Popular accessory maker Anker has released an external LED flash for iPhones that’s certified under Apple’s Made for iPhone (MFi) program. The product retails for $50 and unlike the flash built into your phone, this one should actually be useful for taking photos and not just as a flashlight (although it can do that too).
The only notable downside is that Anker says it’s only compatible with the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro. Once buyers get it in their hands we might learn that it actually works with other iPhone models too. The Anker LED flash connects through the iPhone’s Lightning port and works natively with Apple’s camera app.
External flash is better for photography — What’s nice about an external flash is that you can aim it in a direction different from where your phone’s camera is pointing, creating shadow effects on any subject. Anker’s flash includes an optional diffuser, which can help spread out all that bright, concentrated light coming from the flash so it’s not as harsh. The diffuser will also illuminate more of a photograph than just what the flash is pointed at, and produce less strong shadows.
Flash on mobile phones is notorious for producing terrible looking photos — I can’t remember the last time I took a good photo with it — and hurts people’s eyes. Sometimes a phone’s night mode isn’t enough to compensate for low-light situations, though, and external lighting units can be a great option in those cases. Anker says its flash can take 10,000 shots before it needs to be charged, which is done using a Lightning cable.
9to5Mac says the LED flash is supposed to become available on Anker’s website and Amazon sometime today.