iOS 14: How to Use Home Screen Widgets

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In iOS 14, Apple made some dramatic changes to the Home Screen of iPhone. In particular, it introduced the concept of ‌Home Screen‌ widgets, which are similar to the ‌widgets‌ available on Android phones.


Previously, use of ‌widgets‌ was limited to the Today View, which can be accessed by swiping from left to right on the ‌Home Screen‌. In ‌‌‌iOS 14‌‌‌, however, ‌widgets‌ got a design and functionality overhaul, and now any widget that's available in the Today View can also be added to the ‌Home Screen‌ alongside your apps.

How to Add Widgets to the Home Screen

There a couple of ways you can add ‌widgets‌ to the ‌Home Screen‌. If you long press on a widget in the Today View, you'll see an Edit Home Screen option in the popup menu. Tapping this enters jiggle mode, and from there you can drag ‌widgets‌ out of the Today View and place them anywhere on the ‌Home Screen‌.

widgets
When in jiggle mode, notice the plus (+) button in the top-left corner of the screen. You'll find the same button appear if you long press on a blank area of the ‌Home Screen‌ or any additional page of apps. Tapping this button opens the Widget Gallery, where you can add and customize ‌widgets‌.

widgets
In the Widget Gallery, you can search for a specific widget or scroll through the available options. Tapping on a widget in the list lets you see the size and content options that are available for the widget. To add a widget to the Today View or the ‌Home Screen‌, select it, choose a size (small, medium, or large), and then tap the Add Widget button.

Widget Sizes and Other Functions

When you customize a new widget, you'll notice that the larger the size of the widget, the more content it can display. In the Weather widget, for example, the smallest widget shows the current conditions, while the largest displays the forecast for the next few days.

Bear in mind that bigger ‌widgets‌ take up more space on your ‌Home Screen‌. A small widget takes up the space of four apps in a square shape, but a medium widget takes up the space of eight apps in a rectangle shape, and a large widget takes up the space of 16 apps in a square shape.


Some apps also have different widget options based on function. In the ‌Apple News‌ widget, for example, you can choose to see relevant news from the day or get stories about a specific topic of interest. You can change this function on an existing ‌Apple News‌ widget anytime. Just long press on the widget and then select Edit "News."

widgets
When you've got some ‌widgets‌ on your ‌Home Screen‌, you can move them around, just like apps. Simply long press on the screen to enter jiggle mode and then drag a widget around with your finger.

Siri Suggestions Widget

In the Widget Gallery, if you scroll down to the list section you'll see a Siri Suggestions widget. This dynamic widget displays app suggestions based on your ‌‌iPhone‌‌ usage habits, similar to what shows up under ‌Siri‌ Suggestions when you use an ‌‌iPhone‌‌'s search function.

widgets

Widget Stacks

With widget stacks, you can stack multiple ‌widgets‌ on top of one another, so you can put all of your favorites together and then swap between them with an upward or downward swipe of the finger.

Apple has also added a special "Smart Stack," which is a widget stack that uses ‌Siri‌ Intelligence to surface the most relevant and useful widget based on your ‌iPhone‌ usage habits.

Third Party Widgets

Apple is allowing developers to create their own ‌Home Screen‌ ‌widgets‌ to augment in-app functions, so keep an eye out for available ‌widgets‌ for your most loved third-party apps.

Read More

For more on ‌widgets‌ and the other ‌Home Screen‌ changes that Apple has introduced in ‌iOS 14‌, such as App Library, make sure to check out our full iOS 14 Home Screen guide.

Related Roundups: iOS 14, iPadOS 14

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
14 weeks ago
I don’t know but is it me...those iOS 14 screen shots just look like a convoluted mess just so busy with widgets and icons. Just doesn’t look clean.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
14 weeks ago


'Does anyone else miss the days when the interface wasn’t so confusing that you didn’t need extensive instructions to walk you through steps and hidden interface elements to figure out how to do stuff?'

Even in those supposed days there were still manuals and how-tos available for all kinds of things, especially something newer.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
14 weeks ago
I can’t figure out how to organize things. It’s frustrating that the App Library doesn’t give you the ability to rearrange and rename folders. So far, I regret altering my Home Screen with widgets.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
14 weeks ago
Does anyone else miss the days when the interface wasn’t so confusing that you didn’t need extensive instructions to walk you through steps and hidden interface elements to figure out how to do stuff?
Apple learned Android and Windows Phone OS.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
14 weeks ago
Geez, what's with all the whining? If you don't want to use a home screen widget, then guess what? Don't. Your iOS device will work just fine with your existing home screens and folders. Heck, you can even hide some of those graveyard home screens 2,3,4 or more pages away. Sounds like a win/win there.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
14 weeks ago


I can’t figure out how to organize things. It’s frustrating that the App Library doesn’t give you the ability to rearrange and rename folders. So far, I regret altering my Home Screen with widgets.

You can create your own folders and organize things as you want, like before, right?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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