White light-emitting diodes (WLEDs) have matched the emission efficiency of florescent lights and will rapidly spread as light source for homes and offices in the next 5 to 10 years. WLEDs provide a light element having a semiconductor light emitting layer (blue or near-ultraviolet (nUV) LEDs) and photoluminescence phosphors. These solid-state LED lamps, rather than organic light emitting diode (OLED) or polymer light-emitting diode (PLED), have a number of advantages over conventional incandescent bulbs and halogen lamps, such as high efficiency to convert electrical energy into light, reliability and long operating lifetime. To meet with the further requirement of high color rendering index, warm light with low color temperature, high thermal stability and higher energy efficiency for WLEDs, new phosphors that can absorb excitation energy from blue or nUV LEDs and generate visible emissions efficiently are desired. The criteria of choosing the best phosphors, for blue (450-480 nm) and nUV (380-400 nm) LEDs, strongly depends on the absorption and emission of the phosphors. Moreover, the balance of light between the emission from blue-nUV LEDs and the emissions from phosphors (such as yellow from Y3
) is important to obtain white light with proper color rendering index and color temperature. Here, we will review the status of phosphors for LEDs and prospect the future development.