Mobile

What is Apple Dynamic Island and how does it work?

(Pocket-lint) – Apple introduced a notch on the iPhone X in 2017. It hid the TrueDepth camera system and the front-facing camera. Over the next five years, iy did little to change how the notch looked and worked. Then, with the iPhone 14 Pro, the rumour mill predicted Apple would introduce a pill-shape cutout for the TrueDepth system and a hole-shape cutout for the camera. Well, it blew everyone away when it introduced something unexpected: Dynamic Island. 

Also: Apple iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro: Which should you get?

What is Apple’s Dynamic Island?

Dynamic Island is Apple’s new “notch” for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. Instead of looking like a blacked-out dead space at the top of the screen, it can morph into different shapes and sizes. You can even interact with it. Apple has created an entire software experience for this notch so that it can be genuinely useful and non-obtrusive. It can change to show you incoming calls, alerts, notifications, Face ID authentication, turn-by-turn navigation, music playing, and so on. You can tap or long press on the area to access different functions or launch apps. Think of it as a multi-tasking shortcut – one that still hides iPhone’s TrueDepth front camera as well as the sensors that enable Face ID.

How does Dynamic Island work on the iPhone?

By default, Dynamic Island takes the shape of a pill. It combines two cutouts to resemble a pill-shaped notch. Apple uses software to add blacken pixels on the OLED screen. Software is also used to change the size and shape of Dynamic Island.

No apps or widgets will appear in Dynamic Island if you don’t open a supported app or perform an iOS action. Dynamic Island only expands when you start an action in one app and then minimise it to go to your Home Screen or another app. The idea is that, while Dynamic Island will still cover a portion of your screen at all times, it should still provide you with more screen real estate than a typical notch while also making it easier and more fun for you to use your iPhone. 

Dynamic Island  isn’t just limited to notifications or alerts, but also ongoing activities such as directions in the Maps app, music that might be playing, or how much is left in your timer.  Those remain visible at the top of your phone in Dynamic Island, and they’re interactive, so you can tap, swipe, or long-press. Say you order a Lyft and then proceed to browse the web or play a game. The Dynamic Island will show your Lyft ride’s estimated time of arrival at the top of your screen as you use other apps. At any time if you want to open Lyft, tap Dynamic Island. Or, say you’re in an ongoing call and then minimise it, Dynamic Island will elongate horizontally and show the call duration on the left with a voice waveform on the right. 

If you have two apps running in the background, Dynamic Island can split into two sections, so you’ll see a smaller pill on the left for one app and a small circle on the right for another app. For instance, if you have a song playing from the Music app and a timer set on the Clock app, you’ll see the song’s art on the left pill and the timer icon inside the circle on the right. You can only see a maximum of two apps appear on Dynamic Island when they’re running in the background. 

When there are more than two apps running in the background, Dynamic Island will show two of the most recent apps that you minimised. 

We recommend watching Apple’s demo of Dynamic Island during its Far Out event above. (Start at around 1:10:50). It shows the various different things you can do with Dynamic Island and explains what Apple had to do to create the feature. Apple said it reingineered the proximity sensor so that Dynamic Island could detect light from behind the display, and it reduced the TrueDepth system by 30 per cent so Dynamic Island could somehow be smaller than the notch found on iPhone 13.

AppleWhat is Apple Dynamic Island and how does it change the iPhone's notch? photo 2

Which apps support Dynamic Island? 

Apple said Dynamic Island supports many of its key apps as well as some third-party ones at launch. This isn’t a complete list, but we’ll update our guide once Apple and developers reveal more information.

Apple

Dynamic Island supports many Apple apps and iOS functions.

  • Apple Maps
  • Apple Pay
  • Apple Music
  • Clock
  • Phone
  • FaceTime
  • Wallet
  • Voice memos
  • Shortcuts
  • AirDrop
  • Focus
  • Battery levels and charging
  • Connected devices like AirPods

Other

As for non-Apple or third-party apps, support will be enabled once developers integrate the Dynamic Island UI into their apps. There are couple at launch, however.

Which iPhone models have Dynamic Island?

Dynamic Island is exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro‌ and the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ Max. It will not come to older iPhone models or even the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus.

Want to know more?

Check out Apple’s support hub for Dynamic Island to learn more about the feature and how it works.

Pocket-lint also has the following reviews and guides on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, Face ID, and Apple’s event that you should check out for further reading:

Writing by Maggie Tillman.




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Scoop Sky is a blog with all the enjoyable information on many subjects, including fitness and health, technology, fashion, entertainment, dating and relationships, beauty and make-up, sports and many more.

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