There is considerable interest in creating a precise and sensitive strategy for in situ visualizing and profiling intracellular miRNA. Present here is a novel photocaged amplified FRET nanoflare (PAFN), which spatiotemporal controls of mRNA-powered nanomachine for precise and sensitive miRNA imaging in live cells. The PAFN could be activated remotely by light, be triggered by specific low-abundance miRNA and fueled by high-abundance mRNA. It offers high spatiotemporal control over the initial activity of nanomachine at desirable time and site, and a 'one-to-more' ratiometric signal amplification model. The PAFN, an unprecedented design, is quiescent during the delivery process. However, upon reaching the interest tumor site, it can be selectively activated by light, and then be triggered by specific miRNA, avoiding undesirable early activation and reducing nonspecific signals, allowing precise and sensitive detection of specific miRNA in live cells. This strategy may open new avenues for creating spatiotemporally controllable and endogenous molecule-powered nanomachine, facilitating application at biological and medical imaging. © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.