This past week we have been hearing a lot of whispers about Dynamic Island. I’ll admit to you that it’s a terrible name once you realize what it is. If you happen to hear about the Apple iPhone event, then this is the biggest hype feature of the entire presentation. Apple has been very good at creating features that definitely capture people’s attention. These features might not be very useful or even used by a lot of people, but they definitely drive sales because of the bells and whistles they bring to the table.
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A good example of such a feature is Universal Control which can be used only if you have two or more Apple devices under the same Apple account. I have tried this only once and I don’t think it will fit into my daily tech routine at all. That might not be the case with the dynamic island but you can see my point when I say this.
In this article, we will delve deep into the dynamic island and how android users can assimilate this experience into their smartphones as well. This is definitely too early to talk about this topic because, in the coming months, we can see developers building apps and experiences similar to Dynamic island which are better than the ones available right now.
What is Dynamic Island?
Over the last few years, after iPhone took a giant design overhaul with iPhone X, there has been a Notch at the top of the screen which houses the sensors and the front camera. Even though Apple was praised for its redesign, the notch has always been unpopular. But Apple hasn’t made any changes to the notch at all other than reducing the width of it.
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But with iOS 16, after 5 years, Apple has come up with a software solution, and it’s called the dynamic island. It’s a way for users to forget that there’s even a notch there because with the dynamic island that area with the notch will serve somewhat as a mini notification tray. Personally to me, this reminds me a lot of the touch bar we had a couple of years ago in the Macbooks (even though they are two different things altogether).
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So, basically, it’s a piece of the area at the top of the iPhone, and it’s dynamic in the way it shows and interacts depending on the app being used or whether it’s showing alerts or notifications. We can expect Apple to release an API for Dynamic Island which can be used by developers to leverage the dynamic island in their apps as well.
How does it work?
The dynamic island is a piece of the display real estate that works exclusively in iPhone 14 Pro which works with the A16 bionic chip and we can expect to see this feature in future Pro iPhones. The placement of the camera is also very important when it comes to the dynamic island so the possibility of extending this feature to other iPhones doesn’t seem like a possibility also there are selling it as a USP for the iPhone Pro devices.
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The Apps that support Dynamic island as of now are the following
- Phone -> Active calls & Information
- Music -> Now Playing
- Maps -> Navigation information
- Wallet -> Payment Face ID authentification
- Voice Memos -> Recording/Playback information
- Clock -> Timers, stopwatch etc.,
These are the built-in apps and we can expect to see third-party apps taking control of the Dynamic Island API which will work in relation to the Live Activities API which will be coming later this year. It’s definitely a cool little feature and from the demo that was shown at the keynote, it’s pretty evident that it’s highly dynamic and has room for a lot of development and versatile usage.
MIUI Theme has Dynamic Island?
Within a few days, Theme developers for the MIUI OS have developed a variation of the Dynamic Island for MIUI. Twitter user Vaibhav Jain has released a video with information related to the theme on Twitter which has become viral in the last few days.
It’s pretty clear that it’s very simple at the moment and also it has nothing to do with the camera hole and that this theme is just a part of the top bar and can be interacted with. The developer has just built a media player which is probably an easy way to and surely we can expect it to be expanded and even opened to third-party developers.
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You can see in the video above how close it is to Dynamic Island. This is just the beginning of the slew of developers who are going to adopt the dynamic island into their environments and platforms. They are not yet available for public usage because it’s a video by the developer who is just testing them.
From the information available, it seems that the developer has submitted it for review and if all goes well, we can expect to see users enjoying this theme on MIUI-supported phones. I’d be interested to see Xiaomi silently approving this theme and allowing its users to enjoy this clone of the dynamic island feature.
How can you use the Dynamic Island-like feature in Android OS?
So, if you are an Android user, is there any way to actually use something like the dynamic island? There is. But it has been around for a long time and people just didn’t give enough attention to it. Let me first say this by adding that it’s not as good as a dynamic island but it’s pretty much the same idea. You would at least get a feel of how it would work. It’s called EDGE MASK and can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.
