Jun 05, 2023

How to turn your phone flashlight or smart lights on and off like a true Harry Potter fan

June 6, 2023 By Michael Perrigo Leave a Comment

If you’ve ever wished to illuminate your surroundings with a single word instead of fidgeting with the touchscreen and quick settings of your Pixel or Android phone, I’ve got a fun trick for you. Just like Harry Potter did with his wand, you too can bring a little magic to your everyday life.

By uttering the word "Lumos!" using your device's voice input, you can activate the flashlight or "torch", which is the technical term, instantly flooding your environment with light. This feature, cleverly hidden as an Easter egg, allows you to tap into your inner wizard, especially if you’re a big Harry Potter nerd like me.

Of course, it wouldn't be complete without a way to extinguish the light, just as wizards do when they want to go incognito (they’d probably just use an invisibility cloak though, right?) To turn the flashlight off, simply say "Knox!" (pronounced "nox", the "k" is silent) to your voice assistant, and watch the light vanish as if you cast a counter-spell. It's a small yet immensely satisfying gesture that adds an extra element of whimsy to your phone's functionality.

The "Lumos" and "Knox" commands are directly linked to the Harry Potter series. In J.K. Rowling's magical universe, "Lumos" is a spell used to create light, while "Knox" is its counterpart, used to extinguish it. These aren't just exclusive to your phone though – many smart light systems also offer integration with voice assistants, providing you with the ability to control your home's lighting with Harry Potter-inspired commands.

By connecting your smart lights to Google Assistant through the Home app you can say "Lumos!" to brighten up the room and "Knox!" to return to darkness, all without lifting a finger. When I tried this though, it only lit up my kitchen. Maybe it was telling me I’m a house elf or something. Assistant does have quite a bit of attitude lately.

Please enable JavaScript

Anyway, Google is full of geeks who pack playful surprises, or Easter eggs into its products and services. These hidden features pay homage to pop culture references. For instance, saying "When am I" to Google Assistant (instead of "Where" am I) triggers a witty response from Doctor Who. Additionally, the command "Do a barrel roll!" in Google Search prompts the webpage to spin around, reminiscent of a move from Star Fox.

I’m sure I’ll hear all about this being super old in the comments since it's been around since like 2018, but I’d never heard of it until my girlfriend came running in the room yesterday to tell me excitedly that she’d discovered it. I wanted to share this because if I hadn't ever encountered it, there's no doubt others haven't either. She's not particularly tech-savvy, so for her to light up with this revelation goes to show how far the little things to for regular users.

Filed Under: Guides and How-To's, New & Upcoming Features, Smart Home

"Lumos!" "Knox!"