Widgets are finally coming to the Home screen in iOS 14, marking an exciting time in Apple’s history. While widgets have been available in the Today View since iOS 10, users will finally be able to view widgets directly on the Home screen when it’s released later this year (or right now, if you’re brave enough to install the iOS 14 beta).
Whether you’ve taken the plunge and installed the iOS 14 beta or just curious about what you’ll be able to do with widgets later this year, we’ve got you covered.
How to add widgets to your Home screen in iOS 14
Tap and hold anywhere on your Home screen until your apps begin to jiggle.
Tap the + icon in the top-left corner – you’ll be taken to the widget menu.
Tap the widget you’d like to add to your Home screen, and if applicable, select the size you’d like.
Tap the Add Widget button.
Drag your widget to reposition it.
Tap Done in the top-right to save your new Home screen layout.
That’s pretty straightforward, but there’s more you can do to get the most out of your widgets.
What can I do with widgets?
Adding widgets to your Home screen is the first step to widgets in iOS – there’s more to try out.
Change the size of your widget
Depending on the widget you want to add to your Home screen, you’ve got the option of selecting its size. The different sizes not only dictate the amount of space your widget will take up on your Home screen, but also the information on offer – the weather app, for example, shows you your current weather in its smallest form and details an hourly breakdown in its larger form.
You can swipe through the available sizes before tapping the Add Widget button in step 4 above. Annoyingly, unlike with Android smartphones, you can’t adjust the size of a widget already placed on your Home screen – you’ll have to delete the widget and re-add the smaller/larger widget.
Create Smart Stacks
Smart Stack is a handy widget that’s actually made of other widgets, and Apple claims that it’ll shift between the widgets “to show the most relevant information throughout the day” – the problem is that the standard Smart Stack (including Notes and a Maps widget that, currently, doesn’t do much) aren’t actually that helpful.
What Apple doesn’t tell you is that you can actually create your own Smart Stacks, and it’s easy to do too: simply drag widgets of the same size onto each other. Much like how when you drag an app onto an app it’ll create a folder, the widgets are bundled together in a new Smart Stack. Considering widgets take up a fair amount of space on the Home screen, it’s a handy feature indeed.
Add widgets to your Today View
The Today View, accessible via swiping right from your primary Home screen, has been where widgets have lived since their introduction in iOS 10. While most people prefer to put widgets on the Home screen, providing quick access when required, the Today View is still available in iOS 14. It’s primarily where you’ll find older widgets that aren’t compatible with iOS 14’s widget tech, but you can also drag-and-drop widgets there too.
If you want to use a handful of widgets without taking up space on your Home screen, your Today View is a handy place to store them.
You can’t interact with widgets… yet
While adding widgets to the Home screen is a huge step for Apple, it’s not quite in Android territory just yet. You see, Apple’s widgets are essentially read-only – you can’t actually control anything exclusively via the widget. Instead, tapping a widget will take you to the appropriate app to view the content seen on the widget.
That means you won’t find widgets to quickly toggle functions like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, limiting how useful the widgets can be compared to Android counterparts that, in some cases, function as mini-apps directly on the Home screen.
It’s new territory for Apple and we imagine it’s something that’ll change with iOS 15 in 2021, but for now, it’s a limitation that iOS users will have to deal with.
Delete your widgets
And, finally, it’s probably worth explaining how to get rid of widgets if you get sick and tired of them:
Tap and hold on the widget you’d like to remove until the context menu appears.
Tap Delete Widget.
Tap Remove to confirm your choice.
Are you excited about the introduction of widgets to the Home screen in iOS 14? What third-party widgets are you looking forward to? Let us know on Twitter. And for more on iOS 14, take a look at our top iOS 14 tips and tricks, and how to set up Back Tap in iOS 14 too.