Once you snap up your new iPhone 14 Pro or 14 Pro Max, you’ll find that your eyes will flit to the top of the screen more often than you’re used to. Dynamic Island is the new pill-shaped cutout which houses the front-facing camera and acts as an interactive feature with many apps you use on the daily. Whether you’re opening your phone with Face ID or setting a timer, the Dynamic Island shape-shifts with each move, but can you ever turn it off? In practice, you don’t really have too much control of what apps the Dynamic Island works with. Here’s what to know about interacting with it as you use your iPhone 14 Pro or 14 Pro Max.
Apple created the new cutout to be fluid and adaptive as it works with your apps. And you’ll find it might come in handy when, say, you’re walking to a new brunch spot and using Maps directions but also want to check out the menu. You can be on the restaurant’s website while having the directions right there at the top of your screen the whole time.
I didn’t love the Dynamic Island when I first started using my iPhone 14 Pro Max. TBH, I think it was just a lot to get used to after having a static cutout on all the other iPhones, but I quickly realized how it could be very useful. I was able to easily tap into the playlist I had on to see what the name of the song was that I loved but never heard before, rather than needing to swipe out of Instagram to get back to Apple Music. Using the Dynamic Island is very simple: You either quickly tap it to get open the app it’s interacting with, or you long press it to control the app right from the top of the screen.
It’s a big change, and there’s no quick fix to keep it from doing its thing. At launch, there is no way to turn off the Dynamic Island when using your iPhone 14 Pro or 14 Pro Max. If you go to Settings, there’s no option to select Dynamic Island in the apps it works with, like Apple Music or Instagram. So yes, the Dynamic Island is always on.
If you’re anti-island, then you might want to opt for an iPhone 14 or 14 Plus, which don’t have the new feature, but if you’re intrigued by all you can do with it, then you’re in for a treat. The Dynamic Island can handle up to two activities at the same time, so you can see your Apple Music and your Map Directions simultaneously. They’ll separate into two mini islands, and you can control each as you would when you have only one activity running.
With its debut, Dynamic Island works with third-party apps that use Now Playing and CallKit, like Spotify and WhatsApp, as well as first-party experiences like incoming call alerts, AirPods connected alerts, and Timers. You’ll also see light indicators if your camera is in use (green light) or your microphone is being used (orange light). Dynamic Island’s future capabilities will include Live Activities like food delivery and rideshare info.
In practice, the Dynamic Island is meant to give you easier access to the apps you use all the time, and once you get used to it, you might just find it comes in handy. But if you’re all about a static cutout, then the Dynamic Island won’t be your jam. Thankfully, you have the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus for that — and there are great purple options for all four phones. So really, it’s a win-win.