There are many reasons to upgrade to iOS 14, home screen widgets are among them. With that in mind, it’s ironic that Apple put so much emphasis on “widgets” this year when the new update removes a fan-favorite widget from the past – the “Favorites” Phone widget, which was available via Today View or quick action on the home screen. Here’s how to get it back.
This trick uses the shortcut widget to replicate Apple’s phone widget from iOS 13 all the way back to iOS 8 when it first appeared. While you now have to make an effort on your own, it is a worthy solution. But it helps to know exactly how the widget works in advance to save headaches.
The shortcut widget can display one, four or eight shortcuts at a time via the small, medium and large widgets. By default, the iOS widget fills in with your latest shortcuts, but you can choose to use a shortcut folder of your choice instead.
With that said, the same rule applies – iOS displays the latest shortcuts for one, four or eight in the selected folder, depending on the size of your widget. This means that if you want to view specific contacts, you need to plan ahead with your folders. However, you can also arrange them if needed.
Step 1: Create a “Favorites” folder in shortcuts
To start, open shortcuts, then select “Shortcuts” at the top left of the “My Shortcuts” tab. Then tap the new folder icon at the top right. You can name this folder whatever you want, but in the spirit of the matter, we go with “Favorites”. Feel free to change the glyph to the phone icon if desired (shown in your list of shortcut folders). Press “Add” when done.
Step 2: Make your “Call” shortcuts
Now to make the actual favorites, press to call your contacts. To do so, open your favorite folder, tap the plus icon (+) at the top right and then search for the “Call” action via the search field or the “Add Action” button. It can also be displayed directly in the proposals.
Depending on what you prefer, you can either select “Phone” or “FaceTime”, the type of call you want to make. Let’s stay on the phone for this article.
When you first take the call action, you will see some recommended contacts. You can click on any of these contacts to continue. If you are looking for another person, press the “Contact” option at the end of the suggestion list instead or select the first “Call” action at the top of the phone results.
Regardless of what you selected, the phone’s action card will appear in the workflow in the draft shortcut. If you did not select a specific contact or if you want to change the contact, press “Contact” or “Contact”[TheirName], “respectively, in the action card. Then select the desired contact in the contact list.
If a person has several phone numbers associated, the first thing that appears on their contact card is the one that the shortcut will call. When you are satisfied with your selection, press “Next” at the top right of the editor.
Just give the shortcut a name. Ideally, you want to stick to a default naming scheme for all the contact shortcuts you create so that things look consistent on your home screen or in Today View. For example, “Call Mom” and “Call Peace” or just “Mom” and “Peace” or “[FirstName LastName]. “
You can even select the color of your shortcut by tapping the icon next to its name. You can also change the character here to something like the phone icon, but you will not see it anywhere if you do not add the specific shortcut as an icon on your home screen.
When you are done, press “Done” to save your contact.
Step 3: Fix your “Favorites” folder
Rinse and repeat step 2 for as many contacts as you want. Just remember: if you want your widget to display a certain group of contacts, you need to stick to that number for each folder. When using the media widget and viewing four contacts, stick to four contacts in the Favorites folder. To use the large widget and view eight contacts, stick to eight.
If you like the order shown in the Favorites folder, you’re ready to go. But if you want to rearrange the cards, press and hold a card and drag and drop it where you want. Repeat with the other cards until things look the way you want.
Step 4: Create your favorite widget
To create your widget, long press on your iPhone’s home screen background or any app icon, folder or widget until things start to jiggle. You can also long press an app icon, folder or widget and then select “Edit home screen” from the quick actions.
Press the plus (+) icon, then scroll down and press “Shortcuts”. Find the size you want (one, four or eight), then drag and drop its icon anywhere on your home screen or just tap “Add widget” to place it on the current home page and then tap “Done” to exit the editor. Now long press on the widget, press “Edit widget” from the quick actions, press “Folder” and then select the folder “Favorites” and exit.
If you want the widget in your Today View as it was before, you can drag and drop it there in the home screen editor, or you can add it there just as if you were adding it to your home screen.
There are many ways to get creative with this trick. For example, if you want to see more than four contacts at a time but do not want the large widget size to take up so much space, you can take advantage of the widget stacks to have up to 40 contacts in each space. If you stack the large widget, that number will be 80.
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