“I feel like people are silently judging me. As in, I don’t know how to use my phone. But I am into technology! I know how to use technology! I am an early adopter,” says Wilson, 47. A design issue on Apple’s part.”
Wilson is not alone. We’ve heard from dozens of readers about their lamp problems, and a lot of them are More Twitter usersNot more than 22 years old.
The flashlight button has been on the iPhone lock screen for several years. On the other side is an almost identical button that turns the camera on and turns on the light with just a little push. Turning on the flashlight can drain the phone battery, flash someone’s eye, or just feel embarrassed. (To skip to our tips on how to reduce this from happening, scroll to the bottom.)
Apple declined to comment on the matter.
To find out why this is happening, I asked people with the problem to explain how to pick up their phone and put it away. People without flashlight problems were careful not to touch the glass, and they carefully held their smartphones on the edges like a CD. iPhone owners who had their lights on were more likely to cling to the phone as if it wasn’t a giant slab of touch-sensitive glass, holding the front and back of the device between their fingers.
People of all ages seem to suffer from this problem. Tori Daniels, 25, says they’ve been lighting the lamp for years, most recently when they walked into a very black room and realized it was lit by their back pocket. Daniels says it’s more of an issue with button placement by Apple than a user error.
“I think it’s a level similar to the choppy thing. Not really awkward. More like, ‘Oh, shoot.'” Since when does this happen? Daniels says.
Zain Jaafar, 34, is not a fan of strangers telling him his flashlight is on.
I feel most people say that in a condescending tone. They will do their best to say “Excuse me sir… your lamp is on” and then smile with an arrogant smile. I think that’s the equivalent of driving a car and someone calling you a shriek.”
Drew Turner, 40, doesn’t think people judge him when the light’s on, but it still pisses them off when they say something. He keeps his phone in his back pocket, inadvertently pointing flashlight for all to see.
“I think I think it’s a problem for me because it doesn’t seem to happen to everyone, but I don’t know what to do differently,” Turner says.
Doing things by mistake on cell phones has a rich history dating back to demand butt. Calling someone unintentionally doesn’t happen often since lock screens became common, but now we’re running other things on our smartphones.
Divya Joel, 25, says turning on the light bulb is a common problem in her friend group. But the flashlight doesn’t occupy her as much as the camera, which once recorded a full 10-minute conversation from her pocket. “The occasional camera is a bit worrisome to me,” she says.
Another common unintended iPhone issue is SOS triggering and dialing 911, which can happen by pressing and holding the side button for too long.
But the bulb seems to be the most common problem, probably because the result is the easiest to see.
Many people find the flip-flop button so frustrating that they come up with their own ways to turn off the light. Some skip the screen completely and use Siri to turn off the light. (Try, “Hey, Siri, turn off the lamp.”)
Michael Wong, the 29-year-old VR founder, turns on the camera to quickly disable the light.
“I just swipe a little to the right and it turns off the lightbulb. It’s a lot easier to swipe right instead of pressing and holding the lightbulb button,” Wong says.
Tricks to turn your flash light on less
Try these tricks one by one to see if they help your problem. You can also watch my quick video version.
- Make the pressure more difficult: Go to Settings → Accessibility → Touch → Haptic touch. Set the duration of the touch to “slow”.
- Disable tap for alert: Go to Settings → Accessibility → Touch. Toggle the Tap to Wake setting.
- Disable Lift to Wake: Go to Settings → Display & Brightness. Toggle the Raise to Wake setting.
- Hold it differently: Hold your phone by the sides at all times, and assume the screen is always on.
- Get the Folio iPhone case: These cases have hard covers that fold over the screen, so there’s one more step to getting there.
Chris Velazko contributed to this report.
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