If you’ve been using your iPhone screen as a dim light to stumble your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night, we’ve got good news for you: your iPhone has a built-in flashlight. If you’re using iOS 7, you can quickly activate a feature on your phone that turns the camera flash into a constant stream of bright light. It’s pretty easy to access, but it’s also easy to miss if you don’t know where to look.

How to access the flashlight on iPhone 5 with iOS 7

Touch the very bottom edge of the iPhone screen so your finger is just above the circle button and drag or flick your finger upwards. This will pull up your control centre, where you can quickly adjust your iPhone’s brightness, volume level, camera, and so on. This upward flick should work at any point when you’re using your iPhone, whether or not your phone is locked and whether or not you’re in the middle of using an app.

 

Once the control centre is up, you’ll see a row of icon options across the bottom of the screen: flashlight, timer, calculator and camera. Press – you guessed it! – the flashlight icon. Your camera flash will turn on and give you a constant stream of light until you turn it off. You can minimize the control centre (touch the subtle black arrow above the Bluetooth icon and flick down) and the light will stay on until you turn it off by pressing the flashlight icon again. Be warned, though ­– keeping the flashlight on will quickly drain your battery, so make sure you use it only when necessary. If you’re not in complete darkness or if your phone is resting on a flat surface screen up it can be easy to forget that the flashlight is on, so make sure you double check.

Best alternate flashlight apps

For those who have yet to upgrade to iOS 7 (or who refuse to), or those who want more options than just a simple constant stream of light, there are several flashlight apps in the App Store you can download. Most of them are free and called some variation of “Flashlight,” so it shouldn’t be too hard to find and download one quickly.

iHandy Inc.

The free Flashlight app from iHandy can give you a constant stream of light like the built-in iPhone version does, but it also has strobe mode with 10 different frequencies which can be very handy for emergencies. This app also has a built-in SOS signal and a mini map you can access by tapping on the compass.

iTorch Flashlight by Pixelinlove Ltd

The free iTorch app does the same as above – constant, strobe, SOS – but it also has a built-in brightness control, which is a nice option to have if you’d more likely use the light for reading rather than to guide your way through a dense forest at night.

Torch Flashlight by RV AppStudios LLC

This app has a lot of options. The light comes on as soon as you open the Torch Flashlight app, it has a clap-on-clap-off feature, and a battery control censor to keep track of your rapidly draining battery life. It also has video zoom mode in which you can use the camera and flashlight to zoom in on the illuminated object and a mode where you shake the camera to turn it on and off – there doesn’t seem to be an obvious use for these options, but they’re there if you want them. There is also a lock option so you can keep the flashlight on.