What the Tech: helpful widgets for the iPhone

What the Tech

Everyone seems to be talking about widgets in iOS 14 and I’ve had several emails from people asking about how to do them and which ones to try. So I pulled together a few that anyone can create to help be more productive.

In case you haven’t yet tried widgets on the iPhone, you’ll find them if you hold down an icon or empty space on the home screen to put the phone in what Apple calls “jiggly mode”. Apple added a plus sign in the upper left hand corner of the screen to explore and add widgets to the home screen.

When you tap the plus sign, you’ll see available widgets from Apple along with any that are available through the apps you’ve installed on your phone.

The most helpful widgets are probably ones for to-do lists, reminders, calendar and clock. Those widgets are available in small, medium and large sizes. Select one and tap add, and the widget will appear on the home screen. You can move it around the screen or to other screens.

I use the calendar app Fantastical which has its own widget. This app displays my calendar and reminders that I’ve created across my devices.

Here are a few other apps to try:

  • Motivation sends automated inspirational messages and quotes throughout the day. Its widget sits on the home screen and changes from one message to another almost every time I check my phone
  • Siri suggestions is from Apple that displays some of the apps you use most often. It changes throughout the day.
  • Google Search. This widget is extremely useful for anyone who ‘Googles’ things. The medium size displays a search bar, Google Lens, Voice Search and Incognito browser mode.
  • If you haven’t tried Google Lens, this is a helpful tool where you can point your camera at any object and Google will search for similar items for sale online.
  • Todoist is an app to make lists, tasks and reminders. The app connects with Alexa to make shopping lists you can take with you to the store.
  • Brief is an aggregated news feed site that claims to post non-biased news stories (subscription required)
  • Lose It! is a popular health app for anyone who is watching what they eat. The widget displays updated calorie counts throughout the day.
  • Widgetsmith is a widget creator to add customizable calendars, clocks and photo widgets.
  • Color Widgets is another app for creating customizable widgets to display the time, date and battery life in different colors.

One of my favorite widgets is for anyone who frequently shares their website information or Facebook page.

  • Create a QR code for the site by using Apple’s Shortcuts app
  • At the bottom of the page, under “starter shortcuts” choose Make QR Code
  • Enter the website URL on the next page and tap “done”
  • Save the QR code to your phone’s camera roll
  • Now, open the app Widgetsmith and create either a small or large widget
  • Choose “photo” then choose the QR code image from your camera roll
  • When you tap “add widget” the code will appear on a page on the home screen
  • Now when you want to share your website or Facebook page with someone, ask them to aim their camera at your QR code to open the site in Safari or Chrome on their phone.

Since Apple surprised developers with the early release of iOS 14, many apps are rushing to create their own widgets. Look for any updates available for your apps. Some of them will have added widgets to further customize your home screen.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't Miss

Trending Stories

Report It

Latest News

More Local News