Apple’s dynamic island has been a buzz since it was revealed. This update comes with a lot of features and uses. In this guide, we shall be looking at what the dynamic island is about and what its uses are. If you’d like to know more, then you should read through this guide paying attention to the main points.
What is Dynamic Island?
Dynamic Island is a replacement for the notch that Apple introduced back in 2017. It’s a pill-shaped cutout that can change shape and size to display alerts and notifications.
Dynamic Island is the area on the iPhone 14 Pro that houses the front-facing camera and the Face ID sensor. To make use of dead space, Apple implemented a software trick to give that space some purpose. Now it exists as a multitasking menu of sorts. iPhone 14 Pro users see general phone alerts, live activities, and any app that uses the Now Playing API within that tiny pill-shaped area at the top of the screen. They can tap to expand it or leave it minimized.
What does Dynamic Island do?
The feature is designed to surface useful information, like when AirPods are connected, or when the device is being charged. It’ll surface a tiny thumbnail of the album art from Apple Music, and show when Apple Pay is being accessed, or when the do-not-disturb mode is switched on.
These icons appear as an expansion on either side of the sensors and, thanks to the way the pixels match the black sensors, the animations look impressively seamless.
However, Dynamic Island can also expand further into the wider iPhone 14 Pro display. Incoming calls and a running stopwatch appear in a banner that stretches out from the sensors, for example.
If you’re unlocking an app or using Apple Pay The Face ID indicator also drops down from the Dynamic Island rather than appearing in the center of the display.
Dynamic Island is also interactive, so you can tap it to expand. For example, if you wish to check your AirPods battery, or cease a voice recording. Ongoing activities like Maps directions or sports scores can also be expanded by a simple tap and hold.
When you’re done, if you swipe up to dismiss the Apple Music album art, for example, the activity will return as an icon to Dynamic Island.
Uses of Dynamic Island
Control Music while Navigation
If you’re one of those people who use their iPhone for navigation and play music at the same time, this would be helpful to you. Just start playing music and send it to Dynamic Island by swiping it up on the screen. After that, open any navigation app like Apple Maps or Google Maps. Once the navigation starts, you’ll find it easier to control the music by expanding Dynamic Island by long pressing on it.
Message and Navigation at the Same Time
You can also now chat and use the navigation at the same time. Just start navigation on any app like Apple Maps or Google Maps and minimize it to the Dynamic Island by swiping up on your screen. Then open the messaging app and now you can continue multi-tasking in a fun way. And when you reach the destination, simply end the navigation by long pressing on the Island and tapping the End button without having to leave the conversation.
Recording Lectures and Taking Notes
If you’re a student who usually forgets their iPad or prefers their iPhone for taking notes, then this is going to be a life-saving hack for you. Just start recording in Voice Memos and send it to Dynamic Island by swiping up on the screen. After that just open the Notes app and start jotting down. And when you’re done recording your lectures, long press the Island to expand it and press the stop button.
This is the most basic yet useful feature of Dynamic Island. Whenever you’re on a call and you swipe up to minimize it, it will go directly to Dynamic Island and sit there for the entire duration of the call. You can long press on the Island and put the call on speakers, plus you can also end the call from there without leaving the app you were fiddling with.
AirPods Battery Indicator
Whenever you put AirPods in your ear or back in the case, Dynamic Island will act as a battery indicator for you. You can also long-press the Island to see detailed information.
FaceTime Becomes Easy
Just like a normal phone call, FaceTime is more convenient now. Whenever you’re on a FaceTime call and you minimize it, it will go directly to the Island. And from there, you can do multiple things by long pressing on the Island. Examples include muting the mic, changing the output audio source, and turning off the camera. The best part is that you can also share your screen and start SharePlay from the expanded Island itself.
Gone are the days of AirDrop-ing someone a file and waiting till its completion. Now with the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max, you can literally visualize the progress of the file being AirDropped. Whether you’re sending or receiving a file, you can check the progress on Dynamic Island. Simply tap on the Island to expand and from there, you can also cancel the transfer as per your wish.
Twitter Spaces is a fun and new way of interacting live on Twitter. And the best part is that it is well supported by Dynamic Island. You can minimize Twitter while listening to a Space, and it will sit on top of the Island displaying a cute animated waveform whenever someone speaks. You can also long-press the Island to expand it, but since it’s a live event, the only option you’ll get is to change the output audio source. Unfortunately, if you want to leave the Space you’re listening to, you need to open Twitter and do it manually.
Playback Controls of Podcast
Podcast listeners are gonna love this as much as I do. Simply start a podcast on any app like Spotify, and throw it on the Island by swiping it up on the screen. After that, you can control the playback and audio output source by expanding it when you long press on the Island.
Benefits of Dynamic Island
Better visibility of ongoing activities and alerts
Dynamic Island introduces a new layer to the UI that helps users get timely updates without switching the context.
Excellent motion language
The collection of transitions that Apple demonstrated during the iPhone 14 Pro presentation was splendid. It’s one of the best motion languages created recently.
Dynamic Island doesn’t eat screen space in full-screen mode
In the full-screen mode, there always be an area of the screen hidden behind the notch. It is impossible to avoid this behavior because the notch is a physical constraint.
Downsides of Dynamic Island
Dynamic Island is located in the hard-to-reach area
The dynamic island is an interactive element. Users can interact with it using their fingers. But to do so, they will have to stretch their fingers to access the area. Since the dynamic island is located in the hard-to-reach zone, it makes the interaction less comfortable (users have to change the grip to access the area of the dynamic island).
The front-face camera will get a lot of fingerprints
The dynamic island incorporates a front-facing camera, and users will constantly tap around the camera. Taps will likely smudge the front camera; as a result, users will have blurred selfies and videos captured on the front-facing camera.
Poor full-screen video experience
Compared to the Notch, the dynamic island doesn’t look quite well in full-screen video mode. Our brain will constantly notice the hole on the side of the screen.
The dynamic island looks bad in direct sunlight.
iPhone 14 Pro has an OLED screen. This screen allows you to create pure black color. In marketing materials, Apple demonstrated that the dynamic island would look like a solid pure black pill, but in reality, it might look different. It is possible to notice the area between spots, which becomes even more noticeable in direct sunlight. When the individual stops are visible, it somewhat breaks the illusion of a single, solid object.
The content in dynamic Island content might not be accessible
The dynamic island has a relatively small size, and it doesn’t allow designers to play with the size of the elements to create decent content sections. For example, it can be challenging to distinguish the album cover in the image below, especially if you have poor eyesight.
Risk of overuse of notifications and alerts
Overuse of this feature could bore people. Furthermore, Every time the dynamic island activates, it demands a lot of attention from the user. The dynamic island can quickly become annoying if the app creators overuse this feature. Animated transitions can be very attention-grabbing, so the more users see the animated transition, the fewer users will be happy about it.
In conclusion, it is important to note that Dynamic Island only shows up an app’s elements on both sides of the original pill if this is the only app that’s active in the background. When the app is currently open on full screen, its elements will disappear to show the default pill cutout.