Dynamic Island

After unboxing my Apple iPhone 15 earlier this year and transferring content and settings from my iPhone 14, I immediately noticed something new at the top of the phone screen: A pill-shaped black space.

This is Apple’s Dynamic Island, an innovative visual technology that houses the iPhone’s camera and enhances app functionality. Although it may look like an odd addition design-wise, I’ve actually grown to really like what it can do.

Apple Dynamic Island

For starters, the tiny mute/unmute button on the left of the phone isn’t always easy to see in low-light conditions (e.g. at the theatre, on a late-night flight with dimmed cabin lightning).

When that button is switched on or off, the Dynamic Island responds with the appropriate mode (Silent, Ring). It’s a sure-fire way to know whether I’m in silent mode or not.

System alerts, including Airdrop, Apple Pay, ride sharing, and incoming phone calls (and length of call once answered) form part of the Dynamic Island scenario. When playing music on Apple Music or Spotify, the artist name and song will appear in there, along with a live sound wave.

Apple Dynamic Island
[Dynamic Island split]

If you’re using more than one app, the Dynamic Island splits into two (a smaller pill shape plus a circle next to it). In the photo above, I’m playing music and setting a timer. It’s handy that you don’t have to swipe up to access the apps either, and you can swap between them.

Apple Dynamic Island Apple Dynamic Island

If you’re playing music or a podcast in a music app and want to keep it in the background while working, swipe up on the screen to send the visual info into Dynamic Island to minimize the information displayed.

Apple Dynamic Island Apple Dynamic Island

Conversely, if you long-press on an app in Dynamic Island, it will automatically expand to allow you to perform basic functions within that app without having to swipe back to the home screen to access it.

Dynamic Island also includes a bit of space between the front-facing camera and the cutout for the Face ID sensor. Included in that space are display pixels that Apple intelligently uses for notifications when recording audio or video.

Apple Dynamic Island Apple Dynamic Island
[L to R: Face ID success, Cellular Data Turned Off alert]

Here are just a few of the numerous alerts that are integrated into Dynamic Island:
– Apple Pay transaction confirmation
– iPhone charging status/battery life
– AirPods connection status/battery life
– Face ID unlock
– Airplane mode
– Follow Apple Map directions
– No data alerts
– Flashlight on indicator
– Focus mode changes
– SIM card alerts
– Apple Watch unlock
– Accessories connect
– Low battery alert
– Active timers

Dynamic Island is also open to third-party developers, so that they too can take advantage of this space for some great added functionality via that pill-shaped space.

Apple Dynamic Island
[Hit the Island]

For a bit of retro whimsy, download Funn Media’s (ad-based) game, Hit the Island, inspired by the classic Pong video game of early 70’s. The goal is to hit the Dynamic Island as many times as you can!

Apple Dynamic Island Apple Dynamic Island
[Pixel Pals]

You can even add a pixelated pet to the Dynamic Island using Pixel Pals, developed by Christian Selig.

Apple Dynamic Island Apple Dynamic Island
[iPhone wallpaper designs with a Dynamic Island focus]

I’m looking forward to seeing how this interesting feature evolves as more developers use it.

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