A method and apparatus for backlighting a transflective display within a hand-held computing device. An external light source and a power supply, dedicated to the light source, shines light through an input in a side of a computing device. The light which shines through the input is directed through the display by a light directing means. Light is conducted by a light conducting panel positioned along the back surface of a transflective display upon which text and images may be presented. The light so conducted shines through the transflective display, allowing a user to see images presented on the display even in subdued ambient light. Removal of the light source has no impact on the operation of the computing device other than to remove light which may only be necessary for viewing the display in low ambient light conditions.