Apple’s Dynamic Island got new gestures in iOS 16.1

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Slowly but surely, Apple is turning its Dynamic Island – a pill-shaped space on top of iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max that hides the selfie camera and displays animated widgets – into a full-fledged feature.

A month ago, I wrote about a cool little gesture that the Dynamic Island supports, allowing you to turn it off with a swipe to the left or right.

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With iOS 16.1, which launched Monday, the iPhones got a couple more gestures, which let you precisely adjust what you want to see or remove from the Dynamic Island.

The new gestures are swiping in or out; the first one meaning swiping from the left or right towards the middle of the Dynamic Island, and the second one meaning swiping out from the center to either side of the Dynamic Island.

Here’s what you can do with these:

  • Swipe in when one activity is active: hide activity from the Dynamic Island

  • Swipe in when two activities are active: hide the activity on the side you’re swiping from, which makes the other activity the “primary” activity

  • Swipe out when two activities are active, but one activity is hidden: unhide secondary activity

  • Swipe in when two activities are active, but one activity is hidden: hide primary activity

  • Swipe in when two activities are active, but both are hidden: unhide primary activity

Yes, this is all quite intricate, and it does take some practice to get it right, but I’ve tried it all out and it works.

Of course, you may wonder why you need such granular controls over the Dynamic Island, as it’s mostly showing notifications and activities from a handful of Apple apps. But this is changing, too. With iOS 16.1, third-party apps can take advantage of the Dynamic Island, and some have already done so. These include meal planning app Crouton, fitness app Liftin’, and flight tracking app Flighty.

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