There are so many times when I have to place my phone on mute, that I often forget to un-silence the beast. When that happens, I miss calls. With the help of a handy little app called Flash On Call, those missed calls are a thing of the past. The idea behind the app (and the host of similar apps) is to use the smartphone's built-in flash to do its thing and alert the user of an incoming call (or SMS).
Flash On Call works — and it works well. When a call comes in, if you're anywhere within sight of your phone, there's no way that you can miss the bright flash. Most of these apps (just like Flash On Call) are fairly single-minded, so they're incredibly simple to use. I'll walk you through the process of installing and using the Flash On Call app, so you too will never miss another call.
The installation of Flash On Call is quite simple. This is a free, ad-based, app. The ads can sometimes get a bit intrusive, but since you really only ever use this app to configure it, you'll hardly see them (thankfully, they don't pop up on incoming calls). With that said, let's walk through the installation procedure.
- Open the Google Play Store on your Android device
- Search for Flash On Call
- Locate and tap the entry by Kostadin Tonev
- Tap Install
- Read the permissions listing
- If the permissions are acceptable, tap Accept
- Allow the installation to complete
Once it's installed, you should find a launcher on either your home screen or the app drawer. Tap that launcher, and then (if necessary) tap to close any advertisement that pops up (they will... trust me).
There isn't much to the usage of Flash On Call. You simply tap the the mode(s) you want, configure the amount of flashes and blink interval, enable/disable flash for SMS/MMS, and then tap the ON/OFF bar at the bottom (Figure A).
Flash On Call running on a Verizon-branded HTC M8.
The modes are used for when you want the flash to warn you of an incoming call/sms. By default, they are checked in all three modes (normal, vibrate, and silent). You can disable any mode by unchecking the entry.
I do not recommend dropping the blink interval below the default — otherwise, you'll create a disturbing strobe effect and drain your battery. So, an interval of 50 ms or higher is recommended.
You'll also notice a button that says REMOVE ADS FOR 7 DAYS. If you're willing to fill out a survey, the ads will disappear. If you venture into the configuration options often, you might consider this. If not... well, the choice is yours.
There is one caveat to Flash On Call. It works much better on certain devices. For example, on the HTC M8, I found Flash On Call to wait until very late into the call to start flashing. The Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Motorola Moto X, on the other hand, flashed immediately.
If you're looking for a sure-fire way to prevent missing calls (especially when you silence your phone a lot), Flash On Call might save you. Just make sure to be considerate and not have this app running when in the cinema or other dark room, as the flash on some devices can be incredibly bright.
How do you keep from missing critical calls on your mobile device? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.