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iPhone 14 Pro Screen Aims to Make Notch Actually Useful: How ‘Dynamic Island’ Animation Works

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This story is part of Focal Point iPhone 2022, CNET’s collection of news, tips and advice around Apple’s most popular product.

The much-maligned iPhone notch didn’t go away in the new iPhone 14 Pro announced Wednesday, but it did change. Now, the notch at the top of the iPhone 14 Pro screen has been redesigned as a new pill-shaped cutout that contains the front-facing camera and top speaker. Even more, this space — called the Dynamic Island, a name that’s already earned Apple some ribbing — has a function that goes beyond being home to the iPhone 14 Pro’s camera array. (Also learn about the new iPhone 14 Pro and Max always-on display.)

In Apple’s world, the Dynamic Island transforms a seemingly dead space into a tiny notification center with distinct animations for whatever you’re doing on your phone, whether you’re charging your device, ordering a rideshare, taking a call or listening to music.

If you plan on getting your hands on the new iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max — preorders begin on Sept. 9, with a Sept. 16 release date — here’s what you need to know about the Dynamic Island and that redesigned notch.

iPhone 14 Pro Dynamic Island: What does it do?

The Dynamic Island is a new feature at the top of the iPhone 14 Pro models that reimagines the notch. It shifts in shape and size to display notifications and timely information for current actions and ongoing background activities, depending on what you’re currently doing.

At its Sept. 7 launch event, Apple showcased what the Dynamic Island can display, including: 

  • Arrival time for rideshare services like Lyft
  • Turn-by-turn navigation with Apple Maps
  • Contact information and call length for phone calls
  • Battery percentage when your iPhone or AirPods are charging
  • Cover art when playing songs from Apple Music
  • Transit card payments
  • Sports scores
  • Flight information
  • Timer length
  • Payments with Face ID
  • Files sent with AirDrop
  • Mute icon

If you have two things going on in the background, like a phone call and a timer, the iPhone 14 Pro Dynamic Island will split into two to show you information for both your activities.

We’ll update this list with more features once we’re able to play around with the Dynamic Island feature on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max ourselves.

What happens if you tap on the iPhone 14 Pro Dynamic Island?

On the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, if you press and hold down on the Dynamic Island while it’s showcasing information, it may expand to show even more. 

For example, if you tap on the notch when you’re playing a song in Apple Music, you can check out the song title and artist name and control the music (pause, play, rewind and forward). If you tap on the notch when it’s displaying your departure time for a flight, it might also show locations, baggage details, possible delays and more.

If you tap on the Dynamic Island, you’ll be redirected to the app that’s currently displaying information in the notch.

Which apps and services will the new Dynamic Island notch work with?

You can expect Dynamic Island to work with most Apple features, services and apps, and some third-party apps like Lyft. 

Live Activities, which is a new iOS 16 widget on your lock screen that displays interactive and up-to-date notifications, will work seamlessly with Dynamic Island to display information from third-party apps on both your lock screen and home screen.

Third-party support should increase once the iPhone 14 Pro models are released next week.

Does the Dynamic Island completely replace the iPhone 14 Pro notch?

Yes, the Dynamic Island pill-shaped cutout does replace the larger notch that was featured on previous iPhone models, like the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12. However, a smaller notch still exists, hidden underneath the Dynamic Island, housing the camera, speaker and Face ID components. While the Dynamic Island shifts in size, it can never disappear completely because of the notch — it’s like a disguise.

Will my iPhone get the Dynamic Island?

The Dynamic Island is only available on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. Both models will be released on Sept. 16, but you can preorder both phones from this Friday, Sept. 9.

For more details, here’s a recap of everything Apple announced, including new AirPods Pro 2 with updated noise cancellation, and three different watches in the Apple Watch 8 series.


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