Free Android Screen Brightness App/Widget – Backlight!

Backlight IconBacklight! is a free brightness app for Android that changes your devices’ screen backlight with a single click. It also allows complete customization of brightness levels.  You can even assign it to a gesture or a main dock for easier access.

Backlight! Mobile Link
Backlight! Market Link

Android recognizes values from 1-255 with 1 being darkest and 255 being brightest. It also has support for automatic brightness using letter ‘a’.  Default levels are 1, 50, 150, and 255 respectively.

Backlight! controls the screen brightness level only. It does not adjust keyboard brightness or other light features of the phone.


(01-02-2012) Backlight 1.4.3 is released.  Fixed problem with Sony Ericsson phones.  Optimized text.

Download Backlight! from Android Market – (1.4.3)

You can also search for “backlight” in the Android Market or use a QR bar code scanner and scan one of the images on the right.

Download Source for previous version (1.1.0)

If you’re interested in how this application worked pre-cupcake, I have posted pre-cupcake source code here.

  • Change brightness with one click.
  • Cycle through multiple brightness intensities instead of just one.
  • Switch the device into automatic brightness mode if it supports it.
  • Allow user to set custom brightness levels.
  • Show the current brightness value in a popup or widget.
  • Change the intensity popup timeout.
  • Display to the user brightness values as percentages or actual.
  • Enable/Disable Analytics
  • Default Settings:
    • Brightness levels:1,50,150,255
    • No intensity popup
    • Short popup timeout
    • No percentages
    • Analytics enabled
Planned Features
  1. None ATM

Upgrading from an earlier version of Backlight? Don’t forget to re-add the widgets to the home screen!


Click on the icon or the widget to change the brightness level of the system. The brightness will be increased from your current setting to the next highest custom setting. Click multiple times to cycle through all the custom brightness levels.

A setup page is provided upon first run. It allows users to set the default preferences (1,50,150,255 and no popup) and start using the app. It allows users to customize their own brightness levels, turn on the popup if desired, show percentages instead of values in popup and widget, set the popups timeout, and enable/disable analytics.

Backlight! Setup can be accessed again by installing the setup widget on the home screen or by uninstalling then reinstalling the app.

  1. You can create a Keyboard shortcut to Backlight! to increase brightness while your in an application.
  2. You can assign the Backlight! Launcher to a gesture if using ADW Launcher or Launcher Pro.
  • Occasionally when clicking the app to change brightness a android warning icon appears on the entire screen for a fraction of a second.  Removing and adding the widget – or – rebooting the phone seems to make this go away.  Looking into.
  • The custom brightness values section doesn’t seem to work with non English input keyboards.  Looking into.
  • Backlight! must be installed on the internal memory of the device.  Widgets dont work when app is moved to SD.  Some Cyanogen Roms and others allow you to move apps regardless and this just wont work.  If you have, just move it back to internal memory.
  • Error message when user types in an invalid number displays a long string of numbers and not the actual error message. This means you typed a sequence of brightness intensities that were invalid like 1,50,155,255,300 or 1,,,,,50,150,255.
Tested Devices

Using Backlight!
Using Backlight! with gestures


Thank you to the following people for assisting or providing guidance in the creation of this app.


Backlight! is free! If you want to help the development of this app or just want to say thanks, click on the donate buttons below.

My Wish List 

29 thoughts on “Free Android Screen Brightness App/Widget – Backlight!

  1. Unfortunately, it is not working with the CyanogenMod rom 4.2.9+ Bummer because I LOVE this app! Gotta go with the built-in power widget for now :(

  2. Nice app! It even goes ‘darker’ than another brightness widget I have. (that one went to a minus-number on brightness, which can’t achieve any other way.)
    Is it possible to make it even darker? That is handy (nicer to my eyes) when reading or in the dark. I can see my Samsung Galaxy still getting temporary darker when switching to another application.

    By the way, the soft keypad does not pop up on the settings dialog, and if I force it to appear, it pops under and I can’t type. I had to do a copy-paste action as workaround.


