External Flash app lets you fire off up to 16 other iPhone’s flashes at once


posted Monday, July 22, 2013 at 4:52 PM EST


Earlier this year we reported on a patent from Apple for using the flash from multiple iOS devices to illuminate an image better than just the on-board one could. Well, it seems a third party developer has beaten Apple to the punch, releasing External Flash, an app that lets you take control of up to 16 other iPhones to set up your own off-camera flash network.

External Flash sets up an ad hoc network from one iPhone, and slaves up to 16 devices together for a flash rig. When you take a photo from the primary device, it turns on the flashes of the rest of the iPhones (or really, any iOS device), giving you a huge amount of light. The image is then shared between the linked phones. You can see it in action in the video below, from Addictive Tips.

There are some pretty obvious limitations with this app. Unlike the aforementioned Apple patent, there's no metering for brightness controls, so it'll just blast all of the flashes at full strength, making it hard to expose properly. It's also hard to tell from the video if it fires the flash as a single burst of light, or just turns it on as an illumination source for a few seconds during the exposure.

At the very least, it's a free app, so you can get a bunch of your friends to download it next time you're hanging out, and maybe you can get your party photos coming out looking just a little bit better.

(via Laughing Squid, LifeHacker, Addictive Tips)