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Apple’s Dynamic Island is a new feature found front and center on the new iPhone 14 Pro. Here are all the apps, system notifications and other alerts that have appeared so far in this unique mix of software and hardware.
With the new iPhone 14 Pro, Apple removed the notch from the top of the phone, reducing its footprint by around 30 percent. Instead of letting that pill-shaped black spot idle in the center of the display, it used software to adjust its size and shape based on what was happening.
When you set up Face ID, it expands to show your full face and guides you through the registration process. When you make a payment, your card slides down from the top and expands. Therefore the name Dynamic Island.
The dynamic island doesn’t appear in most of the screenshots you take, with one exception. When something other than hibernation happens on the dynamic island, it will be reflected in screenshots.
How to interact with the dynamic island
The dynamic island can be interacted with in two ways. While something occupies the dynamic island, a tap will jump you into that app, while a long hold will expand the dynamic island.
For example, when recording a voice memo, you can hold onto the dynamic island to reveal the stop button. Tap on it and your recording will be saved. This is much more convenient than having to launch the full Voice Memo app.
While the dynamic island usually appears as a single pill of various sizes, there are times when it splits into two parts. If you already have a quest showing up in the dynamic island and then start a second one, a smaller second bubble will be detached.
Going back to the voice memo example, if you started a screen capture at the same time, you’ll see the capture status in the main pill, while the screen capture icon will appear in the smaller, secondary bubble. You can either tap or long press, just like before.
The Dynamic Island also houses a pair of indicators. These can help you detect when your microphone or camera is being accessed for privacy reasons.
When the front-facing camera is in use, a green circle appears on the dynamic island to the immediate left of the camera. Likewise, an orange icon appears when the microphone is accessed.
As soon as we opened FaceTime we saw the green indicator and when starting a voice memo recording the orange dot was ignited.
There are many system-wide alerts that now call the dynamic island home. Unlocking your phone, turning off the mute switch, or connecting your AirPods will show up in Dynamic Island.
Here is a list of all system alerts displayed in the dynamic island:
- Unlock Apple Watch
Set up and authenticate Face ID
- car key
- Low battery status
- Active loading
- air game
- Incoming call
- Receiving AirDrop files
Mute switch toggled
- NFC scanned
- Focus mode changed
- shortcuts run
- No data warning
- SIM card alerts
- Hotspot in use
- accessories attached
Then we have Live Activities – tasks that are happening right now on your phone. Music in the background or an ongoing phone call will probably be the most common tasks in this category.
With iOS 16.1, Apple made a Live Activities API available to developers. This can show activity on the lock screen as well as on the dynamic island. It could be anything from your Lyft driver approaching, your GrubHub order being picked up, or the latest soccer score.
Here are the live activities available to be shown on Dynamic Island from now on:
- In a SharePlay session
- Recording of language memory
- Screen recording active
- navigation instructions
- Accept a call
- Music or other audio apps
It can do more…
As Apple allows third-party apps to integrate with Dynamic Island, you’ll find that more and more apps offer native support. With native support, apps can display more information such as album art, app icons, or correct colors.
Take “now playing” apps. Currently Pandora, Spotify, Audible, Amazon Music, Overcast, YouTube Music, Stitcher and SoundCloud support Dynamic Island with proper graphics while playing.
If a “Now Playing” app doesn’t support Dynamic Island, it will still show up there, but lack any distinguishing features. For example, Dark Noise will only show the audio visualizer and pause button until the developer releases their next update.
So far this is just the beginning. As iOS 16.1 is released with the Live Activities API, developers add more support for existing apps, and Apple envisions the future of Dynamic Island, it will only become more powerful.