How the new ‘Dynamic Island’ of the iPhone 14 Pro works

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How the new 'Dynamic Island' of the iPhone 14 Pro works
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With the launch of the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, Apple introduced an updated design that does away with the notch on the front for the TrueDepth camera. Instead, Apple has slimmed down the hardware and placed the proximity sensor under the display, allowing for a smaller tablet-shaped cutout.

As we learned during the rumor cycle, the new cutouts have a circle for the camera and a second pill-shaped cutout for the TrueDepth hardware, but Apple has combined these into a single cutout it’s calling Dynamic Island. We thought we’d take a closer look at Dynamic Island, one of the smartest user interface changes Apple has implemented in recent years.

dynamic island shape

Dynamic Island isn’t a static cutout, and can change shape and size to blend itself into the UI and provide new visual tools front and center on the iPhone’s display. In standard usage, it’s a small pill-shaped cutout, but Apple uses pixels to expand it to match different functions.

iphone 14 pro blue image
For example, when making Apple Pay payments, Dynamic Island expands into a square shape to match the Face ID confirmation interface, and on a phone call, it enlarges so you can control the phone front and center .

Basically, Dynamic Island is capable of completing ongoing background tasks that you may need to come back to while doing other things on your phone

How to use Dynamic Island

So far, we only have displays from Apple, but it looks like Dynamic Island could show all kinds of different information. We’ve done it the way we’ve used it so far.

iphone 14 pro dynamic island 3

  • Expanded to a large rectangle to show upcoming map directions without opening the Maps app.
  • Displaying map directions in a tiny pill-shaped interface for when you just need a quick glance at the next turn.
  • Square shape for an Apple Pay payment confirmation.
  • Showing the time remaining on a music waveform and the song playing.
  • Tracking Lyft arrival times.
  • Displaying a privacy indicator when the microphone or camera is in use.
  • Displaying a small bar with a phone icon and the duration of the phone call.
  • Showing a timer.
  • Tracking game scores.
  • Music controls and access to a music player.
  • Showing AirPods connection status and battery life.
  • Displaying iPhone charging status and battery life.

Dynamic Island may show notifications or notifications that you are actively connected with. It’s going to work with the Live Activity feature coming in iOS 16, which lets you track sports scores, Uber rides, and more from above the iPhone’s display.

It’s worth noting that whenever Dynamic Island is in use like this, it’s doing its job without interrupting what you’re doing in the app you’re in. So if you’re reading Twitter, you can control your music, too. With just one tap through the dynamic island.

split island

Since the TrueDepth camera system is actually housed in two separate cutouts that have been merged via software, Dynamic Island can do a neat trick where it splits into a small bullet 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 island division

dynamic island interaction

When tapped, the dynamic island enlarges so that you can interact with the content it’s currently offering, and when you’re in an app, you can send the app’s content to the dynamic island. Swipe up to go back to the home screen.

Third-party app support

Apple is allowing third-party app developers to integrate their apps into Dynamic Island so that you can access third-party app content as well as Apple’s own app content. For example, third-party app Flighty is able to insert your flight information into Dynamic Island, so you can view it with a single tap.

flighty iphone 14 digital island

dynamic island reactions

So far, reactions to Dynamic Island have been largely positive, as can be seen in our roundup commentary on the feature. It has been called “one of Apple’s best designs”.

availability

Dynamic Island is limited to the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. The standard iPhone 14 models continue to offer the same notch as the iPhone 13 model.

additional coverage

We’ll be picking up an iPhone 14 Pro when preorders go live tomorrow, and when it’s delivered on the 16th, we’ll take an in-depth look at all the new features, providing a more detailed overview of Dynamic Island. and its functionality.

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