Apple’s Dynamic Island is an animated and interactive island surrounding the front camera of the iPhone 14 Pro series. It’s a small pod when nothing’s happening, but fluidly expands across the screen for notifications, alerts, and ongoing activities like music, timers, and directions. It can even expand with controls and more information. And now you can get Dynamic Island on your Android phone.
Let’s put that aside: the notch isn’t an aesthetic design. The devices get more screen real estate but suffer from a flaw around the front camera. Yet somehow Apple made it “cool”. Then every Android maker copied and iterated on it, with the punch-hole design becoming more and more common on flagship devices. Samsung and other manufacturers have started implementing under-display cameras, but everyone agrees that the technology has a long way to go before it becomes a practical solution.
Four years after cursing us all with the notch, Apple has finally come up with a more elegant way to hide the camera besides forcing users to use a black wallpaper. While Dynamic Island is only for iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max at the moment, we Android users struggling with holes in our smartphone screens can emulate Dynamic Island with a simple app.
Step 1: Install Dynamic Spot
The Android version of Dynamic Island is called Dynamic Spot (yes, the d is lowercase), developed by Jawomo. It takes advantage of Android’s “draw over other apps” feature to place a pop-up in the notification bar above your selfie camera cutout. To get started, tap on the link below and install it like any other app.
Step 2: select apps
Launch Dynamic Spot and you’ll see a setup process you can follow. First, you’ll select the apps you want to appear in the popup. Tap “Select apps” to enter the app list, switch to the apps you want to include, then hit the back button.
You might be tempted to tap the “ALL” button to select all apps on your device, but not all notifications are created equal. For example, one thing I found annoying was having the popup drawn on Google Maps in navigation mode. I already have the map active, and when it doesn’t, it defaults to picture-in-picture mode. Your mileage may vary.
Step 3: Grant notification access
Next, on the configuration screen, you need to grant two special permissions to Dynamic Spot. First, you will give the app device and app notification access, which allows the Dynamic Spot to display your app activity in the pop-up pill. Tap “Notification Access” to get started.
The app will take you directly to “Device & App Notifications”, “Access to Notifications” or something similar in your Settings app, depending on your device model.
In the list, find Dynamic Spot and turn it on, which should trigger a dialog that alerts you to how much power Dynamic Spot will get from this action. If you agree, press “Allow” and you will be returned to the configuration screen.
Step 4: Enable Screen Drawing
The second permission is for the AccessibilityService API, which allows Dynamic Spot to draw on other apps. Tap “Draw on Screen” to continue. This time you will get a dialog explaining why the app is asking for this permission and stating that it will not collect any data. Press “Next” to continue.
If you’re using a Google Pixel, find and select Dynamic Spot on the Accessibility page, then tap “Allow” after reading the warning that appears. We’ve come this far, so why turn back now?
On a Samsung Galaxy model, you may need to tap “Installed apps” on the Accessibility page, then select Dynamic Spot from the list. Next, tap the toggle next to “Disabled” to turn it on, then tap “Allow” after reading the warning.
Other Android models will have a similar process.
Step 5: Adjust pop-up window settings
Once everything is set up, press “DONE!” to complete the setup. Now you can access “Context Settings”, followed by “Dimensions”, to adjust the size and positioning of the pill to suit your tastes and preferences. You’ll also find customizable interaction options that can be unlocked with a single in-app purchase.
Step 6: Enjoy your new “dynamic island”
Now that everything is set up, you can play with your new toy. A great place to start is your favorite music app, which should be YouTube Music. Press play, and the pill will appear. You can long-press the pop-up window to expand it and interact with music controls. You can also open the app itself with just one click.
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