Apple clearly knows a thing or two about design, and year after year releasing high-end iPhone hardware has earned it a solid spot as a pioneer in the smartphone industry. Think about it – when the company ditched the headphone jack, we saw almost every major Android manufacturer rush to follow suit. Sometimes, however, things go the other way and Android phones end up setting the bar for iPhone functionality. Brands like Samsung have ditched the notch in favor of circular cutouts for their front cameras. Apple may be behind this trend, with the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max only this month switching to a pill-shaped cutout called Dynamic Island, but damn it still manages to leave a good impression. Android developers were quick to try and replicate the software side of Apple’s implementation, and today we’re checking out how well an app called dynamicSpot does in bringing the Dynamic Island experience to Android.


Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pro feels like it’s an apt name for what we’re getting – the rectangular pill-shaped cutout in the display surrounding the selfie camera and Face ID hardware floats like an island in a sea of ​​pixels. When you tap a notification in the pill, it responds by animating and changing the size, creating the illusion that the pill-shaped cutout is physically expanding (helping to accommodate indicators for notification icons, current background and incoming alerts). These effects are a visual treat on the OLED screens used by iPhones (not to mention dozens of Android, mid-range and flagship devices), as they’re capable of much deeper blacks than you’d get on an LCD. .

Last week, theme developers showed what a dynamic island could look like on a Xiaomi phone. While promising, it was also a company-device-specific solution, and last time we checked, the theme was still awaiting approval. But XDA Developers managed to spot a new app in Early Access called dynamicSpot, and after reviewing it ourselves, it might be the perfect solution if you’re yearning for the Dynamic Island viewing experience on Android phones – and more. particularly, those with center-aligned punch-hole cameras like the Google Pixel 6 or Samsung Galaxy S22 series. The app is the brainchild of developer Jawomo, also known for its Bixby button remapping app and light notification app for OnePlus phones.

Once installed, the lightweight app creates a black pill-shaped bar that surrounds your screen’s camera cutout with icons for notifications. You can expand the island with a long press on the pill, while a short press connects you to the notification app. If this seems reversed to you, a little IAP allows you to change these interactions. As you would with all other notifications on Android, you can swipe to dismiss, and if the pill disappears before you get to the alert, just open your trusty notification shade.

To get started with dynamicSpot, you need to grant it permission to read your notifications and draw on other apps. We also suggest disabling power saving restrictions, so that the process is not killed in the background. The developer notes that the app doesn’t connect to the internet itself, which seems good for privacy, but the lack of other permissions, like Bluetooth and GPS, means it loses the ability to show apps. alerts when Bluetooth devices connect – a feature seen on the iPhone 14 Pro.

For an application still in Early Access, dynamicSpot is already quite capable. It supports notifications for all installed apps, with granular controls for each and quick action buttons for some of them.

The personalization app’s clean UI has a switch to turn the notification island on or off, as well as settings that let you change its vertical position, width, and height, so it looks great. aligns perfectly with your punch-hole camera. There’s even a handy test button, so you don’t have to wait for a friend to ping you just to see how your notifications will appear. What the app does not have is a type of slider to adjust the horizontal island position, so it doesn’t support phones with their selfie-cam cutouts in the corner, like the OnePlus Nord 2.

If you pay the small fee for the Pro version, you can control how long the pill stays after a notification arrives, as well as how the island behaves when the screen is off. You can also unlock alerts when the battery level drops below 15% and when the phone is fully charged.

For an application likely to be developed in such a short time, dynamicSpot already offers an impressive level of finish. Nevertheless, we understand that this is a beta version under development and users can expect some hiccups during the upgrade. For example, at first you’ll see notification pop-ups next to your pill icons, creating a duplicate, but the remedy is simple: turn off floating notifications for installed apps. You’ll probably want to set it manually, because although DynamicSpot has a toggle to do it for you, it’s another paid Pro feature (plus it doesn’t seem to work).

Floating notification should be disabled if you want to use the pill alone

Other minor inconveniences include displaying incorrect media duration on either side of the playback progress bar, lack of quick action buttons for some notifications, and incorrect system time and date displayed in the charge indicator.

It’s important to note that returning to your phone’s home screen does not minimize a running app on the island, one of the biggest behavioral changes that differs from implementing apps. ‘Apple. It would be nice if we saw apps like this get tighter integration with Android launchers like Nova Launcher, as they control app launch animations. We also wouldn’t be surprised if the developers behind the promising launchers incorporate some sort of island-style functionality into their own apps.

It would be unfair to expect iPhone island-level vibrancy and polish from Android copycats developed in a week or two, but apps like this are already on their way to becoming the go-to solution for theming and personalization enthusiasts for an iOS-style look. a budget. The developer promises to add more custom animations, interactions and improve app support, but hopefully they fix minor issues as well. If you liked the way it all sounds and want to give it a spin, all you need is an Android device to install dynamicSpot on an OLED screen – and all the best Android phones come with it.