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Home / Tips and Tricks / The basics of iOS 14: how to add widgets to your iPhone’s home screen

The basics of iOS 14: how to add widgets to your iPhone’s home screen



One of the more prominent changes introduced in iOS 14, and one that generates 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 them (especially if you are willing to play with apps like shortcuts and widgetsmith). To get started, here’s how to add an existing widget to your Home screen:

  • Touch and hold an empty area on the screen until your apps jiggle and show minus symbols
  • Tap the plus sign in the upper left corner to open a menu of existing widgets

Touch and hold the screen and tap the plus sign.

Touch and hold the screen and tap the plus sign.

You get a selection of widgets to choose from.

You get a selection of widgets to choose from.

  • Tap the widget you want to add. Swipe left and right to select the size and shape of the widget.
  • Press “Add widget”
  • After adding the widget, tap anywhere on the home screen to exit edit mode

Swipe left and right to select the size and shape you want.

Swipe to the side to select the size and shape you want.

Long press on a widget to delete it.

Long press on a widget to delete it.

Note that the first time you tap the new widget, you may be asked to adjust its features (for example, to tell a weather widget what you want it to report).

To move the widget around the screen or to another screen, just long press until it starts shaking and move it where you want it. To get rid of the widget, press and hold to remove a removal option.

But wait – there’s 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 stack:

  • Select a widget for your home screen as described above and place it where you want it. Select the next widget you want to stack (you can stack as many as 10) and save it on your home screen
  • Long press on the widget so that you can move it around the screen and place it on top of the first one. Note that the widget must be the same size and shape; you can not say place a small widget on a medium.

To see each widget in your stack, swipe up or down on the top widget and the next one will be revealed.

You can stack your widgets (mark the dots to the right of the stack)

You can stack your widgets (mark the dots to the right of the stack).

Long press on a stack to edit it.

Long press on a stack to edit it.

If you want to change the position of or delete any of the apps in the stack:

  • Press and hold the stack and select “Edit Stack”
  • Tap the three rows on the side of each app to change their position in the stack
  • To delete the app, swipe it to the left

Create a Smart Stack

Apple has also created a feature that it calls a “Smart Stack”, which automatically selects which widget should be on top depending on your location, what time it is or what you usually look at.

iOS 14 comes with a pre-built Smart Stack consisting of a group of selected apps. You add that stack the same way you would add a widget:

  • Long press on the home screen and tap the plus icon in the upper left corner
  • Scroll down until you see the “Smart Stack” widget
  • As with other widgets, scroll sideways to select the size you want and then tap “Add Widget”

You can stack your widgets (mark the dots to the right of the stack)

Select the “Smart Stack” widget in the same way as you do with any other widget.

“Smart Rotate” turns almost all stacks into a Smart Stack.

Once you have added it, you can change the order of the included apps or delete the ones you do not want, in the same way as you delete all stacked apps. Or if you want to start over, you can create your own Smart Stack:

  • Long press on a stack you have created and select “Edit Stack”
  • Enable “Smart Rotate”

Use widgets on iPads

You can also use widgets (and widget stacks) on iPads – however, they can only be placed in the Today view on the far left of the screen. Otherwise, the process of adding and stacking widgets is the same as on the iPhone – as is the process of creating Smart Stacks.

If you want to keep your widgets no matter what screen you are on, you can.

  • Touch and hold an empty area in Today View
  • When you see “Continue on the home screen”, activate it

In the meantime, if you want to start creating your own widgets or find out what you can do with the new app library, check out these articles:


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