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Someone figured out how to activate the pixels in the iPhone 14 Pro Dynamic Island 

Updated Dec 19th, 2022 4:23PM EST
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Dynamic Island
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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We knew about the iPhone 14 Pro’s Dynamic Island design several months before Apple introduced it. And we expected the new Pro and Pro Max models to deliver a new notch design featuring two cutouts — one for the Face ID sensors and one for the selfie camera.

But then a last-minute series of leaks revealed that Apple was going to merge the two hole-punch openings and create one elongated pill-shaped cutout. At the time, I told you that I preferred the pill-and-hole design to the unified cutout. But I also explained that Apple would probably not let users do that.

Then came the Dynamic Island reveal that changed the conversation. It was evident that Apple would not let anyone alter the iPhone 14 Pro’s Dynamic Island functionality. But it turns out there is a way to activate the pixels in the iPhone 14 Pro Dynamic Island.

The new notch is one of the best iPhone 14 Pro features. You might not interact with the Dynamic Island all that much, but you certainly see it in the apps that support it.

The animation is smooth, making the best of a design compromise. The Dynamic Island hides the Face ID components that cut into the screen. I’ll take any notch variant to have Face ID on a phone rather than get a perfect all-screen design.

Examples of Dynamic Island animation on iPhone 14 Pro.
Examples of Dynamic Island animation on iPhone 14 Pro. Image source: Apple Inc.

But, as expected, there’s no way to turn off the Dynamic Island. It’s the iPhone 14 Pro’s best marketing trick. So Apple will not let you turn it off. The Dynamic Island’s effect on the competition was proof of that. Developers and some Android vendors started looking into replicating the feature.

How to activate the pixels in the iPhone 14 Pro’s Dynamic Island

With all that in mind, there is a way to experience the pill-and-hole design we thought we were getting. Or better said, you can activate the pixels sitting in between the pill cutout and the hole punch.

Those pixels usually stay dark except when they show privacy indicators. That’s how Apple merged the two display holes. And the OLED blacks definitely help make it seem like it’s all a large cutout.

iPhone 14 Pro Dynamic Island with pixels activated between the two screen cutouts.
iPhone 14 Pro Dynamic Island with pixels activated between the two screen cutouts. Image source: Reddit

Redditor u/280-Z accidentally discovered how to turn on the screen portion between the two holes. The person called it a “useless find,” explaining how you can get the same effect.

Make sure Dark Mode is turned on, and then play some music in the background. We’re assuming this activates the Dynamic Island software and animation.

Then go to Settings, Accessibility, Display & Text Size, and then look for the Smart Invert option. On every toggle, you’ll see a version of the image above.

I tried replicating it on the iPhone 14 Pro, and it works. But the whole thing is so fast that you can’t take a screenshot of it even if you time it right. The effect isn’t permanent. It’s a blink-and-you-miss-it moment as the Dynamic Island reverts to its natural state.

Then again, this is most likely a software bug that Apple will iron out in the future. There’s no real reason for iOS to activate the pixels in the Dynamic Island for anything but the privacy indicators.

More iPhone coverage: For more iPhone news, visit our iPhone 14 guide.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.