With smartphones beginning to strike the right balance as a device capable of performing most day-to-day tasks one can think of, the ever-growing number of apps installed on a smartphone continues to be an annoying problem. And, as a result, a large part of your time on the smartphone is wasted in scrolling through notifications, finding apps, or going in-and-out of an app to perform some of the most trivial operations. To avoid this, Apple introduced ‘Widgets’, with iOS 10. In a nutshell, iPhone Widgets allow you to take a glance at important information and perform basic functions, without having to open the app.
By only showcasing information that is relevant and important to the user, and by offering basic functionalities of the app in the form of quick actions, widgets take away the need to open an app every now-and-then for the most basic purposes. Accessing them is as simple as swiping right from the lock screen or home screen to get to the Today View. Once here, all you need to do is click on the ‘Edit’ button at the bottom and hit the ‘plus’ or ‘minus’ sign beside a Widget to add or remove it. You can also re-arrange the order of the widgets as you like by dragging them from the right.
Now that we are all set and ready to take advantage of this feature to make the most out of your iPhone, here’s a list of some of the best widgets for iPhone (and iPad).
There are times when you need to be aware of the weather conditions before you head out or plan a trip. At such times, the weather app on your phone is probably the best way to get this information. On the iPhone, Apple pre-installs its weather app, Weather, which collects information from The Weather Channel and manages to offer pretty accurate information.
The widget is pretty clean and offers a detailed look at information based on different hours of the day, sunrise and sunset time, chances of rain, and more. So, if you happen to use the app on your iPhone, you can add its widget (how-to, described above) to view information on the go. Alternately, if you use some other weather app on your iPhone, you can check if the app offers a widget, and then add it in the same way.
Download Weather (Free)
2. Google Calendar
If you use Google’s Calendar app to keep a tab on your upcoming schedules or events, you will be excited to know that the app also offers its widget. And for the most part, it manages to offer a simple and straightforward heads up at what’s upcoming for the day and the week.
All the goals, reminders, or events that you set on the app appear on the widget, with adequate insights on the event and the time frame set for it. You can tap on any item from the widget to land up in the app to get more details about the event or modify it.
Download Google Calendar (Free)
One of the most popular note-taking apps, Evernote, happens to have its widget, which can come in handy if you take a lot of notes throughout the day. The widget shows some of your recently viewed notes, and upon clicking the ‘Show More’ button, expands to show a few more notes, along with a bunch of handy actions.
The actions are located right at the bottom and allow you to take a quick note, take a quick snap and save it as notes, set a reminder, or even, search for a note. If you do not see any notes in the widget, you might need to enable the option by opening the Evernote app and going into Settings > Extensions and then enabling the ‘Show Notes in Widget’ option.
Download Evernote (Free)
Wunderlist is a simple and easy-to-use to-do list and task manager app. It allows you to set reminders and to-dos, so you are always up-to-date with your work and never miss out the deadline. All the to-dos that you list in the app, under ‘Today’, are displayed in the widget.
If you want to change or customize the folder that you want to view tasks from in the widget, the app sadly does not allow this option yet. However, it does allow you to mark a task as done from within the widget, and also allows you to tap on it to open in the app, where it can be modified or edited accordingly.
Download Wunderlist (Free)
xCurrency is a currency converter, exchange rate tool that offers real-time query for over 210 legal currencies, digital currencies, precious metals, and more. It is a must-have app if you study abroad or travel to other countries very often. The widget offered takes a minimal and clean approach to provide all the essential details, with exchange rates updated in real-time.
All the currencies that you mark under the ‘MyCurrency’ section of the app appear in the widget. So, the first thing you need to do is add all the currencies that you often use in this section and set your local currency. Once done, these currencies will show up in the widget, with exchange rates for your local currency. Now, at any point in time, you can tap on any currency in the list and find its equivalent amount in other currency.
Download xCurrency (Free)
Shazam, one of the popular apps on the App Store, has made it easy for people to get information about the song they’ve just heard by helping them to identify music, get song lyrics, or discover music, all within one app. And to make things even simpler, they have also added a widget to provide quick access to the different tools.
One of the options that you can use with the Shazam widget is ‘Tap to Shazam’, which instantly takes you to the app and starts recognizing the sound playing in the background. Similarly, you can also use the camera option to scan an object with the Shazam logo or QR code to get more information. And, the search option to find new artists, albums, etc.
Download Shazam (Free)
One of the best things that Apple introduced with iOS 12 last year was the inclusion of the Siri Shortcuts. And, the Shortcuts app, which is based on the concept of the Workflow app that Apple acquired earlier. The Shortcuts app consists of a wide variety of shortcuts, tailored for different purposes and aimed towards simplifying your daily workflow by automating the mundane tasks.
To take things further, the Shortcuts app also offers a widget that allows you to run all your shortcuts from one place, without having to open the app again-and-again. It can come in handy, especially for executing quick actions like toggling off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi completely, calculating the tip, logging water or caffeine intake, and a lot more.
Download Shortcuts (Free)
If you happen to be a frequent flyer and a large part of your life revolves around traveling from one city/country to another, then this nifty widget from Flightstats is a lifesaver. In case you are unaware, Flightstats allows you to track your flight status and the airport, in real-time. It also offers the ability to get in-depth descriptions of all the activities about your flight within the app.
The Flightstats widget simplifies things even further. It takes away the need to open the app now-and-then to find out details about your upcoming flights, and instead, allows you to take a glance from the Today view. The widget shows a bunch of information like the date, departure time, gate, terminal, and also the current status (late or on-time). At any point, you can tap on a flight listing to find out more details about the flight, and also add your upcoming flights to the list.
Download Flightstats (Free)
9. Google Maps
Google Maps is starting to become one of the most used apps recently, mainly because of the plethora of new functionalities that Google is adding to the service regularly. And, with its widget on iOS, Google is making people use it more often for different scenarios.
Unlike most other apps, Google Maps offers not one, not two, but five different widgets. Each with its own set of utilities. These include Google Local Guides, Google Directions, Google Traffic, Google Transit Departures, and Google Travel Times. And, as their names suggest, the widgets perform the same task and do not require you to open the app to access different features.
Download Google Maps (Free)
The Launcher app has been around since the widget feature first got introduced in iOS 10. As the name suggests, the app allows you to create custom launcher widgets for your needs. The widget interface is pretty clean and provides most of the essential quick action tools to make your life easier. You can use it to launch apps, add a contact to quick dial or message, open a specific set of webpages, get ETA, get memory stats, and a lot more.
The app allows you to set up to 6 widgets at a time, which can be customized according to the requirements. However, there’s a catch, with the free version, the app limits you to add only one widget at a time, that too with a limited number of actions. So if you want to get the most out of the app, you might need to upgrade using the in-app purchase option.
Download Launcher (Free, In-app purchase)
Although Apple allows you to view the current battery percentage of your iPhone, it, however, does not have an option to view the battery percentage of connected devices. With widgets coming into the picture, you can get the battery percentage for all the devices connected to your iPhone.
For this, you need to find the ‘Batteries’ widget from the widget list and add it. Now, every time you connect a device to your iPhone over Bluetooth, you can swipe to the Today view and scroll down to the Batteries widget to find the current battery status for your device.
Those are some of our recommendations for the best widgets you can install on your iPhone. If you use apps like Notes, Reminders, Favourites, News, etc. that come pre-installed on the iPhone, you can use their respective widgets on your iPhone to simplify basic tasks.