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10 Reading Light Apps to Bring Brightness on a Budget

Nina Grauer

Staff Writer

Transcending charmingly eccentric and entering just plain weird, Nina Grauer is currently a Senior in Penn State's BFA Stage Management Program. She originally hails from Long Island, and hopes to settle in NYC, land of walking too fast. She lives with her dog in training, Pooka, and no one else because she's an introvert and is autistic. Please don't touch her.

It is a truth universally acknowledged: to read, one must have light. And let’s face it, most of us just don’t have reading lights. Or the one you have is broken, because those things seem to be made from glass and old chewing gum. But you probably already own something that has a built-in light: your cellphone! So here are ten reading light apps that’ll save your eyes and your wallet.

Reading Light Apps for Apple and Android Phones

Flashlight App IconFlashlight (Free)

This app lets you get the most out of your phone’s built-in flashlight. It also comes with a compass and a strobing ability so you can read, but with a dance club feel (I’m just kidding, but it’d probably be useful for self defense or something).

Reading Light Apps for Apple Phones

Flashlight for iPhone + iPad App IconFlashlight for iPhone + iPad (Free With In-App Purchases)

This app provides different types of light, including fire so you can read by candlelight with none of the fire hazard.

Light - LED Flashlight App IconLight LED Flashlight (Free With In-App Purchases)

This app is (apparently) very fast, and the interface looks very simple and easy to use. There are also a few simple settings to allow for a bit of customization without getting too complicated.

Flashlight | Night Light App IconFlashlight | Night Light (Free)

This reading light app uses your phone’s entire screen to light up your book with a soft wash of light. You can also set a timer so that your screen doesn’t just turn off in the middle of reading. Or maybe you wanna make sure you only read for an hour before bed. Use the timer to remind yourself to put down that book and get to sleep!

Best Flash Light - Flashlight App IconBest Flash Light Flashlight (Free With In-App Purchases)

In addition to its light features, this app also has a magnifier, which would be great for reading in bed when you’re super tired, or for anyone who’s visually impaired. This isn’t a feature that I found offered with any of the other apps, and I always love something with increased accessibility features.

iBOOKLIGHT App IconiBOOKLIGHT (Free With In-App Purchases)

This minimalist reading light app with its very minimalist icon uses your phone’s screen to illuminate your book. The soft light is perfect for those reading next to partners. It’s also such a mystery for people scrolling through your phone. What’s this app? What does it do??? Gotta click to find out!

Reading Light Apps For Android Phones

Amazing Flashlight App IconAmazing Flashlight (Free With In-App Purchases)

This one has a night vision camera for stealthy reading, which definitely sets it apart from other reading light apps. Plus it has both screen light and flashlight options. There’s also a lock feature so you don’t accidentally turn off your light.

Tiny Flashlight + LED App IconTiny Flashlight + LED (Free)

This app will tell you how long you can use it in-app, so you can get a good idea of how long you can read before you charge. So read away, free from the fear that you’ll accidentally drain all of your battery and not be able to do that quick final Twitter scroll before you go to sleep.

 Booklight - screen night light and desk lamp App Icon Booklight Screen Night Light and Desk Lamp (Free)

This reading light app has a default golden light with many other color options. This might also be a weird thing to comment on, but I think the app icon art is super cute! If you have a secret desire for aesthetic app icons, maybe give this one a try.

Reading Light for Bed App IconReading Light for Bed (Free)

This app has a ton of colors to select from and has a timer just in case you fall asleep mid-book so your phone doesn’t just die.

And just in case you changed your mind about that whole “reading light that isn’t also your phone” thing, here are some recommendations.