Third-party apps bring Dynamic Island to any iPhone, but are they just a party gimmick?
Developers have just brought Dynamic Island – currently exclusive to iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max – to any iPhone running iOS 16 through iOS 16.1.2. Even though the iPhone Pro physically takes a different shape from this island screen, the piece of software is still able to go where the notch was on the previous iPhone and show the current direction, battery charge, and media playback in updated fashion.
DynamicCow brings Dynamic Island to any iPhone
It would be nice if this app could be easily downloaded from the App Store… definitely not. A version of this mod for jailbroken iPhones (it’s called Dynamic Peninsula) has been around for a long time, but it doesn’t require a jailbreak. However, to make it work, you need to install software on your computer, use that software to get a third-party utility on your phone, and then use that utility to install DynamicCow – the app that activates Dynamic Island – on your phone. You also can’t use the latest version of iOS 16 — it only supports iOS 16 through iOS 16.1.2. Finally, you’ll need to enter your Apple ID and password into third-party software to install it, and that’s reason enough not to do it. But Dynamic Island is a great addition to the iPhone 14 Pro, so I can see why people might be interested in giving it a try.
I installed DynamicCow to see how well it worked… and technically it does exactly what it describes – bringing dynamic islands right from iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max to older iPhones… but that was (one of) the problems. If the iPhone doesn’t already have a large notch, this could be a nice addition, but half of Dynamic Island’s content is covered by the existing notch, and it takes up more space at the top of your screen. Oh, and also, there’s a big red bar at the top of your device if you have an iPhone 11. the developer hopes to fix itbut in its current state, I can’t find any practical day-to-day use for it and can’t recommend trying it.
Despite these issues, I continue to be impressed with developers who use hardware in ways it was never intended to. While the average consumer may not need it, some developers without an iPhone 14 Pro Max may find it useful to test the features they implement regarding the Dynamic Island feature. Or online authors can use it to easily get screenshots with dynamic islands in place, since the notch cutout always appears as a bit more of the screen in the screenshot. I’m sure someone will have fun with it, although for the most part it’s just a party.
How to Get Dynamic Island on Any iPhone
Follow these instructions at your own risk. While I was able to install the app successfully, once installed on my iPhone 11 it made a big red bar at the top of the device blocking the time, battery percentage and other icons. You also MUST disable dynamic island BEFORE by removing DynamicCow and AltStore, or you’ll be stuck with dynamic islands on your device until you reinstall the app to disable them or update your device. (Ask me how I know.)
1. Install Alt Server on your Mac. This is used to get AltStore on your iPhone, which allows you to install IPA files.
2. Click the AltServer icon in the top bar, install the Mail plugin, then enable the plugin in Mail preferences.
3. Connect your iPhone to your Mac.
4. In AltServer, choose to install AltStore and select your iPhone.
5. On your iPhone, open the newly installed AltStore app and sign in with your Apple ID.
6. Open DynamicCow’s GitHub page on your iPhone and scroll down to Releases. Download the latest version.
7. Open AltStore, click the plus icon on the My Apps page and select the DynamicCow.ipa file to install Dynamic Cow.
8. Open DynamicCow and select the iPhone 14 Pro model for which you want the dynamic island, then select Activate.
9. With this enabled, you’ll be running Dynamic Island on previous iPhones – well, half of what you see isn’t covered by the notch.
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