flash

The concept is similar to the zoom of a speedlite, a portable camera flash. Depending on where the internal flash element is placed versus the opening and the lens assembly, it can adjust if light is focused on one area or spread out wide.

The iPhone does the same trick, but uses multiple LED segments instead of physically moving the light.

The flashlight simply uses the flash for a long duration of time instead of a brief flash.