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
- 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
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.
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”
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: