When the iPhone 14 Pro models were announced in 2022, Apple surprised many with its innovative integration of software functions with the pill-shaped cutout at the top of the screen. Apple calls this area of the display the "Dynamic Island," and has since extended the feature to all iPhone 15 models. This article explains what ‌Dynamic Island‌ does, how it works, and how you can interact with it to perform actions.

iphone 15 dynamic island

What Is Dynamic Island and How Does It Work?

Prior to Apple's ‌iPhone 14‌ Pro launch, we learned that Apple was working on an alternative to the notch that incorporated a pill-shaped cutout and a hole punch cutout to house the TrueDepth camera hardware. We also exclusively reported that these cutouts would appear as one contiguous, longer pill shape when the ‌iPhone 14‌ Pro was in use, and that Apple also planned to integrate software functions around the pill.

iphone 14 pro blue image
As we know now, on the ‌iPhone 14‌ Pro and all ‌iPhone 15‌ models, display pixels around what Apple calls the "‌Dynamic Island‌" merge it into one pill-shaped area that changes size and shape to accommodate various types of alerts, notifications, and interactions, turning it into a kind of front-and-center information hub.

Which iPhone Models Feature Dynamic Island?

In the ‌iPhone 14‌ series, the ‌Dynamic Island‌ is limited to the ‌‌iPhone 14‌ Pro‌ and ‌iPhone 14‌ Pro Max, while the standard ‌iPhone 14‌ models offer the same notch as the previous iPhone 13 models. In 2023, Apple extended ‌Dynamic Island‌ to the ‌iPhone 15‌, ‌iPhone 15‌ Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and ‌iPhone 15 Pro‌ Max.

What Can Dynamic Island Do?

Here's a breakdown of the many functions ‌Dynamic Island‌ can fulfill.
iPhone 14 Pro Dynamic Island 3

Dynamic Island: Display Outputs and Alerts

  • Apple Pay transaction confirmations
  • Privacy indicators when microphone or camera is in use
  • AirDrop file transfers
  • AirPods connection status and battery life
  • iPhone charging status and battery life
  • Low battery alerts
  • Silent mode turned on or off
  • Face ID unlocking
  • Carkey locking/unlocking
  • Apple Watch unlocking
  • NFC interactions
  • AirPlay connections
  • Focus mode changes
  • Shortcut actions
  • Airplane mode/no data alerts
  • SIM card alerts
  • Accessories connect
  • Find My alerts
  • Flashlight on indicator

Dynamic Island: Background Activities

  • Upcoming and turn-by-turn Maps directions
  • Incoming phone call and duration of call
  • Time remaining of playing song
  • Active timers
  • Live Activity sports scores
  • SharePlay sessions
  • Screen Recording
  • Voice memo recordings
  • Personal Hotspot connection

Can I Interact With Dynamic Island?

It's possible to interact with certain types of content displayed in the ‌Dynamic Island‌. For example, if it's showing something related to an app's background activity, you can tap the ‌Dynamic Island‌ to switch straight into the associated app.

In certain circumstances, such as when media is playing, you can also long press the ‌Dynamic Island‌ to bring up a widget containing playback controls.

dynamic island split
The ‌Dynamic Island‌ is also capable of displaying multiple background activities at once, such as when a timer is counting down and when you're listening to music. When that happens, the island splits into a larger pill-shaped area and a smaller circular area, so you can see and interact with both activities. You can swap between them and tap into them, just like you can with the standard ‌Dynamic Island‌ interface.

Can I Disable Dynamic Island Animations?

There's currently no way to outright disable ‌Dynamic Island‌ content, however if you're distracted by its animations you can dismiss them by swiping left or right across the ‌Dynamic Island‌, without affecting any related background activity. This will return the pill-shape to its previous inert status.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the ‌Dynamic Island‌ on ‌iPhone 14‌ Pro and all ‌iPhone 15‌ models is the type of impressive integration of software and hardware that Apple is known for, and the ability of third-party developers to tap into its potential means we can expect new and unexpected features to come out of it.

flighty iphone 14 digital island
In addition, after the release of iOS 16.1 later in 2022, ‌Dynamic Island‌ also started working with Live Activities in third-party apps, so there is plenty more to look forward to.

Related Roundups: iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Pro
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

DMG35 Avatar
19 months ago
I think the Dynamic Island is awesome. I love it!!
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
19 months ago
Still trying to get used to Dynamic Island. I have to say it continues to surprise me daily now.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dogstar Avatar
19 months ago
You don't use Dynamic Island, Dynamic Island uses you!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Muzzakus Avatar
19 months ago
Yes, but how do you turn it off?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
adammusic Avatar
19 months ago
So much potential. Terrible initial implementation.
Most notifications dont need to expand to a fat dynamic notification. Ex: Shortcuts.
Fat dynamic notifications block time.
When you receive a phone call, sometimes you want to glance at the time, but its blocked.
Tap status bar to scroll back to the top is now a wonky mess.
Island now makes notification center and control center access even smaller and more difficult.
Face id doesnt need to be a popped out square, just give us a small animation inside dynamic island.

Island cuts in to youtube videos in portrait and landscape.
The status bar is just too big now.
If it going to be big and fat, let us add other stuff to status bar and customize.

Tap for widget, long press for app would be better.

Let us make something permanently stay in the island, like apple music player or podcast, for quick access to an app. Or some permanent info in there, day & date maybe. Anything really.

I get it’s early its implementation, but lets not eait 4 years until it’s fixed like everything else apple does.

We want day 1 full baked products, not half.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SteveJUAE Avatar
19 months ago
I still do not understand why these reviews fail to show how DI behaves in landscape and looks in bright sunlight :(
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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