The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max feature a new design element called the “Dynamic Island” that replaces the notch from previous iPhone models. At the top of the display is a pill-shaped cutout that contains the front-facing camera and Face ID sensors. Surrounding this cutout is a black bar that dynamically changes based on notifications and activities on your iPhone.
This black bar has sparked discussion, with some iPhone 14 users wondering if there is a way to remove or customize it. The black bar is an integral part of the new Dynamic Island feature on the iPhone 14 Pro models. In this article, we’ll take a look at what the black bar is, why Apple included it in the iPhone 14 design, and whether there are any workarounds to remove or modify it.
What is the Black Bar?
The black bar at the top of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro display is part of the cutout design that houses the front-facing camera and Face ID sensors (Source). Rather than having an intrusive notch cut into the screen like previous iPhone models, Apple has extended the pixels around the cutout to create a pill-shaped black bar spanning the width of the display.
This black bar is a consistent part of the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro hardware design – it does not change or disappear. Apple refers to this area as the “Dynamic Island” since they use software to make it seem dynamic, with animations and interactions. But fundamentally, it is a section of pixels that do not display any content, resulting in a black bar across the top.
The size of the black bar is reduced from the notch on previous iPhones. It takes up less horizontal space, though the height is similar. This provides a bit more usable screen real estate while still housing the necessary components.
Why Does the iPhone 14 Have a Black Bar?
The black bar at the top of the iPhone 14 screen houses the Face ID sensors and front-facing camera. This bar allows Apple to shrink the bezels around the sides and bottom of the display while still providing the necessary space for these important hardware components.
The Face ID sensors contained in the black bar include:
- Infrared camera
- Flood illuminator
- Proximity sensor
- Dot projector
- Front camera
Together, these sensors create a detailed 3D map of the user’s face to enable Face ID facial recognition. The front-facing camera also utilizes the space within the black bar.
By consolidating these sensors into the top bar, Apple eliminated the bottom “chin” bezel of previous iPhone models, allowing for a larger edge-to-edge display in the iPhone 14 while still accommodating the hardware needed for Face ID and selfies.
Can You Remove or Disable the Black Bar?
Unfortunately, there’s currently no way to outright disable the black bar or “Dynamic Island” on iPhone 14 models, as its behavior is baked into iOS 16 and can’t be turned off completely (https://www.macrumors.com/how-to/iphone-14-pro-disable-dynamic-island/). The black bar houses important system alerts and notifications, so it can’t be disabled like other iOS features.
The Dynamic Island feature is deeply integrated with iOS 16 and relies on specific hardware in the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, including the front-facing camera and Face ID sensor. There are no settings in iOS 16 to toggle the Dynamic Island or black bar off. While some workarounds can hide the black bar visually in certain apps, the system will continue running Dynamic Island features in the background.
In short, the black bar at the top of the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max screens is mandatory and can’t be fully disabled due to software limitations in iOS 16. Apple intentionally designed the Dynamic Island system this way. However, future iOS 16 updates may allow customizing or limiting Dynamic Island functionality.
Workarounds and Alternatives
While you cannot completely disable the black bar on iPhone 14 models, there are some workarounds to make it less obtrusive:
Using wallpaper to blend the bar: One simple trick is to set a wallpaper that has a black bar at the top to visually blend with the black bar on the iPhone. This helps the bar look more integrated into the design rather than sticking out. You can find wallpapers designed specifically for this purpose or create your own custom wallpaper with a black strip at the top.
According to a Reddit user, “The black bar is the front facing camera on the new iPhone 14 pro. Doesn’t look right blocking the top of the game like that.”
Pros and Cons of the Black Bar
When Apple first unveiled the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models, there was a lot of discussion around the black bar cutout at the top of the display. This pill-shaped cutout replaces the larger notch that previous iPhone models had, leading to some divided opinions on its aesthetics and functionality.
On the pro side, the black bar is much smaller and more discreet visually compared to the notch. The cutout takes up very little space horizontally across the top of the screen, allowing for a more immersive display and viewing experience. Many reviewers have praised the black bar for being relatively unobtrusive during everyday use. It becomes easy to ignore while watching videos or playing games in full screen.
Functionally, the black bar also enables Apple’s new Dynamic Island feature on the iPhone 14 Pro models. This converts the cutout into an interactive, contextual zone for system alerts, notifications and controls. Dynamic Island makes clever use of the space to provide quick access to useful information and actions. As per this Verge article, it essentially turns the black bar “into a feature instead of a compromise.”
