One stand out feature from the ‘Pro’ variants of the new iPhone 14 series this year is the Dynamic Island, something you’ve probably heard a lot about in the last few days. Dynamic Island makes use of the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max pill-shaped notch to deliver more information to users. Here’s all you need to know about the feature and how it works.
What is Dynamic Island?
Dynamic Island is a feature that resizes the pill-shaped notch on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. The resizing lets the black area include more information, interactive information that you can tap or long press on to access different functions.
As Apple showed during the launch event, the notch can expand to become sort of a multitasking-shortcut. It can show music playing, directions from maps, audio being recorded, ongoing calls, and more, all of which can then be long-pressed to expand the indicators into small windows from where you can interact with more of the UI.
Additionally, the cutout also holds the iPhone’s new TureDepth front camera as well as the IR sensors that facilitate FaceID on the phone.
The two extensions of the notch on either side is something third-party developers will also be able to use for their apps. So, expect more interactive shortcuts to be a part of Dynamic Island later on.
Which iPhones get Dynamic Island?
The Dynamic Island is exclusive to the iPhone 14 Series’ Pro models, which means only two phones support the feature for now, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.
While it is possible to bring a similar implementation to the older, wider notches on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 series, with black interactive extensions of the notch pointing out of the sides, it is unlikely Apple will do this.
The brand will want to keep the feature exclusive to the new phones, and bringing Dynamic Island support to third-party apps for multiple implementations of the feature could prove to be a hassle for developers as well.
Is Dynamic Island better than punch-hole cutouts?
While this is debatable and somewhat a question of personal taste, the Dynamic Island feature and Apple’s new pill-shaped notch, is at the end of the day, still a notch. This means it will still cover a portion of your screen, and is a larger distraction during movies and games. Punch-holes continue to be way-to-go if you want more screen real estate and lesser obtrusion during games and movies.
The new implementation could be harder to ignore than previous iPhones during media consumption since it is an ‘island’ covered by screen on all sides, and not an extension of the top bezel. We should know more about this issue when the first reviews come out. Also repeatedly touching the notch and the areas around it also increases the likely hood of leaving smudges on your front camera, since you likely will not have squeaky clean fingers all the time.
There is also the question of reachabilty. The interactive elements of the Dynamic Notch are near the very top-end of the screen, which is the hardest part of the screen to reach with your thumbs if you’re using your iPhone with one-hand. This could particularly be an issue on the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which has a larger display.