Normally, enabling your phone’s flashlight consists of swiping down from the top notification shade to reveal the quick settings and then tapping the “Flashlight” icon. To turn it off, you have to go and do the same thing. In recent memory, Google has added more efficient ways of doing this like shaking the phone or telling Assistant “Hey Google, turn on the flashlight”.
However, that doesn’t mean that it’s readily available in a way that reduces friction. You may find yourself in situations where you can’t use your voice – particularly if you’re in the dark where you need a flashlight! Think of a life-threatening situation or when everyone is asleep at home…yes, yes I do watch too many movies. Another example is having to swipe down twice from the notification shade and tap the flashlight icon that everyone quite frankly has in a different tile position. This just doesn’t provide a consistent user experience!
June’s Pixel Feature Drop update that we covered last week included a small nod to a shortcut you can enable on the At a Glance widget of the device home screen. It allows you to quickly turn your active flashlight off with one tap. While it doesn’t stay on the widget and allow you to turn the flashlight back on (it disappears after you tap it!), it’s still an easier way to shut things down after you’re finished using it to look under the couch for the TV remote.
To access it, just press and hold the At a Glance widget at the top of your Pixel phone’s home screen and then tap “Customize”. From there, scroll down and toggle “Flashlight – Shortcut and reminder when flashlight is on”. I imagine that beyond just the efficiency of it, it will also help those who have enabled their flashlight and don’t realize it until the device is overheating or low on battery. We all have that one relative, right?
Let me know in the comments if you think this should be persistent when toggled in the customization section so that you can also turn the flashlight on without having to swipe down from the top of your phone. I’m interested in knowing what else you think ought to occupy At a Glance in the future as well, so be sure to discuss below!