On the other hand, some users simply dislike how the black bar looks aesthetically on the iPhone 14 Pro screens. While smaller than the notch, it still creates a visible break in the display for many. Some feel it looks odd or asymmetrical compared to the uniform bezels. There are also functional drawbacks like the cutout interfering in landscape video viewing.
Overall, reactions to the black bar seem split between those who see it as a clean, modern compromise and others who consider it an eyesore they wish was not there. However, most reviewers agree that it is a functional improvement over the larger notch. With creative software like Dynamic Island, Apple has managed to turn a necessary cutout into a uniquely useful feature.
Many iPhone users are curious if Apple will remove or reduce the black bar on future iPhone models. The black bar, officially called the Dynamic Island, was introduced with the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. While some users appreciate the Dynamic Island for housing the front-facing camera and Face ID sensors, others find it distracting or aesthetically unappealing.
Looking ahead to the iPhone 15 series expected in 2023, rumors indicate Apple may further optimize or shrink the Dynamic Island. According to leaked CAD renders and supply chain reports, the iPhone 15 Pro may have a slightly smaller and oval-shaped cutout compared to the pill-shaped Dynamic Island on iPhone 14 models (https://www.reddit.com/r/iphone/comments/18i647q/iphone_15_pro_black_bar/).
However, Apple is unlikely to remove the cutout entirely in 2023. Completely eliminating the Dynamic Island would require major under-display camera and Face ID technology that has not yet reached mass production. While Apple is working on under-display solutions, sources indicate this tech is still 2-3 years away from being ready for iPhones.
In summary, iPhone 15 Pro models will probably have a slightly more subtle and streamlined Dynamic Island cutout, but Apple is not expected to remove the black bar until under-display technology is perfected, potentially in 2024 or later.
Customizing Your iPhone 14
While the black bar along the top of the iPhone 14’s display is a permanent feature, there are still ways to personalize your iPhone 14.
You can customize the lock screen by selecting personalized fonts, colors, and wallpapers to make it your own. There are also options to add widgets to the lock screen for at-a-glance information.
The home screen can be customized with different app layouts, custom icons, widgets, shortcuts to favorite features, and stylish wallpapers. Consider arranging apps thematically or using stacks to organize them.https://www.zdnet.com/article/iphone-14-pro-makes-the-notch-come-alive-finally/
While you can’t remove the bar, you can blend it into your overall aesthetic. For example, select wallpapers with a black bar at the top to help it visually recede. Or use a gradient black wallpaper so it blends with the bar.
There are also options to customize notifications, sounds, app layouts, and more in Settings. So while the black bar remains, you can still personalize your iPhone 14.
Should You Upgrade to iPhone 14?
The iPhone 14 offers several new features compared to previous iPhone models, but the overall value depends on your current device and needs. According to CNET, upgrading is definitely worthwhile if you have an iPhone XS, XS Max or XR for the noticeable improvements in camera quality and battery life alone (source). However, upgrading from an iPhone 12 or 13 may not make as much sense for everyone.
The main upgrades with the iPhone 14 include an improved main camera, larger base storage, and new safety features like crash detection and satellite connectivity for emergencies. However, you don’t get substantial changes to the overall design or display. The A15 chip on the standard iPhone 14 models is also the same as the iPhone 13 series.
Ultimately, decide if the new features justify upgrading after one year. The cameras and battery life see the biggest improvements in everyday use. If you care about photography or need longer battery life, upgrading can make sense. But otherwise, you may want to wait another year if your current iPhone still meets your needs.
The iPhone 14’s black bar has sparked much debate and controversy among Apple fans and critics alike. While some see it as an eyesore, others argue it’s a necessary sacrifice for the new camera and privacy features. Ultimately, whether or not you can disable the black bar depends on if you’re willing to jailbreak your device and sacrifice security – something most average users won’t undertake.
For now, the black bar is here to stay on new iPhone 14 models. Workarounds like wallpapers and cases can help mask its appearance, but don’t expect Apple to allow users to remove it officially any time soon. As camera and Face ID tech continues advancing down the line, future models may do away with the bar entirely. But the next few iPhone generations will likely keep it in place.
At the end of the day, deciding whether to upgrade to an iPhone 14 requires weighing the pros and cons of the device as a whole. If you find the black bar intolerable, you may want to skip this generation. But if camera improvements and enhanced privacy protections appeal to you, learning to live with the controversial bar could be worth it.