What is a dynamic island and how does it work?
At the start of the rumor cycle, before the announcement of the iPhone 14 Pro, we found out that Apple was working on alternative to notch which included a pill cutout and a punch cutout to accommodate the TrueDepth camera hardware.
It wasn’t until late August, a week after the invitations to Apple iPhone events were released, that we only wrote that these notches would appear as one continuous, longer pill shape when the “iPhone 14 Pro” is used, and that Apple also plans to integrate software features around the pill.
As we now know, in the “iPhone 14 Pro” models, the display pixels around what Apple calls the “Dynamic Island” combine it into one pill-shaped area that resizes and reshapes to accommodate different types of alerts, notifications, and interactions by rotating it in a kind of information center in front and in the middle.
Which iPhone models have Dynamic Island?
Dynamic Island is limited to the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. The standard iPhone 14 models still offer the same notch as the iPhone 13 models.
What can a dynamic island do?
Here is a breakdown of the many functions that Dynamic Island can fulfill.
Dynamic Island: View output and alerts
- Apple Pay transaction receipts
- Privacy indicators when using a microphone or camera
- AirDrop file transfers
- AirPods connection status and battery life
- IPhone charging status and battery life
- Low battery alerts
- Silent mode on or off
- Face ID unlock
- Locking / unlocking Carkey
- Unlocking Apple Watch
- NFC interactions
- AirPlay connections
- Focus mode changes
- Actions on shortcuts
- Airplane mode / no data alerts
- SIM card alerts
- Accessories combine
- Find my alerts
Dynamic Island: Background Activities
- Upcoming and turn-by-turn directions to Maps
- Incoming call and call duration
- Remaining time for the song to play
- Active timers
- Live Sports Activity
- SharePlay sessions
- Screen recording
- Voice memo recordings
- Connection to personal hotspot
Can I interact with Dynamic Island?
It is possible to interact with some types of content displayed on Dynamic Island. For example, if it shows something related to an app’s activity in the background, you can tap Dynamic Island to switch directly to the associated app.
Under certain circumstances, such as when playing media, you can also press and hold Dynamic Island to display a widget containing the playback controls.
Dynamic Island can also display multiple background activities at once, such as counting down time and listening to music. When this happens, the island breaks down into a larger pill-shaped area and a smaller circular area so you can see and interact with both activities. You can switch between them and touch them just like in the standard Dynamic Island interface.
Overall, the Dynamic Island in the “iPhone 14 Pro” models is the kind of impressive software and hardware integration that Apple is famous for, and the ability of third-party developers to exploit its potential means we can expect new and unexpected features out of it.
Also, with the release of iOS 16.1 later in 2022, Dynamic Island will also be working with Live Actions in third-party apps, so there’s a lot more to expect.