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iPhone 14 Pro's new Dynamic Island is my favorite feature — here’s why

iPhone 14 Pro Dynamic Island
(Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone 14 Pro was long rumored to kill the notch, but the replacement is much more than just a cosmetic upgrade. Both the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max ditch the eyesore that was the notch in favor of a smaller cutout that sits below the display.

And this thing actually has an official name. It's called Dynamic Island.

The Dynamic Island feature on the iPhone 14 Pro series is designed to deliver alerts, notifications and live activities on the fly. Say you're playing a track in Apple Music and then swipe back to the home screen. You'll see the album art and track progress in the Dynamic Island. And if you tap and hold on this spot, it will expand to a bigger window.

iPhone 14 Pro Dynamic Island

(Image credit: Apple)

It gets better. The Dynamic Island can fit two sets of info, so if you start a timer and have music playing you'll see the track info on the left and the timer countdown on the right. The Island grows and shrinks based on what you're doing, which is pretty smart. 

Dynamic Island has lots of other uses, including incoming call alerts, turn-by-turn navigation, Face ID authentication and more. This Twitter video from product designer Charles Patterson provides a pretty good overview of how this feature works, and I tend to agree that it's the "hottest piece of UI I've seen in a long time."

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During the Apple event, Apple showed off some cool things developers can do with Dynamic Island. One example was sports scores, so I could see how the Yankees are doing in real time even as I check my email, for example. Another great use of Dynamic Island is seeing how long your Lyft is away from you while using other apps.

So Apple took one of the most hated things about the iPhone design, tweaked it, and turned it into a positive. Yes, other smartphone makers are chasing a full-screen phone experience with under-display cameras, but frankly we have not seen a good one yet in our testing, such as on the Galaxy Z Fold 4. 

iPhone 14 Pro Max

(Image credit: Future)

It's cool to imagine how other developers could leverage the Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pro series. I could definitely see Doordash using this area to help track your delivery in real time with fun animations. And I can imagine someone like CNN taking advantage of this space for election results as they come in.

Overall, I'm really impressed with Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max despite the funny name. It's a poignant reminder that Apple knows how to make hardware and software work together better than anyone else. 

Read next: iPhone 14 preorders delayed by major Apple Store problems — here's the latest delivery times

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.