Underwhelmed: Dynamic Island and Always On Display

I am quite a bit underwhelmed by the dynamic island and always on screen. The dynamic island I was pretty excited about when I watch the Apple Keynote, and saw some of the videos on it but in practice, it doesn’t really add much to my experience and honestly, I find it a little bit distracting. I don’t think I was really looking for a replacement for the notch and having information up there in a black bar. Wow with cute and whimsical animations I find I’m not a huge fan. I end in many places in the operating system it just looks off for example, the photo below.

As far as the always on display I had it on for a little bit and immediately after that, turned it off I’m not really looking for ways to draw my attention to the phone and, I’m trying to live a life that is less distracted not more if I want to check the score to a ball game. I don’t need to live updates when I am with people and taking away my distraction. I can see some used cases for it but honestly, I don’t think it’s for me, one thing I did not like about the always on display besides it being always on is that the notifications at the bottom are in color and everything else is kind of grayed out and more subdued so it was even more distracting.

I’m sure that a lot of people will like the always on display but like I said above, I’m not looking for more ways to be attached to my phone, I even turned off the always on display for my watch as well as I found it distracting, but to each their own.

But the most impressive thing about the iOS 16 is definitely the smooch to text. The entire thing is speech to text and I’m too lazy to go and change anything so you can see how it works for an entire post like this.

I would love to hear other people’s thoughts on the always on display and dynamic island and practice not just from what you’ve seen on the Keynote.


Good stuff. I would say I had a good read on what these features would really be like, when I saw the keynote.

I’m neutral on the always-on display, but I’m not dismayed by it. It didn’t factor into my decision to upgrade. In the dimmed state, the phone doesn’t feel beckoning, if that makes any sense. It feels like a nicer-looking version of Samsung’s ADO. Low power mode disables always-on, which now gives the impression the phone is dead and that’s a little distracting. I would say that it’s not quite dimmed enough for me in moderate light. The way it looks near a lamp (wallpaper almost invisible) is closer to my preference. That’s just aesthetic, though; it’s not distracting.

The dynamic island did factor into my decision to upgrade. I’m pleased with it, with a couple exceptions:

  • Some podcast and album art doesn’t look great in the island, like the one in your screenshot. I haven’t figured out the pattern yet. I have some podcasts optimize their art for small sizes, and I’ll be able to use the island to push for even more clarity.
  • Directions don’t always show the distance to the right of the island when I want to see it. It’s still much nicer and less distracting than having full-screen directions open, but I think this can be tuned
  • The now playing animation doesn’t indicate volume (same as on the new lock screen)

Overall, the information above the island is saving taps on the phone and the watch and saving time, and it looks good (especially the animations that slightly widen or contract, and the morph into the ‘turn in 800 feet’ notices.)


I turned always-on off after a couple of hours. I didn’t really see the point, especially when wearing a watch.

The island I think is neat. It’s not groundbreaking, but I think it’s a good use of the notch. Plus it’s really well done. I think it will also get better with time.


I agree about Always on.

On the Dynamic Island, it’s going to take time to see what it becomes. Live updates and 3rd party use will expand its uses.

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Unlike the infamous Touch Bar, I think the use case is more straightforward and honest because it is not really removing anything.

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+1 for living with less distraction. Don’t understand the appeal of always on displays…