Released mid-September 2020, iOS 14 brought some major changes to iPhone and iPad. One of the biggest was the introduction of widgets; app shortcuts that also double up as a miniature version of the app itself, showing you useful information at a glance.
Find out more about Apple widgets, and how to use them, in our guide below.
What are Widgets?
Introduced with iOS 14, widgets sit amongst your app icons on your iPhone or iPad's home screen. They offer a brand-new way to customise your device, and make it easy to view need-to-know information without having to open the app.
Apple apps - such as Mail, Weather and Notes - can all be added as widgets, but many popular third-party apps like Spotify, Gmail, Pinterest and TikTok can be added as widgets too. If you create a Weather widget for example, you can add a widget that will show you the current forecast, or the weather forecast for the entire week for a set location. A Notes widget, meanwhile, will give you quick access to a Note or a Notes folder, and if you have an Apple Watch you can even add a Fitness widget so you can also see your Activity rings on your handset.
Widgets are available in a range of sizes, including a 4x4 square, 8x2 rectangle or a 16x16 square. Simply choose a widget that works with your layout, and remember larger widgets typically show you more information than smaller ones.
Where can I find Widgets?
When you first update your iPhone or iPad, it's not obvious where widgets are stored. You can find them in two ways: via the home screen, or from Today's View.
To access Widgets from your home screen, simply hold down any app. A menu should appear, and you should see 'Edit Home Screen'. Tap this, and you'll notice a '+' symbol appear on the top-left of your device.
From here, you'll be able to view all the widgets available to you - and if you're in a hurry, just use the search bar to find what you need.
Alternatively, you can find widgets via Today's View. To open Today's View, just swipe right from the left edge of your home screen or lock screen. Scroll to the bottom, and once again you'll see the '+' symbol. Tap this to reach the widget gallery.
How to add Widgets?
Adding widgets to your home screen is quick and easy. If you've followed the steps above, you should now be able to see the widget gallery.
Browse your widgets until you find what you're looking for, then tap on it. It'll open up a new window, and from here you'll be able to see all the different options. Swipe left to browse the sizes available, and once you're happy, click 'Add Widget' at the bottom of the screen.
The widget will be automatically added to your home screen. Just like apps, you can drag and drop it to a position you're happy with.
If you've already customised Today's View, you can also quickly add widgets directly from there. Let's say you can already see your Calendar on Today's View, just press and hold on it. You'll be able to edit the widget, remove the widget or drag it right to instantly add it to your home screen.
Can I download more Widgets?
While more and more apps are adding the widget function every single day, you can also find a number of widget-specific apps available to download on the App Store.
Popular with iPhone or iPad users that love switching up the look and feel of their home screen, apps like Widgetsmith and Color Widgets add a whole new level of customisation.
For example, open up Widgetsmith and you'll see endless options. Alongside essential widgets displaying the time, weather and reminders, you'll find exciting astrology-related options and widgets to display your favourite photos too. You can switch things up even further by changing the colour and overall style of the widget - whether you're looking for red, pink or even a patterned widget, Widgetsmith has it all.
If you want to try widgets yourself, all you need to do is upgrade to iOS 14. And, if you're after a new iPhone, don't forget to check out the latest deals right here at Mobiles.co.uk.