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Android phones might finally gain a feature Apple has offered for years

Support for the feature could be coming with Android 13.

Published onMarch 1, 2022

Smartphone flashlight on stock photo 2
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • Android 13 includes support for controlling the brightness of the flashlight.
  • However, not all phones may be able to take advantage of the feature.
  • Support for the feature will require an update to the camera hardware.

Android 13 might finally add an option for adjusting the brightness of the flashlight.

If you’re using an Android phone right now, chances are its camera setup includes an LED flash. Besides assisting with low-light photography, the module is commonly used as a torch to see in the dark. Apple, for the longest time, has had an option to adjust the brightness of the flashlight on iPhones. However, most Android devices just give an On/Off option. According to Esper’s Mishaal Rahman, Android 13 could finally change that.

Google’s upcoming OS includes two new APIs, namely “getTorchStrengthLevel” and “turnOnTorchWithStrengthLevel.” The first method brings up the brightness level of the LED flash, while the second one sets it from a minimum value of 1 to a maximum determined by the hardware. Previously, apps could only switch the LED flash on or off using the “setTorchMode” API.

That said, not all Android 13 phones might be able to toggle the brightness levels of the flashlight. According to the blog, support for the feature will require an update to the camera hardware. You can go and read the technical details of why this is the case over at Esper, but essentially, It’s possible that only Google’s own Pixel phones might be getting the feature with Android 13. Other devices upgrading to or launching with Android 13 may not be able to implement flashlight brightness controls.

If you are a Samsung user, however, it’s likely you can already control the brightness levels of the flashlight on your phone. That’s because Samsung has offered the option on its own for a long time.

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