One of the major changes in iOS 14 that has generated a lot of interest is the addition of widgets that can be added to any page. There are all sorts of weird and useful things you can do with it (especially if you're willing to play around with apps like Shortcuts and Widgetsmith). To start with, add an existing widget to your home screen:
- Touch and hold an empty area on your screen until your apps jiggle and show minus symbols
- In the upper left, tap the plus sign. A menu of existing widgets will appear
Touch and hold your screen and tap the plus sign.
You are given a selection of widgets to choose from.
- Tap the widget that you want to add. Swipe left and right to choose the size and shape of the widget.
- Tap "Add Widget".
- After adding the widget, tap anywhere on the home screen to exit edit mode
Swipe to the side to choose the size and shape you want.
Long press a widget to remove it.
Note that the first time you tap the new widget, you may be asked to adjust its functionality (for example, to tell a weather widget what to report).
To move the widget around the screen or to another screen, just long-press it until it starts jiggling, then move it to where you want it. If you want to remove the widget, long press to bring up a remove option.
But wait – there is more:
Create a widget stack
You can create a stack of widgets if you want to save space or if there is a widget that you only want to use occasionally.
To create a batch:
- As described above, select a widget for your home screen and place it where you want it. Select the next widget that you want to stack (you can stack up to 10) and save it to your home screen
- Long press the widget so you can move it around the screen and place it over the first one. Note that the widget must be the same size and shape. For example, you can't put a small widget on top of a medium-sized one.
Swipe up or down on the top widget to see each widget in your stack. The next is displayed.
You can stack your widgets (note the dots on the right side of the stack).
Long press on a stack to edit it.
If you want to change the position of any of the apps in the stack or remove them:
- Long press on the stack and select "Edit Stack".
- Press the three lines next to each app to change its position on the stack
- Swipe left to remove the app
Build a smart stack
Apple also created a feature called "Smart Stack" that automatically chooses which widget to display at the top based on your location, the time of day, or what you view most often.
iOS 14 comes with a pre-built smart stack made up of a group of selected apps. You add this stack just like you would any widget:
- Long press your home screen and tap the plus icon in the top left corner
- Scroll down until you see the Smart Stack widget.
- As with the other widgets, scroll to the side to choose the size you want, then tap Add Widget.
Select the Smart Stack widget like any widget.
"Smart Rotate" turns almost any stack into a smart stack.
Once you've added it, you can rearrange the order of the apps it contains or remove the ones you don't want just like you would remove stacked apps. If you want to start from scratch, you can create your own smart stack:
- Long press any batch you created and select "Edit Batch".
- Turn on "Smart Rotate"
Use widgets on iPads
You can use widgets (and widget stacks) on iPads too. However, they can only be placed on the far left of the Today view on the left side of the screen. Otherwise, the process of adding and stacking widgets is the same as it is on the iPhone – as is the process of creating smart stacks.
If you want to keep an eye on your widgets regardless of your screen, you can.
- In Today view, press and hold an empty area
- When you see "Keep on Home Screen", turn it on
In the meantime, if you want to create your own widgets or find out what to do with the new app library, check out the articles below: