Showing what music or podcast I’m playing is the most frequent (and useful) version of this for me. I keep my music and podcast apps all in one folder on my homescreen, which means that if I want to pause or change the track while I’m looking at another app, I used to have to either go to my homescreen, tap into my Music folder, open the Spotify app, and then hit pause or skip, or swipe up and find the app in the background. The new way is quicker, more convenient, and feels completely intuitive, as if it’s a feature that’s always been there.
However, aside from audio, the Dynamic Island feature wasn’t the huge game changer I thought it might be. It didn’t totally revolutionize the way I use my phone, but it was just…nice. Better.
In comparison, I did find the always-on display extremely useful. This is a feature that’s existed on some Android phones for a while, and for now, it’s an iPhone Pro 14–only feature. When you set your phone down, the clock still displays — which is extremely helpful if you use your phone as your main clock. However, it also showed me some notifications. For example, I got a Twitter ping, which of course made me want to immediately open the app (oh no).
This was an unpleasant side effect. We all struggle with our base urges to be constantly checking our phones: We are always trying to find the right balance between being connected in the way we need to be versus wasting our time mindlessly scrolling for dopamine hits. I had gotten to a good place in my screentime journey, but always-on threw everything for a loop.
Here’s the big caveat about whether you should buy this phone: If you camp or hike or spend time in places with no cell service, you should definitely get the new iPhone 14 (Pro or not) — if you can afford it, even if you have a very recent model phone. The satellite emergency calling is an absolutely killer feature if you are the kind of person who tangles in killer nature.
Being able to place an emergency call if you’re lost or injured while hiking, camping, skiing, boating, doing shrooms with your buddies you met in the Phish parking lot, or stuck in a 127 Hours–type situation is literally the difference between life and death. Please don’t die — we need all the readers we can get. If this seems like something you need, get it.