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The App has more than 50 lakhs downloads and with a 3.7 rating, we can say that it’s a decent app with issues here and there. I managed to read some reviews and was able to see that people appreciate the app despite its flaws.
Edge Mask was developed by Uno Kim, a Korean Developer who has been around for a while and was last updated on July 23, 2022, so it’s definitely a long time before the launch of the iPhone 14 Pro or Dynamic Island. Let’s see how we can use this in the section. I’m using a Pixel 6 and if you are using a different smartphone, the screenshots might look a little different but it shouldn’t be difficult to follow.
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The app has no limitation as to who can download it and can be used by Everyone. Clearly the downloads number have improved substantially in the last couple of days due to the addition to dynamic island to iPhone but needless to say that it has its own share of downloads prior to that and with the mediocre reviews, we can clearly state that this app works as advertised.
- First open the Play Store app in the Android phone and search for Edge Mask in the search bar and open the first search results (refer the logo above in the screenshot whether the app you have opened is the same). Tap on Install and ensure that the app is installed successfully in the smartphone. Once installed you can open the app.
- Once you open the app, you need to do some housecleaning before we could get the dynamic island looking notifications in your android phone. As soon as you open the app, you will get a prompt asking you to allow the edge mask app to be run in the background. Tap Allow in the prompt for anything to work going forward.
- There are three different settings that needs to be enabled. The first one is Display over other apps. Tap on the first option in the landing page and select EdgeMask in the list and tap on that as you can see below.
- Select the Allow display over other apps option and you will be prompted to allow the option. Accept that.
- Now go back to the landing page of the edge mask app. You will see that 2 out of 3 setting changes needs to be update. The second one is Notification access. Tap on that as you can see in the screenshot below.
- In the prompt that appears, choose Allow. You can read the changes that will happen once you allow the settings.
- Enable the Allow Notification access in the Device & app notifications settings of the Android phone.
- Now go back to the Landing page and select Accessibility option as you can see.
- In the next window, choose the EdgeMask app which you will see as turned off by default.
- In the prompt that appears, choose Allow and if you wonder what you are allowing you can choose to read.
- Under the EdgeMask Option, enable Use EdgeMask as you can see in the screenshot below.
- Once you have enabled all the three settings, go back to the Landing page and then choose Message option. The one bad thing about this app is the fact that its full of advertisements and needless to say, its annoying.
- Once you have seen the advertisements, you will see the list of the all the settings under message effect. By default, it will be selected as Ripple Style. You need to disable Ripple Style or any style or enable Samsung Message Style.
- Once you have enabled Samsung message style, select the settings option next to the enable button. This will open up the list of all the customizations that could be done to the Samsung message style as you can see in the image below. Change the Background Color as black and also change Message color as white color if you want to match it with dynamic island which is introduced in iOS 16. Once the color changes are done, scroll down and adjust the margin vertical to ensure that the notification is right over the pinch hole. Adjusting vertical will show a sample notification for you which can you adjust.
- Once you have adjusted the vertical margin, go back to the home screen or the landing page of the edgemask app and enable this option called Blocking the system heads-up. This is a must setting that needs to be enabled.
- That’s it. Once you have done all the above steps, whenever you get a notification you will see the notification as you can see below. It will look like the dynamic island in iOS. As of now you get to see the notification in this fashion.
Now you have successfully enable dynamic island looking notification settings in your android phone.
Now that Apple has come up with something new like Dynamic Island, we can expect other people to follow along like so many instances in the past. That’s not a bad thing considering its a good thing that companies are working on different ideas and concepts which would improve the usability of every day smartphone user. This definitely pushes people to work hard towards taking a slice of the market pie.
Personally, I endeavour that iPhone buyers are not going to make a choice to buy iPhone Pro solely because of this feature. I don’t think its not a big enough deal to spend more than 300 dollars solely for. But, we can expect people who are hard code Apple fans and enthusiasts to definitely give it a try. In terms of usability, I think the dynamic island will definitely reduce the number of taps that users do on a daily basis to carry on their menial tasks.
What do you guys think? Is this feature good enough to spend extra money and get the Pro model iPhones ? Do let us know in the comments below your opinion.