When Apple unveiled the iPhone 14 Pro’s Dynamic Island, I explained that I thought the feature was brilliant, but that I’d also like to turn it off as soon as I got my hands on the device. I worried that the animations might be too annoying, as a person who has reduced the motion of the iPhone user interface any time Apple has let me.
One Deep Purple handset later, I can say that I no longer worry about Dynamic Island. The animations are more than tolerable, and you get used to the pill-shape notch’s look and feel very fast. Not only that, but most of the time, you don’t need to interact with Dynamic Island if you don’t want to. You can just passively let it do its thing.
That said, I’d probably still turn it off if Apple offered the option to do it. Sadly, you can’t actually turn off the Dynamic Island, but there is a workaround.
As I expected when I first talked about my desire to turn the pill notch off, the feature is turned on by default on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. It’s such a huge feature for Apple that the company won’t let you stop using it. The Dynamic Island captured the attention of everyone. The Android clones are undoubtedly coming.
I also told you back then that the feature is probably something you can’t turn off in iOS 16. That turned out to be the case. Apple doesn’t even have an option in the Settings app to customize the behavior of the Dynamic Island.
But it turns out there’s a way to alter the Dynamic Island. As MacRumors explains, there’s a Dynamic Island gesture in iOS 16 that lets you partially disable the animations.
Two things happen when an application runs in the background. The pill grows in size, and UI elements appear in it, specific to the app running on the handset.
For the Music app, you see the album art on the left and an audio waveform on the right. The UI element on the right side is usually the animated one. If you find it annoying, you can remove it by swiping left-to-right or right-to-left across the elongated pill.
In the case of the Music app, the waveform disappears. But the Dynamic Island still shows the album art. You can’t turn the Island off, but can make it less distracting. The background app won’t stop either, so the music will keep playing.
MacRumors also claims that the swipe gesture works when two apps are running in the Dynamic Island. You can swipe over the larger segment to make it disappear. You can then do the same with the second activity. This turns off all Dynamic Island activity. But it’s something I haven’t been able to replicate.
More iPhone coverage: For more iPhone news, visit our iPhone 14 guide.