Customize your iPhone apps and home screen with widgets in iOS 14
iPhone widgets have been around since iOS 4, but they’re still not particularly well known among iPhone owners. Put simply, widgets are like miniature apps that run on your home screen to provide useful information or let you control various functions from anywhere in the operating system. For example, if you own an Apple Watch, you can use the Weather widget to display the forecast for your location, or the Reminders widget to see upcoming tasks without having to open up the Calendar app. In this article, we’ll show you how to set up and customize iPhone widgets so that they work exactly how you want them to.
What are widgets?
In most cases, widgets are small applications that run on the phone’s home screen. They offer instant access to information, such as weather forecasts or news headlines. Widgets can be created by both app developers and users.
There is no limit to the number of times you can add a widget to your phone, but you cannot add more than one of the same type (e.g., two weather widgets). Widgets are intended for one-time use; they are not designed for heavy usage or ongoing monitoring, so they do not keep running in the background when they’re not being used.
The widget’s content will update automatically if it has been set up to do so; otherwise, users will have to manually refresh the information displayed.
How do you get started?
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone and tap the General tab.
- Scroll down to Widget and tap Edit.
- Tap the green + button to add a new widget, then scroll through the list of available widgets until you find one that you would like to add to your list of available widgets. Tap it to select it for inclusion in your list of available widgets. Then drag it up or down to move it in relation to all other installed widgets on your home screen. You can also delete an existing widget by tapping its red – button if you want to remove it from your list of available widgets entirely. When you are finished editing the layout, tap Done or press the Home button at the bottom center of the display.
Which widgets should I use?
One of the many new changes in iOS 14 is the ability to add app shortcuts to a widget called Today. This widget displays information such as the date, a list of upcoming calendar appointments, reminders, weather conditions, sunrise and sunset times, a summary of your next day’s tasks or events. There are two ways to add widgets:
- press the edit button at the bottom of the Today section or
- go to Settings > Display & Brightness > Widgets on Your Lock Screen. Once you have selected an app from either list, it will be added to your lock screen, but if you want it on the home screen instead, drag it from the left side of the screen over to the right side. If you tap and hold an app while on the Home Screen tab in Settings > Display & Brightness > Widgets On Your Home Screen, you can add that app shortcut to one of five different pages which include Favorites (with a maximum number of three), My Apps (maximum four), Most Used (five), Recently Added (four) or Frequently Used (maximum six). The same rules apply for adding an application icon shortcut to your lock screen by pressing Add To Lock Screen within an individual settings menu.
Why would I want an app widget?
App widgets are the fastest way to access the information you need on your home screen without having to open an app. Widgets are a great way to stay connected to what’s happening on social media, track tasks or projects, see the weather forecast for where you’re headed, or just keep an eye on what’s going on in the world.
Apple has made it easier than ever before to customize your device with app widget s thanks to its new interactive Today view within Notification Center.