Can my Android phone be anchored or positioned to function as a reading light? I like to sit on my couch and read, with the book on a side table. Pictures 1-2 herefrom, 3 herefrom.

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It's obviously too unproductive and wearisome to hold the phone over the book in one hand for hours, as I read and flip pages with the other hand.


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    I don't know where he got it, but my father-in-law gave me a folding rechargeable LED lamp. I use it as my bedside light and it lasts for weeks/months between charges. It's ALSO a pretty good USB Charger (Has 2 usb ports for charging other devices, can recharge my phone once in a pinch). I really love this thing. It's quite bright with a surface the size of my phone full of leds. Folds down to the size of a (very) thick phone.
    – Bill K
    Jul 5, 2019 at 16:07

5 Answers 5


Your question includes a solution too, and that is the wrong solution.

Using the phone's light as a reading light is definitely an unfortunate idea in the long run, because it will enforce faster discharge of the battery, followed by other charges. That is exactly what kills phone batteries.

It is a lot more recommended to buy some cheap appliance, designed to do exactly that task. These appliances can be head (your own :)) mounted, wall mounted, free standing on a table, even attachable with a (big) clip to the book. They might provide both battery-stored energy, as well as connection to the wall socket (possibly through an adapter).

Just throw a search on your preferred search engine, and choose from the large variety something that suits your needs best.

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    How much faster does a smartphone discharge when displaying a white screen at lowest brightness? I guess the effect is pretty small. You could even plug it in while using it as a lamp.
    – Michael
    Jul 5, 2019 at 10:06
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    I am not an expert in batteries, so I cannot answer. However, the more a battery is (dis)charged, the sooner it dies. It is a fact of life. I would not kill my phone's battery, considering that other cheaper, safer and more environmentally solutions exist.
    – virolino
    Jul 5, 2019 at 10:13
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    It also generates heat. Heat is THE battery killer. Feel your phone after the light has been on for a few minutes.
    – Bill K
    Jul 5, 2019 at 16:00
  • @Michael quite a bit. Even at a lower brightness, the screen is generally using more power than anything else in the phone.
    – hobbs
    Jul 6, 2019 at 22:38
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    The effect is huge. The backlight is the largest consumer of power on a phone or tablet. That's why early Kindle devices had fantastically long runtime (for a tablet), their screen was designed to use under ambient, so it had no backlight. Jul 7, 2019 at 12:35

For the love of god, buy a lamp! A little table lamp or perhaps a standard lamp, depending on where you're reading. Or else if there's some special need for darkness, look into buying a torch, many are rechargable.

You can even get, quite inexpensively, the sort of lamp cave explorers use. Straps to your forehead. The better ones are rechargable, the cheaper ones aren't. Although you could get rechargable batteries and a charger to counter that, since this is something you're going to use a lot you don't want to shell out for endless batteries.

A phone is not designed to make a good lamp Using it's camera flash LED gets hot and eats battery massively. They're useful in emergencies cos you've always got your phone on you, but it's not an everyday sort of thing.

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    This doesn't seem to answer the question, which is about "how to use a phone" not "what else can I use instead". Jul 5, 2019 at 8:19
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    @Randal'Thor It seems to completely answer the question, to the extent of basically being a duplicate of the accepted answer. Jul 5, 2019 at 11:22
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    @Randal'Thor The question is an X-Y problem. The OP wants to read a book in the dark and have (incorrectly) assumed their phone should be part of solving that problem. Jul 5, 2019 at 14:10
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    We have a usb booklight - it either runs off a few watch batteries in a base on a clip, or you can plug it in with a USB extension cable and clip the base to it. We have one like this - bhphotovideo.com/images/images2500x2500/…
    – Cinderhaze
    Jul 5, 2019 at 14:20
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    Oh boy, there's nothing like using an $800 flashlight to help you go blind. +1
    – Mazura
    Jul 5, 2019 at 18:29

You can get a clip-on gooseneck mount for a cell phone or tablet that could be used to hold your phone in an appropriate position. I picked up one of these cheap one Black Friday and was very impressed with how well it holds my tablet. There are other models that have larger clamps, cup-holder mounts, etc.

That said, if you're talking about using the camera flash LED as a light then I'd definitely discourage that -- it'll kill your battery, and those things get mighty hot. If you're just talking about using your phone's screen then it's better, but I'd still just buy a small lamp.

amazon.com image


Pictures 1 and 3 already display a solution for this: the glass or cup can double as a standard for your phone. Presumably you don't need the light while you're drinking. Since those objects are round, balancing your phone might be a bit of a problem. Otherwise, you might be better off with basically any rectangular paperweight. Maybe other books which are still on your 'to read' list? (I tend to keep those on a bookcase shelf separate from the ones I already read, but this might be another way to set them apart.)


You can purchase Head Mount for the phone, e.g. this one looks nice.

This way just attach the phone over your forehead, turn the light on, and you can read freely, anywhere, with both hands free.

Happy reading! :-)

  • The light would be moving as you move your head. That seems quite uncomfortable for reading. Jul 6, 2019 at 16:59

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