Widgets provide easy access to favorite apps and content; no need to tap and swipe through multiple home screens to find what you need. Headlines, weather forecasts, calendar appointments, stock market updates, battery levels, and more are front and center.
For example, you could create a widget for the Music app that shows the last album you played, a News app widget that shows the current headlines, a widget for the Calendar app that shows just today’s appointments, or a widget for the Notes app that shows the last note you created.
A mainstay on Android for ages, widgets finally landed on Apple devices in recent years, and have been upgraded with each new iteration of iOS and iPadOS. With iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, you could more easily add and remove widgets, change their layout and size, and move them anywhere on your home screen. People also made cool custom icons using the Shortcuts app.
Now with iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, you can add more kinds of widgets and choose what content you wish to see. Here’s how to work with widgets on an iPhone or iPad.
Update Your Device
First, update your iPhone or iPad to iOS/iPadOS 15 or higher if you haven’t already done so. Go to Settings > General > Software Update. You’ll be told that iOS is up to date or be prompted to download and install the latest update.
Add and Edit Widgets
Swipe all the way to the right on your device until you see the widgets screen with individual widgets for calendar, weather, news, and other apps. Swipe down the screen and tap the Edit button. Look at your existing widgets and tap the minus sign for any you don’t want to keep. Confirm the deletion, then tap Done when finished.
To add certain types of widgets, tap the Edit button again and then tap the plus (+) button at the top of the screen. Swipe down the list of potential widgets and tap a widget you wish to add.
Many widgets offer a choice of different layouts and sizes. For such a widget, swipe through the available layout choices until you find the one you want. Then tap Add Widget. Continue with this process until you’ve added all the widgets you want. Tap Done when finished.
After you’ve added widgets, you can change their positions on the Widget screen. From the Edit window, drag and drop each widget to a new location until they’re all in your preferred order.
To add widgets from additional apps, tap Edit > Customize. Tap the plus (+) button next to any widgets to insert them at the bottom of the widgets screen. Newly added widgets are listed at the top of the Add Widgets screen; tap the minus (–) sign to remove any you no longer want. You can also change the order of a widget by pressing down on the hamburger icon next to it and dragging it up or down in the list.
Tweak your widgets further by pressing down on one to open a menu. Tap Remove Widget to delete it or select Edit Home Screen to rearrange the order. In some cases, there will be an Edit Widget option that will allow you to change the information offered by the widget. For example, the Mail widget will let you opt to see messages from all your accounts or only from a specific account and folder.
How to Use Widgets
Tap a widget to open the corresponding app. You should be taken to whatever content the widget displays. If the widget uses a large layout that contains multiple items, tap a specific item to see it in the app.
For example, a News widget may display multiple headlines. Tap a specific headline to read the story in the News app. A Music widget may display multiple albums. Tap a specific album to listen to it in the Music app.
Create and Edit Smart Stack Widgets
You can also create what’s called a Smart Stack widget, which dynamically changes throughout the day to show you content from different apps and services. You can also swipe up or down on the widget to cycle through the content.
Tap the Edit button and then the plus (+) button. Select a widget named Smart Stack, pick the layout you want, and then tap Add Widget. At the Widgets screen, swipe up or down on the Smart Stack widget to view each piece of content.
You can also create your own smart stack by placing one widget on top of another. Press down on a specific widget and choose the Edit Home Screen option. Widgets can then be dragged one on top of another. Tap Done when finished. Swipe up or down on your new widget to cycle through all the content.
You can edit pre-existing or custom-made smart stacks. Press down on any stack of widgets and select Edit Stack from the menu. To remove a specific widget from the stack, tap its minus (-) sign. To change the order of the widgets in the stack, press down on a specific widget and drag it up or down in the list.
Smart Rotate automatically rotates certain widgets to the top of the stack if they have timely or relevant information to display. If you don’t want this, tap the Smart Rotate icon to turn it off. The Widget Suggestions option automatically suggests widgets you don’t already have in your stack. To disable this, tap the Widget Suggestions icon to turn it off. When finished, tap Done.
Add Widgets to the Home Screen
Widgets can also be added directly to the home screen on your device. You can do this in a number of ways. Press down on a widget you want to move and select Edit Home Screen. Press down on the widget and drag it to the right. You can place it on a populated home screen alongside your app icons or add it to an empty home screen. When finished, tap Done.
You can also press down on any empty area of the screen and tap the plus (+) icon in the upper-left corner. Swipe down the list of widgets and tap the one you wish to add. Choose your preferred size and layout. Tap the Add Widget button, then position the widget on the screen. When finished, tap Done.