How to have your iPhone’s flash blink when receiving calls or messages

iPhone 6 gray silver gold back camera

Your iPhone usually lets you know when a notification comes in with sound, vibration or both. But in certain situations, audible alerts and vibration won’t be enough to attract your attention, like when in a loud environment such as a night club. Or perhaps you simply don’t want to be disturbed with sound or vibration at all.

With iOS 5 and later, iPhones from the iPhone 4 onward can use the LED flash next to the rear camera to alert you of incoming calls, messages and other notifications. In this post, we’ll show you how to enable LED flash for notifications.

How to enable iPhone’s LED flash for notifications

Step 1: Launch the Settings app on your iPhone

Step 2: Navigate to the General → Accessibility section.

Step 3: Toggle the LED Flash for Alerts switch to the ON position under the Hearing heading.

iOS 9 LED Flash for Alerts toggle iPhone screenshot 001

That’s it, now your iPhone’s flash will blink three times when notifications for incoming calls, texts and other alerts hit your handset. To disable the notification light—excuse me, LED flash for alerts—toggle the setting to the OFF position.

LED flash not blinking?

One caveat to keep in mind: this works only when your iPhone is locked or asleep, not when it’s unlocked. In addition, your phone must be resting with its screen down for this to work or you wouldn’t be able to see the blinking light.

The light will blink even if the phone is in silent mode, vibration is disabled in Settings → Sounds and the ringer switch on the side is turned off. These visual alerts are great when coupled with the usual vibrations already provided by the system.

The reason why this feature is nested under the Accessibility section of the Settings app is because Apple designed it for people with hearing impairments, although anyone who would rather receive visual rather than audio alerts can use it as well.

If you’d rather be alerted of incoming notifications through vibration, you might want to customize vibration patterns to your liking.

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