How the iPhone 14 Pro’s New “Dynamic Island” Works
With the launch of iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, Apple introduced an updated design that removes the notch on the front for the TrueDepth camera. Instead, Apple made the hardware lighter and placed the proximity sensor below the display, allowing for a smaller pill-shaped cutout.
As we learned during the rumor cycle, the new cutout consists of a circle for the camera and a second pill-shaped cutout for the TrueDepth hardware, but Apple has combined them into a single cutout that he calls Dynamic Island. We thought we’d take a closer look at Dynamic Island, which is one of the smartest UI changes Apple has implemented in recent years.
Dynamic island shape
The dynamic island is not a static cutout and can change size and shape to blend into the user interface and provide new visual tools in the center of the iPhone screen. In standard use, it’s a small, pill-shaped cutout, but Apple uses pixels to enlarge it to match different tasks.
During an Apple Pay payment, for example, the dynamic island expands into a square shape to match the Face ID confirmation interface, and during a phone call it expands to be larger so you can have phone controls front and center.
Basically, Dynamic Island is capable of hosting running background tasks that you may need to come back to while doing other things on your phone.
Uses of the dynamic island
So far we only have the demos from Apple, but it looks like Dynamic Island can display all sorts of different information. We’ve summarized the ways it’s been used so far.
- Expanded into a large rectangle to show upcoming Maps directions without having to open the Maps app.
- Displaying Maps directions in a smaller pill-shaped interface when you just need a quick glance at the next turn.
- Square shape for an Apple Pay payment confirmation.
- Display of a musical waveform and the time remaining on a currently playing song.
- Tracking the arrival time of a Lyft.
- Display privacy indicators when the microphone or camera is in use.
- Showing a small bar with the phone icon and the duration of the phone call.
- Display of a timer.
- Monitoring sports results.
- Access music controls and a music player.
- AirPods connection status and battery life display.
- Display of iPhone charging status and battery life.
The dynamic island can display notifications or information that you are actively following. It will work with the Live Activities feature of iOS 16, so you can track sports scores, Uber rides and more from the top of the iPhone screen.
It should be noted that whenever Dynamic Island is used like this, it does its task without interrupting what you are doing in the application you are in. So if you read Twitter, you can also control your music through the dynamic island with just a tap.
Island of Split
Since the TrueDepth camera system is actually housed in two separate cutouts that are merged together via software, the dynamic island can do a trick by separating into a little pill on the left and a circle on the right, both of which are capable of displaying different information at the same time, such as music controls and a timer.
Dynamic interaction with the island
When you tap on it, the dynamic island expands to let you interact with the content it’s currently offering, and when you’re in an app, you can swipe up to send content from the application to the dynamic island so that you can return to the home screen.
Third-party app support
Apple allows third-party app developers to integrate their apps into Dynamic Island so that you can access content from third-party apps as well as content from Apple’s apps. Third-party app Flighty, for example, is able to put your flight information into the dynamic island so you can see it with just a tap.
Dynamic island responses
So far, reactions to Dynamic Island have been largely positive, as can be seen in our feature feedback roundup. It has been called “one of Apple’s best designs”.
Dynamic Island has to be one of my favorite software surprises for a while. Looking back, that explains a lot of Apple’s recent design decisions on iOS: pill-shaped alerts, live activities, compact user interface. They played the long game. I like that. #AppleEvent pic.twitter.com/IGErzZBKq1
— Federico Viticci (@viticci) September 7, 2022
Dynamic Island is limited to iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. The standard iPhone 14 models continue to offer the same notch as the iPhone 13 models.
We’ll be picking up an iPhone 14 Pro when pre-orders go live tomorrow, and when it ships on the 16th, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at all the new features, providing a much more detailed look at Dynamic Island and its functionality.