  3. HELP!!!
    I just got this app and I pressed the icon a couple times to check out the brightness settings, and after a couple taps, my whole backlight turned off and wouldn’t turn back on.
    I tried to fix this by rebooting my phone by taking the battery out. When I turned the phone back on all of the graphics and audios that play when you turn on your phone played and looked fine, but as soon as it was fully booted up the screen went blank again.
    I have the Samsung Fascinate just fyi.

  4. Looks like this is a screen brightness app, rather than a “backlight” app. On the Samsung Captivate, the “backlight” refers to the light that is illuminated for the 4 “keys” at the very bottom below the screen (menu, home, back, search). An app to keep the “backlight” on as long as the screen is on would be very useful, even better if the brightness of the backlight could be controlled.


  5. Works great, I keep my phone on lowest possible brightness to conserve battery, and occasionally put it on auto when I’m outside and can’t see the screen. Every other widget has at least 3 or 4 preset brightness levels and you get no choice, all I wanted was a widget that just went back and forth between as dark as possible, and auto. The complete control over what this widget does easily allowed that!

    Thanks for the for the great widget, simple and versatile c:

  6. Would you consider making a widget that has only the bulb? Or have a setup option to have a transparent background? I like to have my widgets with no background so that I can see the nice screen backgrounds :) Thanks!

  7. Frank :Would you consider making a widget that has only the bulb? Or have a setup option to have a transparent background? I like to have my widgets with no background so that I can see the nice screen backgrounds :) Thanks!

    Oh, I forgot to say, it works great for me! Just what I was looking for.

  8. Works for me on DX2. My only suggestion would be to show the actual percentage or level on the widget itself instead of the popup. That way, at a glance, we can tell exactly where it’s set without having to toggle through to check it. Drives me nuts not having that info displayed, but it’s the only completely customizable beightness widget I could find, which is my main criteria.

    • Hi, It should do this. I believe version 1.4.1 shows the current level, whether in either real or percentages mode, on the widget itself. A couple things that could be causing that scenario is that you might have an older version of the app, or you have the launcher icon on the home screen instead of the widget, or try removing and readding the widget to the home screen.

  9. Works fine on my “HTC Wildfire S”, so you can add that to the list.

    I would like another feature added: A with a scale factor MaxLum, meaning that Automatic Brightness is working, but will be scaled by MaxLum. This would accomodate all those (including myself) complaining that Automatic Brightness is consistently too bright.

    Input format: A:80 – scales all values by a factor 0.8

  10. Hi

    I love this app, thanks so much. Use with Galaxy S i9000, with “A, 255, A, 1” This means you’re only ever one click away from auto (which works mostly) but can always override for bright light (255) or dark inside (1).

    It says its incompatible with my wife’s GT i9100 (Galaxy S2) running ICS; is this going to be the case always? Is there a similar alternative?


  11. Great app! I just downloaded it and it has everything what I wanted. I’m just wondering, if SETUP button could be also availble in Applications, not only in desktop?

    • Thanks for the feedback. Years ago I originally had the setup as an application instead of widget, and many users complained. Since I moved it to a widget not one complaint. I think it would be too risky to go back to that model and clutter up peoples’ app window. I wont rule it out and if enough users request it, I would probably bring it back.

  12. Love the app. However, I just reinstalled it after OTA update and can’t get the widget to show brightness as a percentage. The pop-up works, but the icon is just the bulb, no percentage. Have tried uninstalling/reinstalling, still doesn’t work.

    Any thoughts?

    • Thanks for the feedback. The only thing i can think of is that ota possibly replaced the widget with the launcher icon which doesnt have the ability to show the current value. Try removing the bulb from homescreen then readding the widget from the widgets screen and try both widget styles. Possibly one of the widgets is failing. Also what is your device? Tested on all my devices and it seems ok.

  13. Thank you for Backlight! This is exactly the tool that I was looking for, simply allowing me to toggle between two predefined brightness settings with one touch. Great!

  14. I wanted to install this widget, but I don’t understand, why it asks for Network communication (Full internet access) and Phone calls (Read phone state and idntity) permissions?

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