Add a Digital Pet to Your iPhone

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Photo: Framesira (Shutterstock)

When it comes to new tech, the big flashy features steal the show. The iPhone 14 Pro’s The showstopper, of course, is the Dynamic Island, a camera cutout that actually adapts depending on how you’re using your iPhone. While Apple advertises the island as a hub for alerts and background tasks, its true potential may come from the unique uses third-party developers come up with. Case in point: You can turn the Dynamic Island on your 14 Pro into a home for a Tamagotchi-like pet.

Of course, this isn’t something Apple makes available in the settings (although they totally should). Instead, it’s a feature created by iOS developer Christian Seligbest known for his Reddit client, Apolloand Amplosion, an app for turning AMP links into normal URLs. For this Tamagotchi-inspired feature, Selig placed a cat on top of the Dynamic Island, and its sole purpose is to run around, look cute, and sleep, livin’ the dream.

The cat’s name is Hugo, named after Selig’s real-life feline, but it isn’t the only animal option for your 14 Pro Tamagochi. You can also choose from “Pixel Pals” Rupert the dog, Chortley the hedgehog, Finnegan the fox, and Mochi the axolotl, from what he calls the Dynamic Island Zoo.

The one (major) downside here is that these digital pets can’t follow you around as you use your iPhone 14 Pro. Unfortunately, iOS is still iOS, and Selig can’t make Hugo, Finnegan, or Chortley snooze atop your Dynamic Island while you tweet, scroll TikTok, or text your friends. Instead, the feature is baked into Apollo, which means if you don’t currently use Reddit, you have no choice but to start now.

While Apollo does have paid tiers, Selig included the Dynamic Island Zoo for free. As long as you have the latest version of the app and an iPhone 14 Pro or 14 Pro Max, you’ll find the option in the Apollo app in Settings > General > Pixel Pals.

Other iPhones can use Pixel Pals, too

If you don’t have an iPhone 14 Pro, you can still have fun with Pixel Pals, too. Selig made Pixels Pals an Apollo widget option for iOS 16’s customizable Lock Screens. If your iPhone supports Apple’s latest update, and you have the Apollo app installed, you can see your Pixel Pal whenever you want.

To set it up, long-press on the Lock Screen, tap “Customize,” then select a widget space to pull up the Add Widgets menu. Tap “Apollo,” then swipe over to “Pixel Pal.” You can add either a small or large Pixel Pal widget to your Lock Screen, which means you can have two, three, or four Pixel Pals on the screen at once.

When you place a Pixel Pal widget on the Lock Screen, it will be Hugo the cat by default. To change the animal, tap the widget, then tap “Cat (Hugo)” to swap it for one of the other four pals.

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