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.

Feel free to share this tip on social media. As per usual, you can submit tutorial and how-to ideas at [email protected].

  • Ds

    wasn’t there a jailbreak tweak in the works at one point that would allow the use to set a specific number of pixels on the screen to do just this rather than having the entire screen come on? from my understanding the user would also be able to change the color depending on the app notification as well.

    • Norbi Whitney

      Unfortunately that’s literally impossible with the iPhone screen. It can only be all on or all off.

      • Ds

        it’s not “impossible” yes I understand that with the way the LCD screen is they are either all on or all off. so you would have to turn the entire screen on to make that tweak possible but if Apple was to ever go to OLED screen then this is totally possible.

      • Norbi Whitney

        I agree entirely that it would be possible with a change of technology, but you said “wasn’t there a jailbreak tweak in the works”… so unless the tweak also changed which kind of screen you had, my comment still stands.

  • Morgan Freeman

    Note that it does not REQUIRE that the phone be lying face down to work, you just may not see the flashing as well. That little LED is very bright and unless it’s facing a black hole, you’ll probably see the light bouncing off of the surface the phone is lying on/in.

  • leart

    used this in the past, and is a pretty nice way to get notifications but the downside is that it will drain a little the battery, when mine was not that new anymore I stopped to use this …

  • Eni

    No, just no, the amount of people using this feature and driving me crazyy is too damn hight

    • Agreed. It’s ridiculously annoying and not very necessary.

      • Elias Chao

        This is actually for people with hearing issues. I don’t know why others are using it.

  • George

    Lol this feature is like 4 years old why is this relevant?

    • Bugs Bunnay

      Because idb probably never wrote about it.

      • George

        Bet you they have

    • AJLind

      Because some of us still need help with this. Like myself. 🙂

  • Digitalfeind

    I had this on until I was driving. Doesn’t mix well for me. Lol.

  • Benedict


  • Bugs Bunnay

    The best part is no jailbreak required! Holy cow!

  • AJLind

    Thank you for explicitly pointing out that the iPhone must be locked for the blinking alert via iPhone Flash notification to work. No other site mentioned that.