Bringing Apple’s Dynamic Island to an Android phone

Apple clearly knows a thing or two about design, and releasing top-quality iPhone hardware year after year has placed it at the forefront of trendsetting in the smartphone industry. Just think – when the company retired the headphone jack, we saw nearly every major Android manufacturer rushing to follow suit. However, sometimes things go the other way around and Android phones set the bar for iPhone features. Brands like Samsung have ditched the cutout in favor of circular cut holes for their front cameras. Apple may be fashionably late on this trend as the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max only switch to a pill-shaped notch called Dynamic Island this month, but boy does it still manage to make a good impression. Android developers were quick to try to replicate the software side of Apple’s implementation, and today we check how well an app called dynamicSpot manages to be successful in bringing the Dynamic Island experience to Android.


The Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pro certainly seems to be a fitting name for what we get – the rectangular pill-shaped cutout in the display surrounding the selfie camera and Face ID gear just floats there like an island in a sea of ​​pixels. When you tap on a notification in a nutshell, it responds with an animation and a resize, creating the illusion that the pill-shaped notch is physically expanding (which helps customize the notification icon indicators, current background tasks, and incoming alerts). These effects are a visual treat on the OLED displays used by iPhones (not to mention many Android devices, both mid-range and flagship) as they are capable of producing much deeper blacks than they are on an LCD screen.

Last week, the theme makers showed what Dynamic Island can look like on a Xiaomi phone. Promisingly, it was also a solution specific to one company’s devices, and we checked recently, the topic was still waiting for approval. But XDA’s developers have managed to spot a new app in early access called dynamicSpot, and after looking at it for yourself, it could be the perfect solution if you miss the Dynamic Island visual experience on Android phones – specifically those with centered punch cameras like Google Pixel 6 or Samsung Galaxy S22 series. The app is the brainchild of developer Jawomo, also known for its Bixby button remapping app and notification light app for OnePlus phones.

When installed, the lightweight app creates a black pill-shaped strip that surrounds the camera cutout on the screen with the notification icons. You can enlarge the island with a long tap of the pill and a short tap will connect you to the notification app. If that sounds backwards to you, a little IAP allows you to alter these interactions. As with other Android notifications, you can swipe to dismiss them, and if the pill disappears before you access the alert, just open the trusted notification area.

To start using dynamicSpot, you’ll need to grant it permission to read notifications and draw over other apps. We also suggest disabling power saving restrictions so that the process does not get killed in the background. The developer notes that the app itself doesn’t connect to the internet, which sounds good for privacy, but the lack of other permissions like Bluetooth and GPS means it loses the ability to display alerts when Bluetooth devices connect – a feature shown on iPhone 14 Pro.

For an application that is still in early access, dynamicSpot is already quite capable. It handles notifications for all installed apps, along with detailed controls for each and quick action buttons for some of them.

The clean interface of the personalization app has a toggle to turn the notification island on and off, as well as settings that allow you to adjust its vertical position, width and height, making it a perfect match for the punch camera. There’s even a handy test button so you don’t have to wait for your friend to ping you to see what your notifications will look like. What the app doesn’t have is no slider to adjust horizontal island position, so it doesn’t support phones with corner selfie camera cutouts like OnePlus Nord 2.

If you pay a small fee for the Pro version, you can control how long the pill remains after a notification arrives, as well as how the island behaves when the screen is off. You can also unlock alerts when the battery level is below 15 percent and when your phone is fully charged.

For an application that was likely developed in such a short space of time, dynamicSpot offers an impressive level of refinement. Even so, we understand that this is a beta in progress, and users can expect a few hiccups when speeding up. For example, at first, you’ll see notification pop-ups next to the pill icons creating a duplicate, but the solution is simple – turn off floating notifications for installed apps. You’ll probably want to set this up manually, because while dynamicSpot has a toggle to do it for you, it’s another paid Pro feature (plus, it doesn’t seem to work).

Floating notification must be turned off if you want to use the pill alone

Other minor inconveniences include displaying incorrect media duration on both sides of the playback progress bar, missing quick action buttons for some notifications, and incorrect system time and date displayed on the loading indicator.

Importantly, going back to the home screen on the phone doesn’t minimize the working island app, which is one of the biggest behavior changes that differs from the Apple implementation. It would be great to see apps like this benefit from tighter integration with Android launchers like Nova Launcher as they control app launch animations. We wouldn’t be surprised if the developers behind the upcoming launchers integrated some island-style feature into their own apps.

It would be unfair to expect the dynamism and refinement of an island-level iPhone from Android mimics developed in a week or two, but apps like this are already well on their way to becoming a favorite for theme and personalization enthusiasts for an iOS budget look. The developer promises to add more custom animations, interactions, and improve app support, but we hope they’ll fix some minor issues as well. If you like how it all sounds and want to take care of it, all you need is an Android device to install dynamicSpot with an OLED display – and all the best Android phones come with one.

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